Dry brushing is a simple exercise that improves health by increasing skin circulation and stimulating the lymphatic system. How do you get started and how should you dry brush? Get the answers here.
Hi friends! How’s the morning going so far? The kids are at a morning camp, and I’m working on getting things together for upcoming travels. I hope you’re having a great day so far. 🙂
For today’s post, I want to talk about dry brushing! This is something I’ve done since the Valdosta days (the first time!), and figured it was finally time for a post. Some of my regular habits are so engrained in my routine, I forget about them, and a friend or someone will will say, “Wait. You do/did what?!” lol. These things can be anywhere from chiropractic, functional medicine doctors and testing, acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage, placenta encapsulation, meditating, using FAM to track my cycle, etc.
Dry brushing that came up in conversation recently, and I wanted to write a blog post and share a short video on this super easy hack you can add into your routine. Friendly reminder that this post is not medical advice! Just sharing my experience.
Dry brushing involves using a soft bristled brush to gently brush the top layer of skin. You can do this for a variety of reasons: to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, for skin texture and exfoliation, or because it feels great!
Improves lymphatic flow
Our body is covered with lymph nodes that are concentrated in the head and neck area, the armpits, and groin. Our lymphatic system helps with tissue drainage, fat transport, removing waste, and immune function. If these vessels become congested or clogged, you may notice swelling or inflammation. I like to do gentle lymphatic massage on my face and neck, and dry brushing on my body to help encourage my lymphatic system to function properly and keep things moving along!
Can exfoliate and improve skin texture
The act of dry brushing the skin helps to remove dead skin cells on the surface and can help improve skin texture. If you don’t typically exfoliate your body, this is a great way to do it! When you exfoliate your skin, it also helps your moisturizer or body oils absorb properly to hydrate the skin.
Dry brushing can clear clogged pores
Along with exfoliation, dry brushing can help to clear clogged pores. If you notice that your skin is congested (but NOT irritated), dry brushing can potentially help.
It can help calm the nervous system
Dry brushing can help to stimulate the vagus nerve, which can help to calm the sympathetic system and switch to the parasympathetic state (which is the “rest and digest” state of the body). If you’re someone who craves human touch and might not get regular hugs or massages, this is a similar way to give yourself physical touch and self care. It stimulates the nerve endings in our skin, and the energy tingling feels similar to when you’re in savasana after a great yoga class.
On the same note, dry brushing can be positive sensory input for kids who experience sensory processing disorder (SPD). If you have a kiddo with SPD, ask your OT about skin brushing! They have even softer small plastic brushes you can use for kids to help calm the nervous system.
How to Dry Brush (step-by-step)
Stand in front of the shower and make sure your body is dry and free from any lotions or oils. Grab your dry brush!
Starting with your arms, dry brush from your elbow up towards your shoulder in long, sweeping, movements. Then, dry brush your wrist to your elbow in long, sweeping movements. Next, do the palms of your hands, and then your entire arm in long, sweeping movements. An easy reminder: dry brush towards your heart.
Follow the same pattern with your legs. Start from the knee up to your hip, then ankle to knee, then bottoms of feet and entire leg.
Next, I’ll dry brush my neck to my heart in short strokes. I’ll dry brush my stomach in a circular motion, clockwise.
I’ll dry brush my back moving towards my heart. This is easier to do if you have a long handle on your dry brush! You can also dry brush your glutes, using a circular motion.
Hang up your dry brush and take a shower with warm water. When you’re finished, moisturize your body as you usually would.
Here’s a quick video how-to:
Dry Brushing FAQs:
Can you dry brush if you have dry skin?
If you have dry skin, I would be extremely careful with dry brushing and make sure that you’re moisturizing your skin and hydrating your body from the inside out. DO NOT dry brush if you have an open sores, cuts, wounds, lesions, eczema, a skin condition or infection, rashes, or sunburns. Let the skin heal! I also would not dry brush over any skin that looks to be angry or inflamed. If you’re unsure if you should dry brush, talk to your dermatologist.
Can dry brushing help with the appearance of cellulite?
You may hear this a lot online, but the truth is, I don’t think dry brushing can make a huge difference on cellulite. Here’s the thing: almost ALL women have cellulite and it has more to do with body composition, skin texture/elasticity, how the fascia is structured or bundled and its relationship with fat cells, hydration levels, so many things. Just remember that pretty much everyone has cellulite. If you choose to dry brush, do it for skin texture, lymphatic function, and because it feels good; not because a stranger on the internet said it would make cellulite disappear.
Where can I buy a dry brush?
They sell dry brushes at many health food stores in the bath and body section. You can also order from Thrive Market ( <<— use my link for 40% off your first order! Just type “dry brush” in the search bar. I have the Pursoma brand from Thrive Market and a few others, like this one from Amazon).
How often should you dry brush?
I would start with a couple of times per week and see how it feels. You can dry brush daily if you’d like, as long as you’re gentle with the brushing. Hang your dry brush near the shower so you can remember. 🙂 I dry brush each time I take a shower, which is every couple of days, depending on the sweat factor of my workouts.
So, tell me, friends: do you dry brush in your routine? Anything you do that makes a difference in your skins texture and appearance?