Dry Brushing Is the Glow-Boosting Body Care Treatment Celebs Love

Glow-Boosting Body Care Treatment


Some beauty practices are more beneficial than others, which is why its only right to question every trend and treatment before dedicating our precious time and energy to it. Thankfully, there are plenty of body care treatments that actually work to smooth out rough skin texture, improve the appearance of cellulite, and encourage lymphatic drainage. One treatment that does all of the above and more is dry brushing.

Its aptly named after the tool you need to do it. A dry brush has rough bristles that you use on your body. The ancient practice is rooted in Ayurveda, and its results are so good that its attracted a celebrity cult-following with fans such as Miranda Kerr and Cindy Crawford singing its praises. Really, its proof that some age-old beauty secrets are worth the hype.

To best understand the benefits of dry brushing, we tapped dermatologist, Jeanine Downie and esthetician Gary Dickman. Below, they share everything there is to know about the treatment including how best to do it, the potential side effects, how often you should do it, and how to prep your skin before and after. Their insights below.

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like: an exfoliation method that involves using a body brush to gently massage your skin, which Dickman says helps with boosting radiance, removing dead skin, and increasing the effectiveness of your moisturizer. Youll want to find a body brush with firm, natural bristles, then gently massage your body in upward, circular motions—see more detailed instructions below. As the name implies, the brush and your skin should be—you guessed it— dry while you do it.

How to Dry Brush Properly

Dry brushing doesnt mean randomly scrubbing a brush all over your body. Instead, follow the below tips to ensure that the practice will benefit your skin:

Dry brush before showering:As mentioned above, the best time for dry brushing is before bathing as youll be sloughing off dead skin cells that youll want to rinse away afterward. You may consider standing in the shower as well for easy cleanup.Do it on dry skin:Make sure your skin (and brush) is completely dry for the best results. If you dont yet have a brush, one to try is the Joanna Vargas Ritual Brush ($30), although many good options are available with various designs and price points.Apply medium pressure:You want your strokes to be firm enough to effectively help with exfoliation, circulation, and drainage, but not abrasive to your skin.Start at your ankles: Dickman recommends starting at the bottom and moving in long, circular motions. A delicate, rhythmic touch is key to getting the most of the benefits. Switch to shorter, quicker movements around your joints.Move in the direction towards your heart:Dickman says to work your way through each area of the body. Take your time with this—dry brushing is supposed to be a relaxing, rejuvenating part of your body care routine.Wash and moisturize:Proceed with your normal shower routine, making sure to take advantage of applying hydrating products, such as Aveenos Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($11). Following all that exfoliation, your skin will be in prime position to absorb the benefits.

The Benefits of Dry Brushing

While dry brushing isnt the be-all, or end-all for attaining perfect skin, and there could stand to be more research on it, the treatment does seem to have its own set of benefits, from plumping to exfoliating.

Boosts circulation:If youve noticed that your skin is red after dry brushing, it usually isnt a cause for concern. The redness, which is just a bit of inflammation, signals increased circulation—a.k.a. better blood flow— in the areas youve been dry brushing. However, redness can also be a sign that youre dry-brushing too aggressively and irritating the skin (if skin feels raw or scratchy, youre pressing too hard or brushing too often).Aids with lymphatic drainage:Aside from leaving you with glowing skin, Dickman notes that dry brushing can encourage lymphatic drainage. All blood carries lymph fluid, which filters through the lymph nodes. Dry brushing speeds up the rate of blood pumping, which helps spread the lymph through the body, therefore removing toxins and pathogens more quickly.Exfoliates dead skin:As with all methods of exfoliating, dry brushing gets rid of the days dirt and oil as well as dead skin cells. The result is increased cell turnover and more radiant, smooth skin.Plumps the skin: Manyswear their cellulite is less noticeable after dry brushing, due to the temporary plumping effect it has on the skin. Downie notes that the practice can even help reduce the appearance of sun damage.

How Often Should You Dry Brush?

Since dry brushing can leave your skin feeling a little raw (it is full-body exfoliation, after all), its up to you (and the strength of your skin) to decide how often to do it. As a general rule of thumb, though, Dr. Downie recommends dry brushing no more than one to two times per week. Dont forget to wash your brush with baby shampoo at least twice a month to get rid of all of that dead skin and buildup.

If you have ultra-sensitive skin, try dry brushing once every couple of weeks. If you build up a tolerance to it successfully, then you can transition to one to two times a week.

Potential Risks of Dry Brushing

In general, practice dry brushing (and all exfoliation) with caution, as overdoing it can cause irritation. If your skin skews extra sensitive or you have eczema, psoriasis, or other serious skin conditions, steer clear of dry brushing, as it can exacerbate your issues.1Also, brushing too hard, and/or too often can lead to irritated skin. While some redness is normal after dry brushing, skin abrasions arent the results to expect, so look out for any signs of these. Lastly, if you have an open wound on your skin, steer clear of the area to avoid introducing bacteria and infection.

Dry Brushing Aftercare

Post-dry brushing, be sure to take a shower to rinse off all the dead skin cells. And before heading out for the day, Dr. Downie advises using sunscreen— a good option is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Spray Lotion ($27)— as the exfoliation process can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.


Who should avoid dry brushing?

Overdoing it with dry brushing can lead to redness, peeling, sensitivity, and even abrasions— especially if you have a condition like eczema, chronically dry skin, or psoriasis, according to Shadoh Punnapuzha, founder of Ayurvedic beauty brand Taïla.

When should you dry brush?

You can dry-brush at any time of day, but Dr. Downie recommends doing it right before you shower. After you rinse off, slather on a moisturizer to let your freshly exfoliated skin absorb maximum nourishment.

Does dry brushing tighten loose skin?

As board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD, told us, dry brushing can help your skin appear tighter—but ultimately, its all temporary. “Having increased circulation from dry brushing will cause vasodilation (that’s when your capillaries widen, causing an increased amount of blood flow in the area),” she explains. “This will cause a temporary plumping up of the skin, making your cellulite appear less visible.”

Can You Really Get Rid of Cellulite?

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Cleveland Clinic. The truth about dry brushing and what it does for you.

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