Almost two months ago I decided to try dry brushing my skin on a regular basis to see if the claims of healthier skin were true. Some of the benefits of dry brushing were said to be; that it removes dead skin cells, helps remove toxins that are normally expelled through your skin, and it stimulates lymph nodes, which in turn helps with circulation and further elimination of toxins, and also boosts the immune system. Of course, some of these claims I don't have any way of scientifically proving, but I can tell you how it made me and my skin look and feel.
Before we discuss my results let's cover the proper way to dry brush and my personal dry brushing routine. The benefits of dry brushing are gained by brushing along the flow of the lymphatic system. Essentially, you should brush toward your lymph nodes. You may find some resources that simplify the process by saying you should always brush toward your heart, which is a great general rule, but there are areas around your abdomen where you should brush from your waist and hips down and inward toward your pelvis. I've included a chart showing the lymphatic system to make this process a little clearer.
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It's recommended that you dry brush your entire body before you shower or bathe. Begin by brushing the soles and tops of your feet. Some sources suggest using a stiffer bristled brush when dry brushing your feet, but I used the same brush and applied a little more pressure. I rely on dead sea salt scrub to do the real exfoliation on my feet. Use long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders. Divide the torso at the waist, and on the lower half brush from the waist toward the pelvic region. On the upper half brush from the waist up towards the lymph nodes located near the underarms. If you're female, dry brush breasts very gently or avoid brushing them all together. Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin, and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet. It's also suggested that skin brushing should be performed once a day, or at least a couple of times a week, preferably first thing in the morning. I dry brushed daily before a shower, however I didn't adhere to any specific time of day.
When choosing a dry brush you should choose a natural bristle brush that feels good on your skin and is not too scratchy. There are plant based bristle brushes, as well as natural boar's hair bristle brushes, and each feel similar. Some come with wooden handles, but I opted for a natural bristle brush with a loop for my hand. I highly recommend the kind with the loop. It felt the best in my hand, and it didn't get accidentally dropped while I was brushing. However, the kind with the wooden handles do allow you to reach areas of your back more easily.
My conclusion? I noticed immediate results! My skin elasticity has changed as I've aged, and after my first time dry brushing I saw a noticeable difference in the look and texture of my skin. There's no question in my mind that dry brushing your skin is a powerful exfoliator. Something else I noticed after the first time I tried it is that my after shower moisturizers worked better, too. After showering I spritz The Mod Cabin's Wanderlust Dry Oil all over my body, and all natural body butter on the rougher areas like my elbows and feet. Dry brushing allowed the oils and butters to be better absorbed by my skin.
There is some brush care that's recommended to keep your brush clean and free from bacteria. I used our Birch Tar Soap, which is made with birch tar essential oil and is known for it's antibacterial properties, and very hot water to wash my brush. Afterwards I'd hang it to dry, somewhere other than the bathroom, since the bathroom environment is so moist and fosters the growth of mildew and mold. You can also spritz it with some tea tree oil (which is also known for it's antibacterial properties) after it's been washed and dried.
After continuing to dry brush for another month, I noticed that my skin seemed a little brighter than before, and I'm usually quite relaxed after the process. I'll continue to dry brush my skin and see if there are any other noticeable benefits from doing so, but I'm quite happy with with the short term results so far!