Dry Brushing: Top 5 Benefits for Skin and Wellness
How To Improve Your Skin's Health with a CBD Salve
The same way you brush your hair and clean your teeth every day, your skin also needs some TLC.
The difference is, the benefits of dry brushing go far beyond the surface of the skin.
Dry brushing is a daily habit that is great to incorporate in your morning routine as it gives you a boost of energy, has incredible health-promoting benefits and best of all, it's free (minus the brush which costs close to nothing)!
If your skin is looking dull and your body is need of a little spring cleaning (and let’s face it, we all do), then why not give dry brushing a try!
What is Dry Brushing?
Dry brushing is a self-care routine that consists of taking a firm bristle brush and sweeping it all over your body, starting from the toes all the way to the head.
The name ‘dry brushing’ says it all because, unlike sponging in the shower or bath, you’re applying the brush on fully dry skin (preferably before or after the shower).
It is most commonly practised first thing in the morning to give an energy boost, but can also be done at night, as it also promotes relaxation!
Although dry brushing has only recently become known in wellness circles, this easy DIY skincare routine has been around for centuries.
It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic traditional practices and is commonly prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to help the body clear itself of toxins (known as ‘ama’ in Ayurveda) and reduce stress and inflammation. 
Why is Dry Brushing Good for You?
The skin is the body’s largest organ, with an average surface area of 1.5 to 2 square meters, with several different functions.
It helps you synthesize vitamin D through sun exposure and it produces substances that protect you from pathogens and harmful bacteria.
As it is the body’s first point of contact with the external environment, your skin plays a key role in protecting the body from pathogens and toxins as well as filter and eliminate waste products from your body.
The skin acts as a barrier, protecting you from harmful things like heavy metals, pathogens, and viruses using multiple mechanisms. One of these is perspiration via the sweat glands.
Another method is through the reproduction of skin cells – a process in which skin cells are constantly dividing and moving from the basal layer of the skin towards the surface epidermis, where they are sloughed off, and make room for new cells.
These new skin cells contain a strong protein called keratin which helps to seal the skin from the outside world.
Lastly, sebum, an oily fluid excreted from sebaceous glands found under the subcutaneous layer of the skin, also plays a part in protecting the body from infection. 
The body of a healthy young person detoxifies quite regularly through the skin and lymphatic system – a group of vessels, tissues and organs that help to clear the body of waste and toxins. 
However, with age, the lymphatic system begins to move at a slower pace. Other factors like diet, lifestyle and environment also come into play.
Having an extra pick-me-up like a daily dry-brushing routine can go a long way at speeding up the process, helping the body clear itself of toxins, improving blood flow and skin tone as well as strengthening immunity.
Dry Brushing Benefits
While dry brushing is great for cellulite and healthy skin, many proponents believe its benefits go far beyond the skin surface.
In fact, dry brushing may have stimulating effects on the lymphatic system, as it helps to eliminate toxins and strengthen the immune system, allowing for better blood and fluid flow throughout the body.
Although some of the data to support the benefits of skin brushing are anecdotal, there’s also no harm in trying this DIY self-care routine that only takes a few minutes every day.
1. Improves Skin Health
Ageing causes the skin to lose its elasticity, which among other factors, is due to a gradual decline in proteins that keep the skin tight and youthful (i.e. collagen and elastin).
In adolescence, everything in the body works at its optimal peak.
As we get older, the body’s feedback systems – which essentially help to keep us alive – slow down.
Our elimination pathways become somewhat sluggish if left uncared for (through poor diet, exposure to toxins etc.) and leaves our skin sometimes looking dull.
That’s why it’s so vital to fill our tank with clean and healthy fuel to keep the detoxification processes working properly! 
Dry brushing is one routine that helps you detox the skin, the largest and most exposed organ of the body.
The act of dry brushing the skin in a circular motion (more on how-to later) helps to exfoliate the skin, open the pores and remove dead layers, giving a healthy glow, with a bonus of enhancing circulation.
By opening the pores, it also helps to reduce the appearance of blackheads as it removes the build-up of dirt found on the surface of the skin, leaving you feeling fresh and ready to take on the day! 
2. Promotes Healthy Circulation & Energy Levels
Many people have found skin brushing to have invigorating and stimulating effects.
This may be because skin brushing improves blood flow to the heart and moves lymphatic fluid throughout the body. 
As the lymphatic system cannot move on its own – as it lacks a pump like the heart is to the blood – the lymphatic fluid relies on external means (i.e. muscle motility, massage, dry brushing, etc.) to be transported.
By increasing blood and fluid circulation, skin brushing gives you that boost of energy!
Many skin brushing proponents recommend practising this technique in the early hours of the day to get a boost of energy sans caffeine.
3. Promotes Relaxation and Restful Sleep
Funnily enough, as energizing as dry brushing can be, it also helps you to relax, but cheaper cause you can do it yourself!
In theory, the same way a massage calms you down so can dry brushing.
If you’re rushing out the door in the morning, try practising dry brushing before or after your nightly shower/bath and reap the benefits of restful sleep! 
4. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite
Another great benefit of skin brushing is that it can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite affects women more than men, characterized by an ‘orange-peel’ appearance in certain areas of the skin, mainly in the hips, buttocks, abdomen, and thighs.
Studies have recently tested the effects of lymphatic drainage on a group of lean women affected by cellulite between the ages of 19 to 36.
The women received 10 sessions of 1.5-hour manual lymph drainage (similar to dry brushing or lymph massage) during a period of 2 weeks.
The results showed a significant improvement of cellulite for 13 out of the 14 women, with a mean reduction of cellulite of 3.2 cm in the thighs.
5. Stimulates Lymphatic & Immune Systems
Dry brushing your skin can help to stimulate your lymphatic system in the same way that a lymphatic draining massage can.
The lymphatic system consists of a group of tissues (vessels, valves, nodes and immune cells) that is responsible for removing toxins and waste that hasn’t been excreted by other means (toilet and sweat) and escorting them out of the body.
The immune system and lymphatic system work closely together to fight inflammation and eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses and pathogens.
Unlike blood vessels which have the heart to pump the blood around the body, the lymph moves at a slower pace and relies on manual movement (e.g. muscle contraction, massage etc.) to be transported around.
That’s why regular exercise is so important for lymphatic drainage. When the lymphatic system is activated, lymph fluid is moved towards the lymph nodes, which then filter out the pathogens, and return the clean fluid to the bloodstream to nourish your cells and tissues as well as maintain a balanced fluid.
In practising a daily dry-brushing routine, you’re basically helping to speed up the detoxification job of the lymphatic system and supporting a strong immune function.
In theory, if the skin is efficiently ridding itself of toxins regularly, it takes off some of the slack of the other filtering organs (e.g. liver, kidneys) and supports general well-being.
How to Dry Brush?
- Use a bristle brush with natural fibres, avoid any synthetic fibres; opt for a long-handled brush to get tough-to-reach areas like your back, or if you’re tight on space (i.e.travel junkies), opt for the handle-less brush.
- Dry brush on bare naked skin before you shower or bath to remove impurities. I dry brush after the shower and still get the same benefits (keeps my brush clean!).
- Start from the soles of your feet and move towards the head, using a circular clockwise motion.
- Use long sweeping and circular strokes moving upwards in the direction of your heart, as this is how the lymphatic fluid drains.
- When brushing the arms, brush from the hands to the axial lymph nodes (armpits), where the lymph drains.
- When brushing your stomach and chest, brush in a circular clockwise motion in the direction of your heart.
- If you dry brush your face, use a soft brush and apply gentle strokes from the forehead towards your neck, all the way to your clavicle, where the subclavian lymph nodes reside.
- For optimal results, dry brushing time should last between 5 to 10 minutes. I like to put my favourite song on (a little Cyndi Lauper anyone?) and for extra efficiency, I also do my oil-pulling mouthwash at the same time.
- Clean your brush once a week with natural soap and dry outside to avoid bacterial build-up.
When to Dry Brush?
Generally, people prefer dry brushing first thing in the morning before showering, as it is energizing and helps you start your day with a kick of energy and the shower will help to clean all the dead skin cells.
You should always incorporate a new routine when the timing is right for you. Some people prefer to shower at night and adding 10 minutes to their already busy mornings isn’t realistic.
Another option is to alternate between morning and night. Either way, you will reap the benefits of this DIY at home massage so do it whenever you can fit it in your schedule!
Products the Boost Dry Brushing
Okay, now you’re a dry brushing expert. After your dry-brushing ritual has become a habit, you may want some extra hydration to seal the skin.
Try massaging some natural anti-inflammatory oils such as Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea butter and or this incredible CBD salve:
Sensitive Skin and Lymphatic Massage
If you have any inflamed or sensitive skin, using a dry brush may irritate your skin. I personally have been practising dry brushing for years even though I suffer from psoriasis and have seen tremendous improvement in my skin.
Of course, I also incorporated other healthy habits such as changing my diet and habits.
Alternatively, if you’re experiencing a flare-up and your skin is tender, you can try either using a softer brush and applying gentle pressure or opt for a lymphatic massage, which renders the same benefits as dry brushing, without the risk of irritating it.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a series of massage techniques and yoga sequences that can be performed by a lymph-specialist or on your own at home.
The massage targets the lymph nodes to stimulate the lymphatic system in the same way dry-brushing does. You can easily do these while watching TV or reading a book. 
 Schwartz, N., Chalasani, M., Li, T. M., Feng, Z., Shipman, W. D., & Lu, T. T. (2019). Lymphatic Function in Autoimmune Diseases. Frontiers in immunology, 10, 519. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00519
 How does skin work? (2009) Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2009 Sep 28 [Updated 2019 Apr 11]. InformedHealth.org [Internet].
 Moore, J. E., Jr, & Bertram, C. D. (2018). Lymphatic System Flows. Annual review of fluid mechanics, 50, 459–482. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-fluid-122316-045259
 Zhang, S., & Duan, E. (2018). Fighting against Skin Aging: The Way from Bench to Bedside. Cell transplantation, 27(5), 729–738. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963689717725755
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