We Should All Be Dry Brushing

Here's why.

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Dry Brushing
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When we think of skincare, we typically only think of products: serums, moisturizers, cleansers — the lot. However, there's so much more that goes into caring for our skin than applying products . Not to mention, skincare doesn't stop at the base of our necks or décolletages — the rest of our body needs TLC, too.

That's where more holistic practices come into play; dry brushing being one of them.

You've likely seen a dry brush a few times in your life, or have read celebrities such as Cindy Crawford boast about them. They're body brushes that typically come with a wood handle and feature tightly-packed, short, coarse bristles, and there's a handful of benefits that come from using one.

To better understand what the benefits of dry brushing are and how to correctly do it, we tapped two experts. Their insights, below.

What is dry brushing?

"Dry brushing is exactly as it sounds - brushing your dry skin without any product," explains Kate McLeod, founder of her eponymous skincare brand.

Furthermore, Dr. Barbara Sturm, an aesthetics doctor and founder of her eponymous skincare company, explains that it's an anti-inflammatory skin treatment that involves brushing the skin upwards and in a clockwise rotation. "[It] helps unclog pores, mechanically stimulates the removal of dry skin, boosts circulation, increases lymph flow, and remove toxins," she says.

What are the benefits of dry brushing?

There are two main benefits that come from dry brushing: physical exfoliation and lymphatic drainage.

"Dry body brushing boosts your circulation and lymphatic system, which is a network of tissues and organs that help remove toxins from the body, and discourages fluid retention," explains Dr. Sturm. "Much like a massage, brushing awakens the circulatory system and enhances blood flow, which helps lymph move more quickly through the body and ultimately filter out toxins," furthers McLeod, who suggests dry brushing in an upward motion towards your heart.

Since dry brushes have thick bristles, there's an obvious physical exfoliation that comes along with the practice. Dr. Sturm says this can help unclog pores and remove dead skin cells.

Because of all the above reasons, she adds that dry brushing can improve skin tone and elasticity while firming the skin’s surface to help reduce the appearance of cellulite and reveal brighter, smoother skin.

Are there side effects that come from dry brushing?

For the most part, the only way to have a negative reaction to dry brushing is if you use too much pressure, which can cause irritation. With that said, look for dry brushes that are gentle — especially if you have sensitive skin. Dr. Sturm recommends her SOFT BODY BRUSH which features flexible bristles, while McLeod says to use her brand's gentle version and to combine it with one of her body stones to keep the skin moisturized post-brush.

Now, while dry brushing is safe, McLeod notes to skip this practice if you have a sunburn.

What's the best way to use a dry brush?

Dr. Sturm recommends dry brushing two to three times a week in the morning on dry skin, and before showering. "Dry brushing is super invigorating, and you will want to wash your skin afterwards to remove the exfoliated skin and any other impurities," she says.

In terms of methods, McLeod says to brush from outwards in — from your fingers and toes upwards towards your heart. "Use short gentle strokes or small clockwise rotations — do this for two to five minutes," she adds.

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