Have you tried dry skin brushing? It’s a technique that not only removes dry skin cells but is also a type of self massage. You don’t need to make a huge investment in equipment to get started and once you’ve gotten a few sessions under your belt, it only takes a few minutes to complete.
The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing
It feels good. Dragging the brush over your skin can be stimulating. The bristles of the brush should be firm so they’ll hold their shape, but not so firm they leave marks or scratches. Natural bristles are recommended but you can get results with other materials like loofahs or other plant fibers.
Exfoliate dry skin cells. Encouraging new skin growth is good for the body. As we age the body’s ability to turn over skin cells slows down. Dry brushing removes the dead cells and stimulates the blood.
Get that lymph moving. One of the functions of the lymphatic system is to carry cellular waste to the veins to be processed by the body. It also carries nutrients, cells and hormones from the circulatory system to the tissues. Unlike the circulatory system the lymph uses gravity and the natural movement of the body –walking, for example– to move the fluid around. The action of the brush puts pressure on the surrounding muscles and encourages the drainage of the lymph from the skin into the larger collection ducts. (See this Wikipedia article for more information and look for a video on the right hand side that does a decent job of explaining the importance of this system).
Better digestion and kidney function. Emptying the lymph nodes can help the body get rid of excess fluids and toxins that lead to bloating.
Improve the appearance of cellulite. It’s thought that the action of the brush can help break up the fat tissue to which makes cellulite less noticeable. At least that’s the theory. I haven’t really noticed a marked improvement. Your mileage may vary.
The Technique for Dry Skin Brushing
Start at your feet and use firm strokes to work your way up each leg towards your heart. Be firm, but it’s not like scraping paint. If you’re scratching yourself you’re being too rough. You’ll also want to avoid any injured areas or varicose veins.
Next, repeat the process starting with your hands and working your way towards the shoulder.
You can brush your head and neck but avoid your face and upper chest. You can use a dry washcloth on those areas, or wait to exfoliate in the shower.
Finally, working from right to left in a circular motion, brush your back and stomach to complete the process.
Your skin might look or feel flushed, but it shouldn’t be a painful process. Work your way up to every day and back off if your skin is sensitive to the process. There are other ways to achieve the same result. We’ll talk about them in another post.