6 Incredible Benefits of Dry Brushing the Body (Plus How to Dry Brush)
In recent years, the concept of dry brushing the body has swept the internet.
So what’s all the fuss with this fad?
→ Maybe it seems too easy?
→ Too good to be true?
Some beauty claims definitely fall into these categories, but the ancient ritual of dry brushing the body is one you better believe, babe.
This simple (and practically free!) practice only takes about 2 minutes of your time. The benefits of dry brushing are proven to boost beauty + wellness throughout your body.
Dry brushing has become a buzzword in the wider health world, but it still may conjure up questions in your mind. No worries – for many, it’s a new concept!
There’s a reason it’s been around in ancient cultures for centuries. But if that’s not proof enough, we’re covering the top 6 reasons you should start dry brushing the body today.
History of Dry Brushing the Body
Many ancient cultures around the world participated in this practice to create soft, supple, glowing skin. Dry brushing the body is well known in Ayurvedic medicine (known by the name garshana). It’s even said that Cleopatra would begin her indulgent ritual by dry brushing the body and then moving on to a milk and honey bath – among other luxuries.
So when you’re dry brushing the body, embrace your royalty. ;)
There are many different variations of the dry brush, but they all share a few things in common. Dry brushes are usually:
- Made with natural materials like wood or bamboo handles
- Created with natural bristles from boars, palms, or similar textures
- Intended to be used on completely dry skin
- Meant to be used with light pressure as a gentle exfoliation
- Designed specifically for either the face or the body (and shouldn’t be mixed!)
Later, we’ll explain more about how to dry brush so you can feel comfortable + confident you’re doing it correctly.
But first, let’s dive into the benefits of dry brushing – you don’t want to miss these.
1. Dry Brushing the Body Increases Circulation
Not to sound too dramatic, but circulation sustains us – blood flow is the life force within us. For real.
Your circulatory system is the pathway that supplies vital nutrients + oxygen to every part of your body. Not only that, it pushes waste and toxins out. So slow or stagnant circulation can cause some serious issues for your cells, organ functions, energy levels, and overall health.
Even though the skin is your largest organ, it's also the last to receive nutrients from the body. So dry brushing the body provides a much-needed boost of blood flow to keep skin nourished, clear, + radiant.
Increased blood flow = serious skin glow.
2. Dry Brushing the Body Provides Gentle Exfoliation
Gentle strokes with natural bristles are all you need to reveal smoother, softer skin. Replace harsh, aggressive, or abrasive exfoliants that just aren’t necessary (and truthfully, could be doing more damage than good) with a dry brush. Dry brushing the body is far more gentle + supports your body’s natural healing capabilities, bringing nutrients to the surface and encouraging natural cell turnover.
Dry brushing the body effectively exfoliates + sloughs off dry, scaly skin (insert praise hands emoji), which improves skin's texture and tone.
→ An added benefit of dry brushing associated with exfoliation: it brilliantly preps skin to absorb moisture. Without proper exfoliation, you may slather moisturizer on top of layers of dull, dehydrated, and dead skin cells. Moisturizing in this way doesn't allow for nutrients to deeply hydrate and heal. Products also absorb better after dry brushing the body, resulting in truly moisturized and happy skin. Be sure to dry brush pre-shower and massage in Body Oil post-shower.
→ Another interesting benefit of dry brushing over traditional exfoliation: you don’t risk disrupting the skin’s delicate microbiome. Your skin has its own mini microbiome of necessary + beneficial bacteria. Over-exfoliating can damage this microbiome, also called the moisture barrier. This can result in irritated, inflamed, or dry skin because your skin has no “barrier” to lock in the moisture – or to keep out bad bacteria.
Dry brushing the body is a win-win for making sure your skin deeply absorbs + uses the moisture you apply afterward. It works with you instead of against you. ;)
Speaking of things working against you – if you’re a lover of a good detox, you’re going to love number 3 in our benefits of dry brushing.
3. Dry Brushing Helps Detox the Body + Improves Lymphatic Drainage
One of the most powerful and important benefits of dry brushing is stimulating lymph flow + the drainage that follows.
Okay, “drainage” may not sound pretty, but we can't stress enough how essential lymphatic drainage is for radiant skin, a healthy body, and a happy self. That’s why we love dry brushing the body as a regular detox protocol.
Your lymphatic system helps to detoxify your whole body and provide immunity against disease. But when this system becomes blocked, it can cause toxic buildup in your tissues – leading to issues like blemishes, rashes, irritations, and other skin conditions.
Dry brushing the body utilizes light, simple strokes that stimulate lymph flow to flush out toxins + waste. It also clears pores, eliminating more toxins through sweat. With fewer toxins and more nutrients, you’ll experience:
- A strengthened immune system
- Less sickness
- Increased energy levels
- Fewer areas of discoloration or damage to the skin
- Less skin sensitivity
Add dry brushing to your beauty routine to promote radiant skin, a daily detox, and feel even more invigorated. Speaking of radiant skin, you can expect a change after just one session of dry brushing the body.
