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Dry brushing is a quick and easy way to spend a few minutes pampering your body before a bath or shower. Although your skin is the largest organ in your body, it is often neglected outside of a quick wash and moisturizing. Dry brushing takes skincare to a whole new level, in just minutes a day.

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Why You Want to Dry Brush

Dry brushing helps remove dead skin and stimulates circulation to help your skin glow. Proponents also credit it with improving the function of the lymphatic system, which can reduce bloating. Although there is no scientific evidence that dry brushing decreases cellulite, it helps improve skin's appearance because improved circulation decreases inflammation. Many people also experience increased energy.

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About Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is a popular spa treatment that helps reduce toxins in the body and is easy to do at home. It's been practiced around the globe for centuries, with cultures including Native Americans and the Greeks using the method to remove dead skin. The ancient Ayurvedic dry brushing technique still used in spas and retreats today is known as Garshana.

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The Tools for the Job

There are a variety of exfoliating brushes for purchase, including softer, specialty ones for the face. Brushes are usually wooden with a solid head and may have a removable handle. The bristles vary in softness. Exfoliating gloves are also available; Garshana is typically performed using raw silk gloves. Whether to use a glove or a brush with a handle is a personal choice, but the latter is helpful for hard to reach areas like the back.

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Dry Brushing Frequency

How often you dry brush is a personal choice. Start out less frequently, as the newly exposed skin is likely to be tender after the first few times. People perform the technique anywhere from twice a day to once a week or less. Be sure to practice the entire ritual, including moisturizing, for the best results.

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Dry Brushing Techniques

Many people like to dry brush before showering or bathing, although it can be done anytime the skin is dry. Since dry brushing can leave you energized, mornings are a more popular time than evenings.

  • A few drops of oil can be added to the brush if desired.
  • Gently brush the skin on the arms, legs, and torso toward the heart.
  • Use short strokes.
  • Start at the feet and work your way up to the chest, and from the head down to the chest.
  • Use a softer brush on the face and neck and any other more sensitive locations.
  • Use circular clockwise motions on the chest and stomach.
  • The process usually takes about five minutes.
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Dry Brushing Tips

Dry brushing should be done very gently, without scratching the skin. Avoid areas with broken skin, burns, or acne. You will notice that your skin seems parched after brushing, which should remind you to slather on moisturizer. Your skin might soak up more than usual for the first couple of weeks.

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Create a Spa-Like Experience

Take time to pamper yourself occasionally when dry brushing. Herbal oils are popular additions to moisturizers. A mud mask afterward will help draw impurities out of the skin. Adding honey to a follow-up bath helps soften the skin, and using half a lemon dipped in coarse salt as an exfoliant will soften heels and elbows. Finish it all off with a steam or dry sauna, or alternate cold and hot-as-you-can-stand water for a true Garshana experience following exfoliation.

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What Happens When You Dry Brush

Dry brushing is a type of exfoliation. Be cautious to not over-exfoliate, which can lead to skin irritation, rashes, and breakouts. Consider an exfoliant on the face or a specialty facial brush; it is best not to use the coarser bristles used on the body. The process is removing dead skin cells, preventing buildups that can lead to flaky skin and other problems.

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Dry Brushing Health Claims

The logic behind dry brushing states the lymphatic system works in conjunction with the circulatory system, naturally detoxifying the body by removing toxins and improving immune function. Most traditional Western doctors do not support the health claims associated with dry brushing, while followers of Ayurveda and homeopathic practitioners recommend a daily routine. As long as you are gentle with the strokes and avoid areas with broken skin, there do not appear to be dangers to dry brushing. If your skin breaks out, stop immediately.

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Should You Try Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing provides visible results, and spending a few minutes practicing an invigorating morning massage is a great option for self-care. Space the first few sessions a couple of days apart and invest in extra moisturizer. After a few weeks, you will know whether dry brushing is a ritual you want to add to your daily routine.

invigorating dry brushing PredragImages / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.