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Brushing up on Body Brushing

Many of us have heard of dry brushing, but do we really know what the benefits are and why we should buff up on it?

Dry brushing holds many a bold claim, such as: stimulating lymph flow which helps to reduce cellulite, buffing away dead skin, increasing blood circulation which tightens the skin, opening up and clearing pores, and supporting muscle tone to name but a few. But what actually is it? And how does this simple method support all of these bold claims?

The method of dry brushing is exactly how it sounds; you use a dry brush and massage it over your skin.

For optimum brushing procedure here are a few top tips:

  1. For best dry brushing results, ensure your brush is actually dry! The best time to squeeze in a dry brush is just before you turn the water on in the shower. Just take a few moments to buff your skin before continuing with your usual cleansing regime.
  2. Go from toe to top. Start at your feet and work your way up your body one leg at a time. Then move on to your stomach, brushing in a circular anti-clockwise motion and finally over your chest and arms. It’s important to brush towards your heart, to encourage lymph drainage.
  3. Vigorous brushing is not necessary. The aim is to encourage the breakdown of fatty deposits which build up and create a dimpled appearance on the skin, and to gently exfoliate, but there is no need to be over zealous. The aim is not to irritate the skin so if redness occurs, calm down and do not brush on sensitive areas or broken skin.

Cellulite explored: Can dry brushing really eliminate it?

Well, sadly, as with all body issues there is no quick fix for cellulite, and a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is the best way to keep cellulite at bay. However, dry brushing can help to reduce signs of dimpled skin and is a great way to support a healthy lifestyle or get swimsuit ready in a hurry. How? Dry brushing increases circulation which in turn causes vasodilation- the widening of blood vessels. This causes a plumping of the skin, in turn reducing the appearance of the dimpled orange-peel effect.

Dead Skin cells examined: how does it actually help?

Our bodies are very clever entities and our skin can shed dead cells and renew itself. However, as we age this natural process slows down and our skin becomes thicker and more stubborn to shed. This is the time to pick up the brush and buff away the excess surface level dead skin cells. However, the same rules as exfoliation apply. By that I mean that excessive brushing will actually cause more harm than good. So approach it in the same way you would exfoliation, 1-2 times per week is all that is required.

Spot on: how dry brushing combats body spots

Dry brushing can also be highly beneficial in helping to remove acne or spots on the skin. Spots can easily form on your body in the same way that they form on your face. They come about as a result of too much sebum production combined with a build-up of excess dry skin. The combination of the two can get trapped in our pores creating blackheads or pimples. The most common areas where spots form on the body are on the back, chest and shoulders. Dry brushing unclogs the pores helping to minimise the bacteria build-up which leads to breakouts. However, steer clear of angry or inflamed blemished as dry brushing these will only make them worse.

Mind over matter: Is it worth the hype?

At the end of the day we only stick to doing something if it makes us feel good. Although dry brushing is definitely a beneficial process, as to whether all of the bold claims it has associated with it can be met is another matter. Some of the claims may be more down to the placebo effect, but if it makes you feel good what do you have to lose? Dry brushing is after all a form of massage and therefore helps to aid relaxation and feels great. The best way to enjoy the benefits of body brushing are to use a brush which has natural fibre bristles as they are both better for the environment, and will gently massage without scratching the skin.