Does Dry Brushing Work?


Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like. No one is trying to trick you there. It is simply the act of brushing whilst not wet. However, we are talking about skin, here, not hair or teeth or whatever else you might brush in your personal time. 

If you're like me and you're into learning about all the latest health fads, I'm sure you've come across this term before and perhaps you've already been told about all the supposed benefits. If so, you won't see any surprises here today. If you're totally clueless to the world of health trends (so duh, that is why you are here, to learn about them from yours truly) then read on, dear health hermits. 

Does dry brushing actually work?

Tbh, it depends what you mean by “work”…

Why dry brush? Because it feels awesome. I want to emphasize that this is the only matter of fact about dry brushing, and even that is debatable. Personally, brushing my skin (particularly in the morning and pre-shower) is super energizing and the stimulation just wakes me right up! But I've heard others say they find it painful, so I guess the jury's out on that one.

Now for the other "benefits" of dry brushing:

  • Exfoliation - brushing the skin supposedly helps get rid of dead skin cells and support skin renewal, resulting in brighter, tighter, softer skin. This may aid in the fading of scars and stretch marks.

  • Detoxification - through this exfoliation, the lymphatic system is aided in moving toxins out of the body, and blood circulation is improved. This may also help decrease the appearance of cellulite.

  • Body Sculpting - the same principle behind tighter, younger looking skin may imply the look of a more toned physique.

The only reason I note these as “benefits” and not confirmed benefits (sans quotation marks) is because there is no scientific data to support them—only testimonial. Now, in my opinion, everyone should be their own scientist so testimonials are just as powerful if not more so than funded studies with hidden agendas.

So to sum up, dry brushing will, at best, serve as your fountain of youth. At worst, it's a nice thing to do for yourself that is akin to a free massage. Here's how it's done:

  1. Buy a dry brush. You want one that has natural bristles, rather than synthetic which will definitely not feel good. I have one similar to this.

  2. Ideally before you shower (and best not at night, since it can be energizing), start brushing from the feet up. You want to brush in the direction that the lymphatic system flows, so always brush towards the heart. I like to brush in long strokes, and I follow each stroke by running my free hand over the same area of skin. This tends to soften the feel of the tough bristles, especially if you're totally new to this.

  3. Once you reach your abdomen, brush in a circular clockwise motion. I like to start at my bellybutton and do a spiral motion, creating bigger and bigger circles and then reversing back to the center.

  4. On the arms, do shorter, faster strokes working from the wrist up.

  5. For your chest, continue with short strokes toward your heart (I've even heard people say this helps perk up the girls!)

  6. For your neck and back, you actually want to brush downwards. Lymphatic flow changing it up on us here.

My final thoughts? It is a self-indulgence and an easy, inexpensive way to honor myself everyday. So do it! Or don't do it. You might hate it, or you might wonder why you haven't done it your whole life. You won't know until you try!