Despite being one of the latest beauty buzzwords, dry brushing has actually been practiced for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (known as “garshana”.) More recently supermodels Elle Macpherson and Miranda Kerr swear by dry brushing as one of their beauty skincare secrets, but what are the benefits of dry brushing and should we be adding it to our skincare routine?
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is when you brush the skin on your body with a dry brush to
exfoliate the skin, increase circulation and remove dead skin cells.
Just like we would exfoliate our face once or twice a week, dry brushing
can do the same for our bodies.
What are the benefits of dry brushing?
“It has many benefits for both the skin and our overall health. I’m a
big believer in the importance of lymphatic drainage for the face as a
way of removing toxins, increasing circulation, and reducing puffiness,
and dry brushing helps to do this for the body. It increases circulation
and exfoliates the skin, stimulates the lymphatic system and aids the
body’s natural way of getting rid of toxins, and is also believed to
help break down fatty deposits under the skin that can result in
cellulite,” says celebrity facialist and skincare expert Lisa Harris. All of these benefits can support in enhancing the appearance of skin for a healthy, youthful glow.
Can dry brushing reduce cellulite, make skin firmer or more toned?
“Whilst dry brushing can work wonders for your circulation and
overall health, sadly it won’t improve muscle tone or target loose
skin,” says Harris.
Cellulite is effectively a layer of fat, and
is difficult to eliminate, however, dry brushing can temporarily reduce
the appearance of cellulite thanks to the plumping of the skin through
increased circulation. Ayurveda experts believe that dry brushing can
help to break up fat deposits and prevent new ones from forming
potentially reducing future cellulite by improving circulation of lymph
nodes where cellulite is prone to forming, although right now, there
isn’t much scientific evidence to back these claims up.
How do you dry brush?
“It’s best to do dry brushing with a
natural brush with stiff bristles. A long handle makes it easier
to maneuver too and the best time to do it is before a shower or bath
when the skin is dry – hence the name! Advice varies on this but it’s
most commonly thought that you should always brush towards the
heart. So, start at the hands and feet and brush towards the chest or
torso. Dry brushing a few times a week is the optimum amount, but even
if you just do it once a week you’ll notice the difference with your
Be gentle with your skin – it’s not about scrubbing, just
brushing lightly – the brush will do the hard work and your whole body
should take just five minutes to brush. Switch to a softer, smaller
brush for your face.
Use nourishing body oils during dry brushing
to help to soften and smooth the skin, or even release soothing aromas
to create a relaxing self-care ritual. Afterward, your skin may be
sensitive or dry, so it’s important to lather on your hydrating and
protective skincare products to lock in all-important moisture and
protect your skin’s barrier for healthy, smooth, dewy-looking skin.
Energising Body Oil
Can everyone use dry brushing in their skincare routine?
“Only brush dry healthy skin, so if you’ve got a graze or patch of
infected skin or any type don’t brush over that as that can spread the
infection. It’s best not to do too many strokes in one area otherwise
you’ll make the skin sore, and try to brush in a clockwise direction on
the stomach area. Afterwards it’s best to rinse off in the shower or
bath,” says Harris.
Dry or sensitive skin types should also
consider choosing a brush that isn’t too rough on their skin so as to
avoid sore or broken skin, and those with skin irritation like eczema,
psoriasis, or rosacea should take extra care and speak to their GP or
dermatologist before trying it. Brushing over broken or irritated skin
could cause it to bleed.
Can you dry brush your face?
“Whilst you can dry brush your face, I would always
advise a gentler set of lymphatic drainage-type movements that you can
do with your own hands. These involve gently pushing the skin on either
side of your nose from the corners of your eyes down to the nasolabial
folds.” (These are the folds between your nose and mouth.) “This is
gentler on the skin and helps to drain away any excess fluid and
decrease puffiness and eye bags, as well as improving blood flow to the
face,” says Harris.
By unclogging pores, it makes it easier for
your skin to drain toxins and stops bacteria from getting trapped,
which, left untreated, often leads to breakouts and acne.
What’s inspired the dry brushing revival?
Harris sheds some light. “Since the pandemic we’ve all been looking
for affordable, easy forms of self-care that we can carry out at home.
Not only is it believed that it can boost the immune system, but the
increased blood flow is also thought to aid lymphatic drainage, and it
can also help to relieve stress, and boost energy.”
In a hectic
world driven by big pharma, we’re taking inspiration from ancient
civilizations that use simple, natural healing like Ayurveda and
Traditional Chinese Medicine, and focus on prevention rather than cure.
Worth a try!
If you can brush off (sorry) the cellulite-reducing claims,
dermatologists agree that dry brushing can support skin health with
regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, improve circulation
thanks to lymphatic drainage, and if you make the most of it, it can
also support your mental health as a self-care ritual to practice
mindfully. Considering there’s no lengthy or expensive investment, this
is a beauty trend that’s worth a try for smooth, radiant,