Dry Body Brushing: Necessary Or Nuisance?
We investigate whether the added step is worth the hype (and the hassle).
Picture this: it’s 7pm, seven degrees outside and you’ve just arrived home from a long day at work. It’s time to jump in the shower, warm up and wash off those negative vibes. But wait. Hold that thought. Before you do, health evangelists – including Elle Macpherson and Miranda Kerr – want you to stand butt naked in the cold bathroom and dry brush your entire body first.
We know what you’re thinking – there’s no way that’s worth it – and to be honest, we initially felt the same way. However, after a little research, we’re singing a different tune. So if you’re willing to bear with us, Kath Merlo, Founder of Kailo Medispa and Natalie Watson, Founder of Willow Skin + Body might change your mind. Here, they explain what dry brushing actually does and why this practice could be your ticket to Gisele-esque legs by summer.
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What Even Is Dry Body
An ancient Ayurvedic technique, dry body brushing has been around for centuries. Important for draining the lymphatic system and promoting blood circulation, this technique promises to rid the body of toxins. After all, our skin is the largest organ and subsequently is our body’s largest excreter of waste.
“Dry brushing is also popular for its skin exfoliating and rejuvenating qualities,” says Merlo. Said rejuvenation comes mainly from the brush sweeping away skin stressors and pollution from our external environment. Sayonara, nasties!
How Do I Do It?
Like any new skill, learning how to dry body brush can take time. Watson recommends introducing it once or twice a week to start with to ensure there is no harm to your skin’s natural protective barrier.
“I always start with the tops of my feet and move upwards,” says Watson. “Let the bristles do all the work. Applying too much pressure can lead to scratched and micro tears on the skin.”
Merlo adds, “I do 10 strokes on each area of my body. I then gently brush down over the breasts towards the sternum at the end. Your skin may tingle or be a little red but this is normal.”
As for what to do afterwards, simply shower and apply your favourite moisturiser to keep that skin of yours happy and hydrated. (Side note: if you need a really good moisturiser, we’ve reviewed some of the most popular ones here).
Why Should I Bother?
Aside from a forced moment of self-care (which we don’t ever have enough of), there are benefits aplenty when it comes to dry body brushing. “You should notice an improvement in your skin’s texture after one week and consistency will bring even better results,” says Merlo.
Benefits also include stimulating the lymphatic system to reduce inflammation and water retention, exfoliation and increasing circulation. Particularly in winter, the brushing technique will remove the build up of old skin cells (which can make the skin appear dull and scaly) to reveal smooth and youthful looking skin.
As for the real kicker, dry brushing has also been linked to reducing the appearance of cellulite by stimulating the circulatory system. “This feeds your skin with vital oxygen and nutrients whilst removing the build up of toxins so the skin can thrive,” says Watson.
When Should I Avoid?
As with everything in the beauty sphere, there are some exceptions to the rule. Dry body brushing is a pretty heavy duty form of exfoliation, so it’s important to be mindful of your own skin concerns. “If you have sensitive skin or suffer from eczema or other skin conditions, be cautious about dry brushing,” recommends Merlo. “It would be wise to speak to a dermatologist or skin therapist about whether it is suitable for you.”
Since the tool is also reusable, Watson advises against partaking if you struggle with acne, psoriasis or dermatitis as it can spread bacteria (if not cleaned properly) which can further inflame the skin. The rule of thumb? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Are you a dry body brushing convert? Let us know your experiences with the exfoliation technique in the comments below!