A Beginner’s Guide to Dry Brushing

Jul. 5, 2018Do you have a daily self care routine? Something — or a set of things — you do everyday to ensure you’re feeling your best, inside and out? For some, it’s meditation or a Sunday night face mask. For others, a daily yoga practice (or simply setting reminders to pay your bills on time — yes, though unglamourous, that’s #selfcare too). Whether it’s a set routine or simply a chunk of time carved out to perform a simple task, the importance of self care has gained a well-deserved spotlight as of late — thanks largely to our overpacked schedules.



With calendars that are filled to the brim and far too many late nights spent at the office, setting aside time to tend to our most basic needs is essential to our personal health and happiness. And one act of self care that’s gained major momentum in the past several years is dry brushing.

Nope, not talking about brushing your hair or going sans toothpaste, dry brushing is the simple routine of using a natural bristle brush on dry skin. Sounds… too basic, right? While it may sound too easy to be true, dry brushing has its roots in Ayurveda, one of the oldest-known systems of medicine in the world. Known traditionally as Garshana, or Ayurvedic dry massage or skin brushing, dry brushing is believed to boast a ton of benefits, including glowing, gorgeous skin and improved circulation.

The Benefits of Dry Brushing

At its most basic, dry brushing feels great. Our skin is our largest organ, it’s exposed to harsh conditions and pollutants everyday, so it deserves some love, right? But here’s the best part — dry brushing offers so much more than a welcome skin massage at the end of a long day.

 

Skin Exfoliation

Anyone who suffers from dry skin knows it likes to stick around, that’s because actually removing dead skin cells can be surprisingly difficult. The simple act of brushing dry skin with a firm brush can help slough away those stubborn dead skin cells, revealing softer skin that’s better able to absorb moisturizer. Additionally, dry brushing can help clear pores and remove dirt and oil – especially on the face (look for a special face brush with softer bristles for this).

 

Lymphatic Drainage

Sounds gross because it is — but incredibly important. The lymphatic system is kind of like the sanitation department of the body. It helps remove the “garbage” (aka metabolic waste) so the system can function properly. Lymph is fluid that moves throughout your body, supporting tissues and assisting the immune system. But lymph can get sluggish, which can lead to you not feeling so hot. Dry brushing is said to stimulate the lymphatic system, allowing it to properly drain and remove toxins from the body.

 

Supports Blood Circulation

By stimulating the skin, dry brushing increases blood flow to the surface of the skin, helping to improve circulation. Many people believe that dry brushing could help reduce the appearance of cellulite by softening the fatty areas beneath the skin and stimulating the removal of toxins.

What You Need to Know

Most people enjoy dry brushing right before showering. Since those quick, upward strokes with the brush are such a great exfoliant, it makes sense to rinse off afterwards. However, there are some caveats to that. First, if you prefer to dry brush after showering — go for it!

\The best part of being you is deciding what’s best for your bod. Second, since staph naturally lives on the surface of the skin, people prone to skin infection should proceed with caution. Why? Dry brushing can create microscopic tears in the skin, potentially allowing that bacteria in. If you’re concerned about this, you may want to consider following up with an antibacterial soap after brushing. Those prone to inflammatory skin conditions — such as psoriasis and eczema — should also use caution and may want to speak with a doctor first. Once you’re in the clear, dry brush away!

How do you dry brush?

Ready to get started? Dry brushes are easy to find at most health and beauty stores. There are a number of varieties available, from silk bristles to organic fiber, all at low price points. Once you choose the right brush for you, creating a dry brushing routine is super easy. Dry brushing is safe to do daily, and as stated above, typically done right before bathing.

Here’s how: Because you’re helping to stimulate your lymphatic system, start at your feet and work towards the heart area, where the lymph drains. Brush in long, smooth strokes upwards and in as you move from your feet to your legs, arms, back, and neck. Then finish by brushing your belly clockwise. You can even brush your armpits and face — though you may want to consider a delicate facial brush to protect your more sensitive facial skin.

Once you’re done, hop in the shower and follow up with your favorite moisturizer (like coconut oil). Dry brush daily to enjoy the best results.

 

Do you dry brush? Share your routine with us by tagging us with @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine

 

Julie O'Boyle

By Julie O'Boyle

 —  Julie O'Boyle is a freelance writer and content strategist with a background in fashion and DIY and a devotion to the outdoors and functional nutrition. Currently residing in the woods of Maine, when she's not writing you can find her at the beach or on a mountain, or otherwise getting her hands dirty.

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