Body Brushing 101
After all the foaming washes, perfumed scrubs and beauty elixirs and that we’ve used, dry body brushing may seem a bit "old school." And rightly so! Variations of skin brushing have been used for thousands of years. For centuries, the Japanese used loofah sponges for vigorous skin brushing before their traditional hot baths. Even ancient Greek athletes used strigiles -- specialized, spoon-like skin scrapers -- to remove the grime of exertion and encourage circulation. Thankfully this now-popular spa technique has been made much easier with the invention of long handled brushes you can conveniently use in a 5-minute routine for smoother, softer skin.
How Does it Work?
Dry brushing stimulates the body’s circulation and lymphatic systems. Dry brushing can even help with bloating because massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins. This removal of excess water and toxins can help improve the appearance of cellulite.
Dry body brushing also helps shed dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs and the appearance of stretch marks.
Stiffer is better! Soft brushes simply won't exfoliate the skin the way is necessary to see results. You'll also want to get a brush made with natural, not synthetic, bristles. However, being a responsible consumer can be tricky with body brushes! Most are made with boar (pig) bristles, which runs counter to the desire of many of cruelty-free, eco-friendly and vegan or plant-based products. Good news, though! Plant bristle brushes are available, and are usually made from coconut husks or from the agave plant (commonly called Sisal bristles). These also provide the best exfoliation and stimulation for your skin. They're also the longest lasting. You can find them at your local health store, or conveniently on Amazon.
Begin at the ankles and brush upward using light but firm strokes. You always want to brush toward the heart because that is the way the lymph flows naturally. After you finish your legs, brush your stomach, arms, and shoulders. Your skin may be a little pink afterward, but it shouldn’t hurt – if it does, you need to lay off the pressure! Corbin advises to avoid sensitive areas such as open cuts, abrasions and any patches of eczema or psoriasis.
After dry brushing, drink a glass of hot water and lemon to help jumpstart your digestive system. It's also a great time to moisturize with your favorite lotion or body oil as the skin's pores are more open after brushing.