Looking less than luminous after a year mostly spent in lockdown? I feel you. I’m dry, flaky and my skin sucks up any moisture I can give it. I know when that happens, it’s time to up my skincare regime…and that starts with dry brushing my body and face.
Dry brushing, you ask? Yes! I’d like to say it’s the latest and greatest trend, but the truth is, people have been dry brushing for thousands of years, with all sorts of ancient civilizations and cultures taking dry bristles to their skin in the search for revitalization. Over winter due to colder temperatures and spending more time indoors, our skin tends to dry out much faster.
OKAY, BUT WHY?
Dry brushing is an effective way to exfoliate dead cells from your skin’s surface - this is, after all, where your “winter skin” gets its flaky, dull appearance. The colder temperatures of the season, plus more time spent indoors (especially over this past year), can tend to dry out skin much faster.
It’s important to remember to take this beauty step before you get wet. Brushing your skin under the shower or in the tub can lead to over-stripping of your body’s own natural moisturizer layer.
In addition to being an excellent tool for much-needed exfoliation, using a dry brush also increases blood circulation and unclogs open pores, making skin look fresh and helping to treat blemishes before they get a good start. It can also help prevent ingrown hairs and can reduce bumps on skin caused by excess keratin production, which is very common. Dry brushing also stimulates your lymphatic system, which brings a world of health benefits.
While most of these effects will take time before they’re fully enjoyed, just the physical sensation of dry brushing your skin (or having someone brush your skin for you) is an immediate takeaway itself. It’s like scratching an itch you never knew you even had.
SO, HOW DO I DO THIS?
Body brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We carry a smaller, handheld brush from Sayula, as well as one from the same brand with longer handles, meant for hard-to-reach places. Whichever brush you choose, the bristles should be firm enough to scrub away dead skin cells, but not terribly abrasive to you.
To dry brush, firmly but gently brush your skin upwards in long strokes – think of going towards your heart. Start at your toes and get the tops of your feet, up your calves and your thighs, then your abdomen. Then, start again from the bottom to get your calves and legs at the back, and up over your bottom and your back (this is where the longer handled brush will work wonders if you are less-than-flexible). Now, start from your hands and go up your arms and to your shoulders, and your chest, one side at a time. And, repeat! Go over each section two or three times. I’ve also read that you should go around your belly area in a clockwise motion.
Afterwards you’ll be pink, glowing and nice and warm, almost tingly, as the blood comes to the surface of your skin! Enjoy your shower or bath, and afterwards, allow your skin to air dry and avoid a towel to keep your skin’s moisture locked in. Follow up with a rich and moisturizing skin lotion like our Carina Organics baby lotion or one of our great body oils, to really take good care of your body’s largest organ.
It is recommended that you dry brush only one to two times per week, but if you have sensitive skin it is best to keep your exfoliating methods to a minimum to prevent irritation. And of course, do not use any kind of brush on broken, infected, or burnt skin. Wait until you fully heal!
YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS..
One thing about dry brushing that I would like to clear up with science (as I love to do) has to do with the *anti-cellulite* craze. According to multiple health-related sources, there is no scientific evidence for the reduction and/or removal of cellulite by using a dry brush.
Over time people have experienced “losing” their cellulite by dry brushing their skin daily, and what this may be caused by is the temporary plumping of the skin as the blood flow has increased -- which is a good sign! While these brushes may help with the appearance of cellulite, it doesn’t actually break it down inside your body.
CAN I DRY BRUSH MY FACE?
Of course, your face has skin as well, and we can’t forget about that, can we? Much like a body brush, facial brushes can be used to unclog pores and keep complexions clear – as we know, wearing masks has led to excessive breakouts, dry patches and irritated skin on our faces.
Dry brushes for your face will feel much different as they have to be significantly softer for some of your most sensitive skin. Please note: you should never use a body brush on your face. Because of that, we recommend the Sayula face dry brush.
Brush with light strokes on a clean, dry neck and face, starting at the top of your face and working your way over around your eyes and onto your cheekbones, chin, then neck and decolette. Wash off any dead skin cells afterwards and of course, reward your skin with a drink of moisturizer or facial oil!
By lightly brushing over your skin in specific motions it is thought that you help encourage the lymphatic system to drain properly. Studies began in the 1930s on this subject, but more research is needed to understand its extensive benefit. What we do know it helps drain excess fluid from the bloodstream and reduces puffiness and inflammation when kept up with.
You should only dry brush your face one to two days per week, and these should be on days when no other exfoliators are used. Your skin will benefit from the physical stimulation in moderation, but can experience negative side effects if over-exfoliated. Of course, avoid using your facial brush if you have any broken skin or acne as you don’t want to irritate those further.
So do your skin a favour and clean, buff and polish your skin with fresh new dry brushes this year and you will absolutely see and feel results before it’s time to pack away the winter clothes again! You may as well start working on your soft summer skin already.