Dry body brushing – the act of brushing your skin with a (preferably natural) bristle brush – definitely has an abundantly positive and blossoming reputation. Associated with claims of increasing detoxification and circulation as well as improving the appearance of the skin and healing skin conditions like cellulite, it has been touted as a miracle beauty superheroine; capable of doing and healing it all, in under five-minutes a day.
But … are the claims real? Or is dry body brushing just another health fad?
We investigated the potential health benefits of dry body brushing and gave this ancient beauty treatment a whirl.
The bad news about dry body brushing
Let’s start with the not-so-fabulous news. Unfortunately in our dry body brushing quest, we were unable to find any clinical studies or research on the benefits of dry body brushing on a regular basis. Most of the information available is largely anecdotal which, in itself, is not a bad thing, but does make it hard to verify the claims.
Additionally, it appears in some situations that dry body brushing may do more harm than good. In an article with TIME Magazine, Dr. Tina Alster, director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and a clinical professor at Georgetown University, advised that using a brush that was too rough, or brushing too vigorously and/or too frequently may cause ‘micro-cuts’ to appear in the skin.
Dr. Marc Glashofer, another expert that appeared in the article, suggested that these micro-cuts could lead to irritation and infection and advised that anybody with eczema or dry skin should avoid dry body brushing.
And as for those miracle skin claims, across the board, the experts we came across in our research all seemed to agree that dry body brushing would not eliminate cellulite.
In an article with Greatist, Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Alphaeon physician, explains that our while our skin does create toxins, our circulatory system does not need any support in eliminating them from the body and in that respect, dry body brushing is unnecessary.
- Despite rich anecdotal claims, the benefits of dry body brushing are not yet clinically proven.
- Dry body brushing (with a tough brush, or by brushing too vigorously or frequently) may cause micro-tears in the skin, which can lead to infection and irritation.
- Dry body brushing is not believed to help eliminate cellulite.
- Our circulatory system does not require the support of dry body brushing to eliminate toxins from the body.
The good news about dry body brushing
Now let’s look at the good stuff.
Despite the lack of clinical studies and research, the anecdotal evidence is quite impressive. Those that have tried dry body brushing love it and swear by it, claiming that it improved the texture and appearance of their skin, helped to flush out toxins and stimulate their lymphatic system.
The experts agreed that in a similar way to massage, dry body brushing does increase blood circulation and flow, giving your skin a youthful and flushed appearance. (This result does fade though, and you can get the same results from simply massaging your skin with your hands.)
It is also universally accepted to aid in skin exfoliation, which has been connected to improved skin texture and appearance.
And something else the experts seemed to agree on: dry body brushing (provided it’s done in the right way) doesn’t seem to do any harm. It can be both a pleasurable and enjoyable experience that infuses your day with mindfulness and self-care.
In short: a quick and easy way to feel happy + well each day!
So, in summary:
- The anecdotal evidence for dry body brushing is both strong and ever-increasing.
- Dry body brushing increases blood circulation and flow.
- Dry body brushing can give your skin a temporary youthful glow.
- Dry body brushing can exfoliate your skin, sloughing off old skin cells and aiding in skin renewal.
- Dry body brushing may increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Our experience with dry body brushing
Over the last month, our happy editor, Cass, has been eagerly dry body brushing at least three times per week. Here is her experience:
“I’ve been dry body brushing on and off for years, but used the last month to ‘properly’ give it a whirl and see if I could see any changes to my skin. I used Aromatherapy Associates Polishing Body Brush (purchased through Adore Beauty, if you’re in Australia) and aimed for three times a week, but for the first two weeks was doing it once a day.
It’s winter here in Australia and I definitely noticed that dry body brushing regularly helped me stave off dry, flaky skin (especially on my legs).
I also noticed an improvement in some bumps on the top of my arms and for at least half an hour after body brushing, my skin was rosy, plump and glowing.
But the biggest thing for me was how good I felt afterwards! My skin tingled pleasantly and I could feel that my circulation had improved.
No, dry body brushing didn’t transform me into a cellulite-less Miranda Kerr doppelgänger (as I’d hoped), but I will definitely continue brushing regularly. It just feels so darn good! And I love that it’s helping me exfoliate as well as stimulating my circulation and blood flow.”
How to dry body brush
If you’re keen to try dry body brushing for yourself, here are some tips for how you can get started:
- Use a natural bristle brush.
- Do not brush too vigorously and always use gentle, sweeping movements.
- To avoid micro-tears, do not go over the same area more than a few times.
- Always sweep in the direction of your heart.
- Start at your feet and work your way up.
- Take extra care with any sensitive areas.
We’d love to hear your experience with dry body brushing! Drop us a comment to let us know whether you’ve tried it – and if so – what you think.
Latest posts by Editorial Team (see all)
- Top tips for training with your dog - September 16, 2016
- How to talk yourself out of a bad mood - August 23, 2016
- Nine ways to incorporate more movement into your day - August 20, 2016