What is Dry Brushing and How to Dry Brush Your Skin

What Is Dry Brushing Featured

Can glowing, beautiful skin really be as simple as dry brushing? Some celebrities swear by this ancient beauty ritual to not only improve the look of their skin, but boost their overall health. If you’re looking at a brush right now and wondering how it could have such a drastic effect on your life, you’re not alone. But before you discount it, there actually is some truth behind the health and beauty claims of dry brushing.

What is the Purpose of Dry Brushing?

The purpose of dry brushing is to exfoliate the skin while also stimulating your lymphatic system. The result is gorgeous skin and body free of toxins through your now unclogged pores. It’s been used for centuries as part of Ayurveda, which is a healing system created in India. Ayurveda means that great health is actually about balance between your spirit, mind, and body.

What Is Dry Brushing Purpose

This doesn’t mean just grab a brush and scrub as hard as possible. Naturally, you have to do it a certain way to achieve the desired results. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll dramatically transform your skin and health, but you’ll find an endless of celebrities, models, and influencers who have actually found success with the simple technique of gently rubbing a dry bristles over their skin in specific patterns.

Common Benefits of Dry Brushing

What Is Dry Brushing Benefits

With all the hype surrounding this beauty trend, what are the benefits of dry brushing? It’s more than just for beauty, but that’s definitely a bonus. The most common benefits include:

  • Exfoliate dead skin cells
  • Improve circulation and energy
  • Encourage the body to release toxins
  • Reduce appearance of cellulite
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Reduces stress

With all of those benefits, why isn’t everyone doing it every single day? While dry brushing is beneficial, remember that scientific studies on the effectiveness of this technique are still in short supply. So, while you might experience all these benefits, you might only experience a few.

The Risks of Dry Brushing

In general, dry brushing isn’t dangerous, but it’s not for everyone. If you have sensitive skin or any type of skin condition, such as psoriasis or eczema, avoid dry brushing as it can damage your skin. You can use dry brushing on skin that’s not affected by your skin condition though, but you should consult your dermatologist or doctor first.

What Is Dry Brushing Risks

Also, skip dry brushing if you have any open wounds. The bristles can further damage the wound and even introduce harmful bacteria. If you have acne, avoid brushing your face or any area of your body that’s prone to acne as harsher exfoliation can make acne worse. Try these home remedies to help reduce your acne.

Of course, don’t brush too hard. Even the healthiest skin can be damaged if you scrub it roughly with dry bristles.

If you’re new to this technique, you might experience some skin irritation and soreness as your skin adjusts and you learn the proper pressure to use. If your skin becomes painfully irritated, stop immediately to avoid causing damage.

Things Dry Brushing Won’t Do

What Is Dry Brushing Myths

Before you dive into this beauty trend, make sure you have realistic expectations. As with any trend, you’ll discover some pretty mind-blowing claims and myths, but here are a few things dry brushing just won’t do:

  • Cure or prevent heart conditions – Some people claim that since dry brushing stimulates circulation, it can actually improve heart health. While it may help your circulation, it’s not a cure for heart-related illnesses.
  • Eliminate cellulite – Due to the increased blood flow in an area right after dry brushing, your cellulite may appear less noticeable. However, brushing over an area won’t get rid of cellulite. At best, regularly brushing may reduce discoloration around the area, but that’s it.
  • Prevent illnesses – There are a lot of claims that dry brushing boosts your immune system. There is no real evidence that this is the case. However, if dry brushing relaxes you and reduces stress, less stress in your life can have a positive affect on your immune system.
  • Transform your skin overnight – Don’t expect an overnight miracle after just one session. It’s common for your skin to appear brighter and smoother thanks to the exfoliation though.

Dry Brushing Supplies

What Is Dry Brushing Supplies

You’ll only need a few things to get starting with dry brushing.

  • A body brush with natural bristles (a long handled brush is ideal for reaching your back and any other hard to reach areas)
  • A face brush with softer natural bristles (if planning to brush your face)
  • Moisturizer for afterward

You can find body brushes at most stores, but a few great options to get you started include:

How to Dry Brush Properly

What Is Dry Brushing How To

Before you get started, ensure your skin is completely dry. Ideally, do this before showering so you can wash off any dead skin cells left over. Next, follow these simple steps:

  • Start dry brushing at your feet
  • Use clockwise circular strokes
  • Use lighter pressure on thinner areas of your skin
  • Use firmer pressure on thick or callused areas, such as the heels of your feet
  • Work your way up your legs, over your mid-section, and up to your armpits
  • Finish by brushing up your arms from your hands to shoulders

Always avoid any sensitive areas, rashes, wounds, and other areas that may be damaged by dry brushing.

It’s best to use lighter pressure initially to see how you skin will react. Also, start with a small area to ensure your skin isn’t too sensitive to handle dry brushing.

Caring For Your Skin After Dry Brushing

After you’ve completed dry brushing, immediately take a shower. Cool to lukewarm water is best. Dry brushing can dry your skin out, so avoid hot water which may make dry skin even worse. You might also want to use a moisturizing bar soap during your shower.

What Is Dry Brushing Care

After showering, apply moisturizer. Any moisturizer will work as long as it works well with your skin. You might notice a little redness for as much as an hour afterwards.

For best results, limit dry brushing to just 2-3 times a week. Over-exfoliating your skin can damage its protective layer, leading to dry, cracked skin. If you’re new to dry brushing or have sensitive skin, start with just once a week or every other week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are soft bristled body brushes okay for sensitive skin?

With light pressure, a soft bristled brush is much safer than firmer bristles. These are less likely to scratch the skin. However, start with a small patch of skin and see how your skin reacts. If you notice severe irritation or redness that lasts for hours, dry brushing might not be the best option for you.

Instead, try silicone brushes, which don’t scratch the skin. These are best for use in the shower and offer safer exfoliation for sensitive skin and acne prone skin.

Is it safe to dry brush the face?

Yes, but remember that the skin on your face is much thinner than the rest of your body. Use extremely gentle pressure and a soft bristled brush. The same brush you use for the rest of your body is usually too stiff for your face.

When should I replace my body brush?

You should clean your brush at least once a week to avoid bacteria building up. Use a gentle baby shampoo or body wash to clean it.

As long as you keep your brush clean, you can continue to use it until you notice bristles falling out or any build-up that you can’t remove.

Also, if the bristles are getting stiffer than you’d like, it’s time to replace it. Make sure you’re also replacing your razors and toothbrushes regularly to keep them working at their best.

Image credit: Unsplash

Crystal Crowder

Crystal's spent over 15 years as a tech geek who writes about everything from gadgets to lifestyle and everything in between. She not only wants to live her best life, but help others do the same.