Brushing your way to detoxification? Yes, you heard it right. Dry body brushing is the new buzz word doing the rounds of spas and health magazines.
Letting natural bristles to run over your skin to remove toxins from your body is the new trend that has taken over the beauty world by storm.
According to the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, dry brushing daily removes dry flaky skin, improves blood circulation and is a great way to detoxify.
What is Dry Skin Brushing?
As the term suggests dry brushing is nothing but literally brushing your body with soft bristles to make it appear soft and supple.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. One of its major functions is to protect your body from extreme temperatures and harmful chemicals and also from infectious organisms causing diseases.
The outermost layer of your skin called epidermis acts as a physical barrier between your body and the dirt and bacteria outside.
If your skin is healthy and intact, it doesn’t allow the bacteria to enter your body and cause infection.
Dry skin brushing unclog the pores through exfoliation that helps remove dry, dead skin cells allowing your skin to breathe.
This practice is believed to increase your blood flow and circulation, which will help your body and lymphatic system clear away toxins.
Lymphatic tubules in your body allow waste to be collected from your tissue and transport it to your blood stream for elimination.
When your lymphatic system does not work properly, waste removal doesn’t happen effectively.
As a result, waste and toxins tend to build up. This congestion can lead to inflammation and various diseases.
Dry skin brushing is said to stimulate your lymph glands and help your lymph system to clean itself of the toxins collected in its glands.
Author Ellen Kamhi in her book Alternative Medicine Magazine’s Definitive Guide to Weight Loss: 10 Healthy Ways to Permanently Shed Unwanted Pounds, associates dry skin brushing to acupuncture.
She says that by applying friction to acupuncture points on the body, dry skin brushing is invigorating the entire nervous system.
This practice helps to move lymph fluids through lymph vessels. This helps in removing toxins and also reduces cellulite, she adds.
Dry skin brushing supporters believe it improves the circulation in your skin and opens the clogged pores, encouraging the body to discharge its waste effectively.
This results in an improved ability to combat bacteria and infections.
By unclogging the pores, the oil glands are free to produce more moisturizing oils. This leaves your skin hydrated, healthier and moisturized.
Are the Claims True?
Dry skin brushing is increasingly becoming popular all over the world. You may come across lot of reports from doctors to practitioners and beauty experts claiming its benefits, but there is no hard science to back up these claims.
This type of exfoliation, the experts believe, is not good for teens and those in twenties. You do not need exfoliation when you are young; it is only after 30 that your skin starts getting stickier.
This leads to clogging of pores.
Dry skin brushing critics say frequent skin brushing can lead to cuts in your skin that can lead to infection. Some critics say frequent exfoliation can break down your skin’s protective barriers.
Many say this practice of brushing your skin also reduces cellulite. There is no scientific evidence.
Experts at Cleveland Clinic say that it is just a temporary result as the skin becomes more flushed, plump and swollen after brushing.
Is it Therapeutic?
Experts say dry brushing stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel invigorated afterward. It reduces your muscle tension and calms your mind and body, provided you do it in a calm and serene surrounding.
When to Dry Brush?
Dry brushing will only take 10-20 minutes at most. The ideal time to dry brush is in the morning as toxins are released and built up during your sleep.
You should do it just before you get into shower as then you can wash off the dead and flaky skin cells.
How to Dry Brush?
- Take a natural bristled brush or shower brush with a long handle. The bristles should be soft but firm. The stiffness of your brush should depend on your skin’s sensitivity. A long handle will help you reach hard-to-reach spots.
- Start with the sole of your feet, and then go for your toes and feet. Work your way up to your leg in light, sweeping one directional movements.
- Move up to the back of the thighs out toward your buttocks. Repeat on the other leg.
- Brush lightly on stomach from waist to navel in upward strokes.
- Brush across the chest and around the breasts avoiding your nipples.
- Brush the front of your arms in long strokes and move towards under arms.
- Always brush towards your heart as it is good for circulation and for your lymphatic glands
- Avoid brushing your face and genitals.
- Do it once a week.
- Always clean your brush by soaking it in antibacterial wash and hot water once a week.
- Avoid brushing over skin that has any sore, cuts, break outs, lesions or even sunburns.
- Don’t brush over infections, inflammations or any other skin problem.
- If your skin is very sensitive, try using a dry washcloth instead.
- If you suffer from extremely dry skin or other skin conditions, always consult your doctor before trying this practice.
- If you notice any inflammation after dry brushing, stop it altogether.
- Don’t brush one area for long as this can cause irritation.
- Always apply a moisturizer or a baby oil or coconut oil after shower to put back the oil in your skin.