Feeling a bit sluggish lately? Missing your skin’s summer glow? Want to help your body detox more efficiently? There’s a single solution to all these wishes and it’s as simple as brushing your skin for five to ten minutes every morning.
Just like your hair and teeth need a bristled clean on a daily basis, so too your skin could benefit from regular brushing.
WHAT IS DRY BRUSHING?
While dry brushing has gained popularity among wellness experts over the past few years, this practice has been around for centuries.
Called ‘garshana’ in Sanskrit, dry brushing forms part of the ayurvedic tradition and is typically prescribed to help the body rid itself of toxins (or ‘ama’ in Ayurvedic speak).
Being the body’s largest organ, the skin plays a major role in eliminating waste from our systems. This takes place in two basic ways: excretion of perspiration through the sweat glands and the sloughing off of dead epidermal cells.
The average person’s body is pretty adept at getting rid of any nasties through the skin but giving it an extra boost with regular exfoliation can only be beneficial. Which is – of course – one of the main purposes of dry brushing.
Apart from this, the light massage of the brush’s bristles stimulates the lymphatic system – which consists of vessels that run just below the surface of the skin – and also improves circulation. This, in turn, helps the body ward off infections.
DRY BRUSHING BENEFITS
Along with the elimination of toxins, boosting immunity and improving circulation, dry brushing also offers a number of related benefits:
- Soft, glowing skin: You’ll notice a difference in your skin tone and texture within the first few days. This is due to the fact that you’re helping your body get rid of dead skin cells more quickly and also reaping the rewards of quicker circulation.
- Smaller, cleaner pores: Dry brushing helps clear the build-up of oil and dirt from your pores and keeps them nice and small, just the way we like them.
- Reduced cellulite: Notoriously impossible to get rid of, that pesky orange peel texture so many women abhor on their thighs, bums or stomachs may have a cure after all. By stimulating lymphatic drainage and improving blood circulation, dry brushing can certainly help break down excess fat and flush out toxins in the affected areas, which will also improve the skin tone. While there isn’t any scientific evidence for this, many women swear dry brushing has helped reduced the appearance of cellulite. So, might as well try it! (Plus, it’s a lot more cost-effective than fancy creams and painful treatments.)
- More energy: One of the more surprising benefits of dry brushing is the fact that it offers an instant pick-me-up – especially if you’re doing it first thing in the morning. Paired with some greet-the-dawn yoga, the increased blood flow has the power of 10 espressos (also not scientifically proven), but none of the shaky side effects.
- Improved sleep: Strangely enough, the converse is also true. If – like me – you prefer dry brushing at night, the delicious bath time massage is a great way to relax before hopping into bed.
HOW TO DRY BRUSH
- Always start at your feet, making sure to brush the soles as well.
- Move upward using long, smooth strokes. The basic premise is to brush in the direction of your heart, as this is where the lymph system drains.
- When brushing joints, such as knees, elbows, wrists and shoulders, be sure to use a clockwise circular motion.
- Also, use a clockwise circular motion when brushing your stomach and chest.
- Don’t forget to brush under your arms to stimulate the lymph nodes here!
- Be gentle. Don’t put yourself off dry brushing forever by applying too much pressure. A soft stroke is perfectly effective!
- For the best results, you should dry brush for between 5 and 10 minutes at a time. Instead of setting a boring old clock, why not time yourself with a favourite song (or two)?
- Use a softer brush or a glove for your face.
- Clean your brush once a week by washing it with some shampoo and leaving it to dry in a sunny spot.
WHEN TO DRY BRUSH
The general rule of thumb is to dry brush in the mornings BEFORE showering. This way it will help boost your energy levels and the shower water will wash any dead skin cells right away.
It is important to do what works best for your routine, however.
If you don’t normally shower in the mornings and find it hard to switch your routine around, dry brushing at night is better than not dry brushing at all!
SELECTING A BRUSH
To reap the full benefits of this practise, you will need a brush with firm bristles made from natural fibres. It’s best to avoid anything synthetic.
OTHER PRODUCTS TO ENHANCE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Once you’ve dry brushed and washed all the dead skin cells away, it’s extremely important to pamper your skin with some moisture.
If fighting orange peel is your main aim, you can choose from Natraloe Anti-Cellulite Cream, Bee Pure Rejuvenating Body Balm or Healing Earth African Ginger Corrective Firming & Slimming Cream.
If assisting your body with waste reduction is what you’re after, massage some of this Seed Oil Detox into your skin before or after dry brushing. You can also sip on some Phyto-Force Detox tea and add Amorganic Fulvic Acid Detox capsules to your daily supplements.
After starting and stopping dry brushing several times now over the past few years (mostly to get rid of cellulite), I’ve been at it daily for a bit more than two months now and super excited that it has become a natural part of my routine. Seems like good habits really do form if you stick to them for longer than 60 days.
- Working it into my routine
As mentioned, I normally shower in the evening and prefer getting into bed feeling clean and warm. So, instead of dry brushing first thing in the morning, I do it AFTER my evening shower. It really helps me relax and I believe, it’s been a huge factor in improving my quality of sleep.
Basically, you simply can’t go wrong if you do what works best for you!
I haven’t noticed any change in my cellulite, but I do feel like my skin tone is better overall. While I haven’t been dry brushing my face, I’ve noticed the overall positive effect there too. I’ve had fewer breakouts, my skin seems firmer and my pores look smaller. If it helps me feel great, it might help me look good too.
- Holistic is best
Finally, I find that the benefits of dry brushing are most obvious when I’ve been eating a lot of fresh fruit and veg, drinking loads of water and keeping my alcohol, sugar and caffeine intake to a reasonable amount.