It does not need much explanation, dry brushing is simply brushing your skin with a brush when it is dry. This practice traces its origins back to Indian Ayurveda, where people use it as a lymphatic drainage option. Though today people seem to find more benefits to keep this ancient knowledge alive.
How To Do It?
First, invest in a good quality brush. Focus on the bristles, the handles and everything in between..
I got this from a pharmacy, because it has massage beads as well as the bristles. In my opinion, the bristles are quite sharp, not as good as Sukin one that I have. Unfortunately Sukin brush does not have the beads, so I use this one at the gym after my workout.
Then, before your bath/ shower every day, gently brush from feet towards the heart; and when you do the hands, you brush them towards your chest. I do mine in a circular motion, but still swirling towards the trunk, When doing my stomach I would do a few more circles, as I really want my stubborn stomach fat to go away.
What Does Dry Brushing Do?
Aside from improving your lymphatic drainage, dry brushing is lauded to have other benefits. but the reasons why I started doing is not trying to improve the system. My lymph nodes are fine, because I am constantly moving around with a baby, and daily gym work.
The main reasons for me were exfoliating and getting rid of dirt from the pores, and hopefully scrub off enough layers of skin to fade some scars. Of course I could do wet brushing, which is brushing my skin under the shower or in the bath. But it’s Australia and it’s dry as a nun’s nasty here (yeah it’s a legit Aussie slang) so dry brushing saves water. After gym, while I am still hot and my pores are still open, that’s when I do mine.
Some would tell you that it is good to get rid of cellulite, the dimply appearance normally around the bums and thighs. Cellulite is a problem when you are sedentary and have a poor blood circulation, because the connective tissues between fat cells breakdown, then you will have that dimply look. It ain’t pretty, and you can’t treat it with diet and exercise.
Does it Work?
Not sure about the lymphatic drainage part, but I assume so because any form of movement will be good. Our lymph system has no pump, so it relies largely on muscle movement and external forces to push it to the liver. Hence all lymphatic massage is towards the liver/ body. Dry brushing is the same, but if you want to break up some extra fat stores, circular motion helps. No one said you cannot do it both ways, it does take time.
I will say that the pore cleaning definitely is true, I have seen icky stuff coming out of my skin. This was after few days of dry brushing after gym. That is probably a good thing, because I have been neglecting my skin for a tad too long. But exfoliation wise, there is some contention in that topic.
If dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate, then I would not be suffering from ingrown hairs. Right now they are still as annoying as ever. Plus, that scar has not really faded. It is a scar, from scraping myself somewhere one day. This picture is taken three weeks after my almost daily routine of dry brushing. Cellulite wise, it did somewhat make my thighs smoother, though I cannot see my bum very well…
So far there is no improvement, or nothing that makes you think it is worth the effort for me. Having said that, a lot of people do have good results. It might be just me, though I am slightly disappointed. Overall, I think it is a good habit to have, it is just a few minutes a day.
Dry Brushing vs Body Scrub: which one is better?
For me, dry brushing takes the cake. Main reason is because the brush would last you a lot longer than a body scrub. Another advantage is the brush is made usually from boar’s bristles, where as body scrubs come in all shape and formulation, a nightmare if you have sensitive skin. If you use it properly, and clean it often, I think you can use if indefinitely, at least more than six months right?
This AHA is a chemical body scrub, it has lactic acid that acts as exfoliate. For physical exfoliate, there is Body Shop’s sugar scrub, or Sukin’s purifying scrub. Okay maybe these scrubs have the extra moisturizing effect the brushes do not have *yet*…
The only problem with dry brushing is winter, it gets terribly cold and getting naked for five minutes can be a little hard. I do it at the gym, after a workout so my body remains a little warm while I quickly do a scrub. While that works for me, I know it is not for everyone. However, wet brushing will not give you that pore and skin cleansing benefits due to reduced friction. You will still get the cellulite and lymphatic advantage, that counts for something at least.
Of course, if you are not going for the brush and prefer scrubs, you can do a little massage as you go around your body. Lymphatic massage is a good companion to your body scrub routine, there are videos you can watch online. Whichever way you pick, it is the habit that promotes good health, because lymphatic system is tied closely to our health.