You’ve heard of skin brushing, right? Also called dry brushing, you may even have tried it already and not even known it. If you’ve ever been at a spa or used my Smooth As Silk Body Scrub from The UnDiet Cookbook, you have likely experienced some of the tingling and invigorating benefits of dry skin brushing.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid the pollution of our environment – this includes the chemicals both outside and inside our homes. There are chemicals on the clothes we buy, in the soaps we use and in the water we bathe in. Sad but true. And our skin takes the brunt of that beating. Our skin also happens to be the largest organ of the body.
Conventionally we think that washing with soap is the best option, but there is actually a better way to cleanse and nourish our skin for a healthy glow, softness and optimal moisture/oil balance.
Personally, I skip the ‘soap all over move’ and instead opt to save the soap for my pits and bits and dry skin brush the rest instead. It feels amazing, cleanses the skin and is good for us too.
Health Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing
The scientific studies on dry brushing are limited, but it’s thought that dry skin brushing:
- Sheds dead skin cells and other impurities to promote better oxygenation of the skin
- Increases blood circulation (which is also beneficial to the immune system)
- Stimulates the lymphatic system (helpful for immune health and gentle detoxification)
- Breaks down and moves fatty deposits under the skin
- Supports detoxification actions of internal organs
- Promotes cell rejuvenation
- Improves immune system function
- Improves moisture balance by stimulating the sebaceous glands (so you are not too oily and not too dry)
- Softens and improves skin texture so you can be silky smooth
And, most importantly – it feels great! It’s invigorating and relaxing – dry brushing is one of my favourite parts of my self-care routine.
Dry Skin Brushing Basics
- Use a natural-bristle brush with a long handle (this way you can get at your back). I love the ones that have a removable handle so you can get up close and super firm on the front, but still be able to reach the back.
- Ideal timing is in the morning before you shower.
- Brush the skin when it is dry and never expose the brush to water.
- Use a brush with very stiff bristles and just go lighter at first. You’ll get used to it and be able to tolerate a firmer pressure over time.
- You may notice a white powder that comes off of your skin during the process. These are crystals of uric acid as well as other waste products which were produced during any perspiration. This is a good thing!
- Always brush towards the heart – moving away from the heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and may cause ruptured vessels and varicose veins.
- Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet.
- Use your coarse brush to brush the whole body except the face and for women, the nipple area (you only make that mistake once!). I recommend a softer brush for the face and breasts (details below).
- After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oils. You don’t want to be gunking up your skin with chemical cosmetics after sloughing off the dead skin.
- Clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing, dry your skin brush in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.
How To Dry Skin Brush In 6 Easy Steps
- Using circular motion or short quick strokes, begin at the bottom and tops of your feet.
- Continue brushing up your legs, and then to your hands and arms, continuing to brush towards the heart.
- Brush your entire back, shoulders and neck.
- Use larger circular counterclockwise strokes on the abdomen.
- Lightly brush the breasts, mind the nipples.
- Brush upwards on the back and down from the neck.
Remember, your skin is your largest organ, therefore, you must take care of it. There’s a ton of buildup that collects on your skin. So, not only will you be eliminating the accumulated toxins, but you’ll be getting your skin into tip-top shape. Skin brushing aids lymphatic drainage, feels amazing and gets you glowing.
My Dry Skin Brushing And SkinCare Routine
Over time, we all develop our own way of doing things, and as I’ve been skin brushing regularly for over a decade, this is my sacred morning ritual.
Essential Oils To Enhance The Experience
I love using a few drops of essential oil on my skin brush. I add two to three drops to the palm of my hand and gently move the brush across my hand so the bristles can pick up the oil. Then I follow the “how to” directions above. If you’re interested, I recommend these oils:
My Favourite Skin Brushes
When looking for a skin brush, you want to ensure you are getting one with natural Tampico bristles. Please be wary of brushes you may find at your local beauty shop or pharmacy as most brushes are made with synthetic bristles. Be sure to wash your brush once a week with a natural soap (see below for my recommendation) and let it dry fully.
- For The Body: This Tampico brush from Bernard Jensen
- For The Face + Breasts: The facial brush featured here
Soap For The Pits, Bits And Dry Brush Washing
- Castile soap
Post Shower Moisturizing
- Face: Rose Glow Face Creme
- Body: Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever
You can also read more about my favourite beauty care products here, and my spa self-care routine here.
All you need to get started with dry brushing are the above directions and your natural bristle dry skin brush. The other products are all extras. What matters most is that you just get started!
10 responses to “Dry Skin Brushing: How To and Health Benefits”
I just like to thank you for everything you do to edutaion me and the public about healty living !
Love both your books as well as all the educational videos and links !
You are very much appreciated !
Wow! Thank you so much for your kind and generous words! They are the fuel that keeps me creating for you :)
Hi Meghan, thank you for this great reminder! I had forgotten about skin brushing and did it just now. Wow! An amazing benefit I noticed is how clear my mind feels. I was experiencing a little anxiety, which I couldn’t pinpoint the cause, and the dry skin brushing completely refreshed my mind. It is amazing how this simple practice not only helps cleanse our body and skin, but also our nervous system. You are one of my greatest rock stars :)
Awe! Thank you so much. And thrilled to know you’re feeling super in body and mind!
Hi very glad find your web site, so glad with your recipe, beauty advice,emotionally support. Than you so much. Keep like this. Always looking to the future with a happy face. Isabel
Hi Meghan, thanks so much for this detailed how-to on dry brushing. I’ve been doing it wrong for about a year so now I know exactly what’s involved. Thank you so much.
I just purchased your book as well as a brush and I look forward to trying out this skin brushing! Thanks for all the great info, I really enjoy reading your articles
Abdominal massage or dry brushing should be done to aid the digestive system, which runs clockwise and not “counter clockwise”.
Hi Meaghan, what happens to all the skin and yuck that gets brushed off? What is the best way to contain it and clean the space I brush in?
You could brush directly in the shower (before you turn the water on so your skin is still dry) or in the bathroom where you could easily clean/vacuum it up.