Yep, get ready for improved skin complexion.
4. Dry Brushing the Body Improves the Appearance of Your Skin (+ Reduces Signs of Cellulite)
If you’re looking for some instant gratification, you’ll love this dry brushing benefit. Similar to dermaplaning, another form of gentle exfoliation for the face, you’ll immediately notice a brighter, happier complexion. How?
You can thank the dry brush’s gentle, yet firm bristles for effectively removing dull, dead skin. Younger, fresher skin appears instantly. It was already there – it just needed a nudge. ;)
So we know dry brushing the body works to smooth away impurities in the skin – but what about the claim that it even improves the appearance of cellulite?
It's possible. While there’s no solid research on this topic yet, dry brushing your body is believed to soften fat deposits below the skin’s surface. This helps your body redistribute them and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
We also know that exfoliation can increase the natural production of collagen and rebuild the skin – making it stronger. So a boost in collagen + skin strength could definitely give areas of cellulite a more “plump” appearance (and make them less susceptible to “dimples,” aka cellulite).
Whether it’s a temporary effect (plumping + invigorating skin) or a long-term solution (removing toxins to rebuild connective tissue) for cellulite, the bottom line: dry brushing works.
5. Dry Brushing Supports Fascia
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that runs throughout your entire body (underneath your skin) to hold everything together. Like the lymphatic system, there are still a lot of unknowns.
But what we do know: just like muscles, fascia can develop “knots,” tightness/tension, and adhesions that can cause discomfort and keep the body from functioning optimally. The health of your fascia affects internal health since it’s connected to lymph, circulation, and other bodily functions critical for full-body health.
Dehydration and lack of movement are both known to affect fascia negatively. So as you can imagine, dry brushing the body can assist with both of these problems. Better flow and circulation, along with increased absorption, helps hydration within the body. And the gentle massage-like motions of dry brushing the body gently stimulate the tissue, working out adhesions and tension.
Embracing the massage-like feeling you get from dry brushing the body, we especially love the last advantage in the benefits of dry brushing: calming the nervous system.
6. Dry Brushing the Body Activates Your Parasympathetic Nervous System
Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for bringing your body into balance when you get stressed, anxious, or scared. Dry brushing benefits more than just the skin – it benefits the state of your heart, mind, and soul.
We all experience our fair share of stress – and we know it’s not good for our bodies. Why not incorporate a relaxing + rewarding practice at the end of a long day (or in preparation for a dreaded day)? Dry brushing the body creates gentle, rhythmic motions throughout the body that lull you into a more relaxed state by activating the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve extends throughout your body, sending signals (good or bad) to the brain. When you gently stimulate the vagus nerve through light, rhythmic touch, it sends positive, calming signals to your brain – and throughout your body.
Now that you’re ready to get your zen on, here’s a short overview of how to dry brush.
How to Dry Brush in 4 Easy Steps
Let’s keep it simple. Dry brushing your body is really easy to do, so don’t overthink it. :)
- Pick up a dry brush here if you don’t have one yet. Before showering, begin at your feet and dry brush your body upwards with gentle, short strokes – always towards your heart.
- Next, brush your lower belly towards your groin and your upper abdomen towards your underarms, then from your hands toward your heart.
- To finish, dry brush down toward your underarms to help flush out toxins + improve lymph drainage. Always use light pressure. The point isn't to scrub off your skin, but to gently and effectively get blood + lymphatic fluid moving.
- After showering, apply Body Oil + boost your skin's glow and your newfound energy.
That’s all there is to it. Easy to do, easy to see results.
But here are a few extra things to keep in mind as you dry brush your skin:
- Just like any other tool, hygiene is key. Keep your brush clean by using a non-toxic soap once a week and leave it to dry with the bristles down to prevent bacteria from seeping into the wooden handle.
- You can do it before or after a shower – there’s not really a “right” answer – but we recommend dry brushing your body before a shower to rinse off any residue + dead skin cells. But if you’re sweaty or just getting out of the ocean, lake, etc., you’re welcome to use your dry brush after a shower. Just make sure your skin is totally dry – and you may want to wipe it down with a warm washcloth afterward.
- Don’t overdo it on sensitive skin – though dry brushing is extremely gentle, you’ll still want to be mindful of areas with active inflammation, sensitive, or extremely dry skin. We’d recommend keeping your dry brushing routine to 1-2 times/week. Use very light pressure and focus more on the skin around affected areas to open up healing pathways + restore nutrients.
Embrace Vibrant + Radiant Skin – All Over
Oftentimes, personal care focuses on the face – but your body needs love too! We love dry brushing the body to bring a full-body glow and undeniable confidence.
Whether it’s the dead of winter and your skin is dull and congested, or it’s the middle of the summer and you want to encourage a vibrant glow, dry brushing your body is an excellent way to practice self-health.
You’re improving your skin and your health – two birds with one stone. But fair warning: you just might become obsessed with this beauty ritual – and your new skin. ;)
Shop our Body Dry Brush here.
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