Why You Should Be Dry Brushing
It encourages circulation, and you'll have smoother, brighter skin.
The ancient Ayurvedic practice of dry brushing does exactly what it sounds like: You take a natural bristle brush and methodically brush your skin, starting with the soles of your feet and working upwards toward the heart. Its devotees swear by its benefits; it exfoliates the skin and stimulates your lymphatic system so toxins are expelled faster. It also reduces the appearance of cellulite, apparently... We'll get to that shortly.
Whether or not you agree with its touted benefits, dry brushing offers a moment of self-care and allows you to clear some mental space. Some people just feel better and more energised after they do it.
It may aid lymphatic drainage
Unlike the network or arteries and veins which rely on the heart to circulate blood, our lymphatic system relies on muscle motion to improve circulation. If you don’t move regularly, your lymph can stagnate and waste accumulates. This potentially compromises your immune system.
Dr Leong says that the strokes of dry brushing stimulates better lymphatic drainage and increases blood flow, which is why your skin turns temporarily red after brushing. However, she stresses that our liver and kidneys are the organs responsible for getting rid of toxins in the body. “Anatomically, the lymphatic drainage system lies deeper than the skin surface.”
“While dry brushing is not medically viewed as a method of promoting lymph flow and drainage, a combination of a guided detox programme and dry brushing would promote a more complete detoxification,’ she says.
Your skin will almost immediately feel smoother and softer
As you dry-brush, you’re also exfoliating and sloughing away dead skin cell, which speeds up the formation of new ones. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that your skin is smoother, softer and more even-toned. Dry brushing removes built-up skin cells and debris like environmental pollution and sweat, that can block pores and lead to acne, and keratin build-up that causes keratosis pilaris aka chicken skin.
What it doesn’t do
We wish we could say it banishes the appearance of cellulite or helps with digestion, but there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back up these anecdotal reports.
Some people claim it helps with energy levels, but again, there isn’t factual proof that it does. “It’s quite invigorating,” says Dr Leong, “You may feel tingly and fresh after doing it, like you would after having a cold shower, but whether it increases energy is pretty subjective.”
When and how do to it
“Start with light strokes on a small area first, and only increase the pressure when your skin is used to it,” says Dr Leong. She recommends dry brushing once or twice a week.
Dry brushing is best done just before a shower. Starting from the soles of your feet and working upward, gently but firmly brush your skin in long strokes towards your heart, going over each area two or three times. Brush in a clockwise motion around your belly. Slather on a rich moisturiser or oil afterwards to put moisture back into your skin. Don’t do it so hard that it hurts.
Don’t do it if…
You have any wounds, hypersensitive skin or suffer from ailments like hives, eczema or psoriasis.
Choosing your brush
A longer handle allows you to get at hard-to-reach spots like the middle of your back, whilst a shorter one fits perfectly in your hand. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on one, just look for a brush made with natural bristles as they’re softer than synthetic-bristle ones.
All products featured here are independently selected by DULU.
left to right:
The Body Shop Cactus Brush, $20. The long handle makes it very useful for reaching hard-to-reach spots. It's a little scratchy at first - great at exfoliating particularly rough spots - but softens with use.
Mio Skincare The Mio Body Brush, $25.50. A Dulu favourite. The duo of natural boar bristles and silicone nubs feels great on the skin as it exfoliates, and doubles up as a massage tool.
Dr Barbara Sturm Body Brush Soft No. 1, $52. If you suffer from very dry skin, this features softer, natural bristles and is designed to do everything the original version does, albeit gently.