The first time I heard about dry brushing it was described as a “beautiful self-care practice,” which I read as something only semi-necessary that nobody really has time for. I’m telling on myself with my cynicism, but I just couldn’t understand the purpose of stroking my body with a brush (not that I did any research to try to) and so I put the idea out of my head until it fell into my lap, literally.
Cantu recently sent me a set of their new Skin Therapy body creams and lotions, which, if you haven’t tried them out yet, you definitely should, and within the package was a round wooden brush with bristles and massage nubs that looked like a much-needed upgrade to my worn-out loofah. In my haste — and excitement — I used the brush in the shower that night and I noticed such a difference in how my skin felt that I decided to look into this contraption. That’s when I realized I’d actually been sent a dry brush and I’d kinda already used it wrong, even though it felt amazingly right.
Source: Dry Skin Body Brush / AmazonThe main (and really only proven) benefit of dry brushing in terms of physical health is exfoliation. The bristles on the brush come from boar’s hair and are stiff but soft enough to glide lightly across the skin. Some, like the one I received, have rubber nubs on them, adding to the massage quality of the practice. The movement along the skin increases circulation, which it’s been noted is good for the skin in general. Many have stretched this benefit to cite dry brushing as beneficial for lymphatic drainage and in turn detoxing of the skin, but most experts aren’t so sure. Likewise, the promise that dry brushing reduces cellulite also seems to be more rooted in hope than fact, as any change in appearance is likely temporary as a result of increased blood flow to the area brushed.
So why dry brush if it’s not as great as everyone without a medical degree claims it to be? Well, for one, it feels good. Those little nubs may not be able to take the place of a massage therapist, but they certainly feel better over my skin than a scratchy loofah when applying body wash. (In my research I learned you can use some brushes both dry and wet so that’s what I’ve been doing.) Even dry brushing feels calming and, dare I say, beautiful when I do it prior to showering. My skin feels revived and almost tingly like it’s been brought back to life after each use. And I know the increase in circulation is helping what has become a mostly sedentary life working from home every day.
Dry brushing is also easy. I love a good body scrub, but they can sometimes be a mess. Dry brushing, on the other hand, is a mess-free. There’s no product to spill or spread and, trust me, you’re not exfoliating so deeply dead skin cells will be lying on your bathroom floor. Gentle strokes or movements in a circular motion for 5 minutes a day is all you need to get blood flowing and dry skin going.
If you have skin conditions like eczema, you’ll want to stay away from dry brushing as it can further irritate the skin. Otherwise, the practice is safe for everyone and there are no real risks involved. At the very least, it’s a way to take a few moments to mindfully love on your skin and I’m pretty sure all of us could stand to do that more.