Try Dry Brushing at Home
Chances are, you have a few brushes in your bathroom already. The toothbrush, of course. The hairbrush. Maybe a few makeup brushes or an eyebrow brush as well. But what about the body brush, for the purpose of dry brushing? Do you have one? And more importantly, should you have one?
If you aren’t sure what dry brushing is or what it does, it’s the act of brushing your skin with a coarse-bristled brush, starting with your feet and hands and moving toward your heart, according to a WebMD Skin Blog written by board dermatologist Dr. Laurel Naverson Geraghty.
What kind of brush do you use?
The equipment for a dry brushing session is a coarsely bristled brush with a long handle. Experts recommend natural bristles, such as boar’s hair or vegetable fibers, which are considered better for the skin than synthetic bristles. Most skin care retailers sell body brushes — think Ulta or Sephora — if you want to try brushing at home in your bathroom. Some day spas offer brushing as well.
What does dry brushing do?
Folks have been dry brushing since ancient Greece, according to Dr. Geraghty’s blog. It has turned into a recent phenomenon all over again thanks to social media and celebrities, claiming that the practice is ideal for draining the lymph system, promoting circulation, reducing cellulite, shrinking pores and even aiding digestion.
If that all sounds too good to be true to you, you aren’t alone. Doctors aren’t certain that dry brushing actually does much, but like many “natural” remedies, it’s more of a “try it and see if you like it” approach.
According to Cleveland Clinic, while dry brushing can be ideal for invigorating dry winter skin, “there is absolutely no evidence … to confirm that dry brushing aids in digestion or the appearance of cellulite. It’s likely that what people interpret as cellulite reduction is really just a temporary ‘plumping up of the skin’ from increased blood circulation.”
How do I try it at home?
Still want to give dry brushing a try? Before taking a shower is the best option, so any loose skin can be rinsed away. Skin should be completely dry — don’t turn on the shower and create humidity or put on lotion before brushing. Start with your feet or hands and brush toward your heart, using small, repetitive strokes or circular motions. Avoid dry brushing the face. And don’t press too hard with the brush, experts say — the point is not to roughly exfoliate the skin. After you finish, shower as usual, and slather on moisturizer afterward.
What are the possible risks?
According to Dr. Geraghty’s blog, you might want to avoid dry brushing if the following conditions apply to you:
- Having unusually sensitive skin
- Having open wounds
- Having cystic acne
- Having rashes caused by conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema
- Having other active skin infections, such as warts or athlete’s foot, since dry brushing could unintentionally spread germs around.
While most experts suggest brushing once or twice per week, those with sensitive skin may want to stick to just once or twice a month for best results.
Written by: Denise K. James