The Benefits of Dry Brushing and How To Do It

There are countless home remedies and beauty treatments that promise to make your skin softer, reduce wrinkles, prevent aging and help you glow! There are also thousands of different face masks, creams, serums, and cleansers that attempt to do the same. Though some deliver, the benefits are only skin deep. They won’t improve your health or improve circulation. 



Sleep is an exception, as it helps you both look and feel better. When you consistently get 8 hours a night on your buckwheat pillow and a bamboo pillowcase, you can improve the look of skin while simultaneously boosting mental and physical health. If this is news to you, read our blog on how sleep can affect aging



In addition to sleep, dry brushing can improve both the appearance of your skin and your health. Dry brushing originated in Ayurvedic medicine and continues to be used centuries later. In Ayurvedic medicine, dry brushing is known as “Garshana” and is a powerful detox method. It involves rubbing the skin with a coarse bristle brush in a specific direction. In doing so, the individual will receive several benefits such as:


Improves lymphatic system and the removal of toxins from the body



lymphatic system diagram


Your body’s lymphatic system helps you fight off infections. This is done when fluids are filtered through the lymph nodes. But, when there is too much to be filtered, they can become clogged and not as effective. So, if you have accumulated a significant amount of toxins in your body, your lymph nodes can become swollen. This often happens when we are sick with a cold. 


Dry brushing lends your lymph nodes a hand and helps release the toxins through sweat. When you dry brush, the bristles stimulate the pores, opening them up. This makes it easier for your body to sweat out toxins in the lymphatic system.


Exfoliates the skin 



exfoliate skin diagram


One of the most profound benefits of dry brushing is exfoliation. The bristles are natural fiber and very coarse, so when rubbed over the skin with pressure, it can remove dead and dry skin.  


When you remove the dead skin, your skin can really glow. It helps draw out impurities, unclog pores, and revitalize skin. It also makes skin products like creams and serums more effective as they can better penetrate the layers of the skin. Finally, for those who use make-up or self-tanning lotions, it can make the application much more smooth and give you a flawless look. 

Can help you relax


can help you relax


Dry brushing can also improve mental health! The practice can have the same effect as a massage, making you feel much more relaxed. Dry brush in a dark space with music and candles to enhance the relaxing benefits. It can feel like a spa experience at home! 


Improves circulation



human circulation system diagram


The act of dry brushing also increases blood circulation. This contributes to its detoxifying benefits. Good blood circulation is critical for optimal health. It allows oxygen to flow through your body, reaching every organ. Further, when blood circulation increases, your heart is healthier, your brain is sharper, and wounds heal faster. 


Reduces cellulite


reduce cellulite

Cellulite is a condition that causes a rippled appearance in the skin. Although the cause is not fully known, it affects more women than men. Like massage, dry brushing is said to reduce the appearance of these ripples, although there isn’t a great deal of scientific evidence to back this up. According to Dr. Carolyn Jacobs, a board-certified dermatologist, dry brushing is not effective because it is due to the collagen and fat bands.    


Now that you know all the benefits of dry brushing, you are probably wondering how to do it! It is relatively simple to do yourself, but you need to be mindful of the pressure. The first step in dry brushing is getting the right brush. Look for a long handle with a natural fiber brush. These brushes aren’t expensive, usually costing around $10 and found at health stores or online. 


dry brush


According to Ayurvedic medicine, you should begin at your feet and work your way up. Start at your feet, brushing in wide, circular, clockwise motions. The pressure should be relatively light but enough to remove dry skin. In areas where the skin is thinner, go lighter and increase pressure for thicker skin like the bottom of your feet. When you reach your arms, brush towards your armpits. 


You should be extra sensitive around areas where your skin is irritated or broken. For example, avoid any rashes, wounds, or cuts. You should also not dry brush your skin if you have psoriasis, poison ivy, or poison oak. 


As the name suggests, this is done on dry skin. After you finish dry brushing your entire body, get into a cool shower. The coolness further enhances the benefits and removes the remaining dead skin you sloughed off. Following your shower, apply a moisturizing lotion or natural oil like coconut or olive oil. 


cold shower


It is imperative you use a clean brush. To keep your brush clean, wash your brush after every use and leave it in a dry, bright place so it can dry completely. If you don’t, mildew can grow in the brush, and it won’t smell good nor be good for your skin! Also, avoid sharing your brush with anyone, as this can increase your risk for infection. If you go to a spa or salon for the treatment, it is a good idea to ask about their disinfecting procedures, as well.  


Though there is little risk involved with dry brushing, those with sensitive skin or pre-existing skin conditions should be cautious. For example, if you have open, raw, or inflamed skin from conditions such as psoriasis or eczema you should not dry brush the inflamed area. This could introduce bacteria to the site and cause infection. 


By brushing too hard, you could also cause more harm than good. For example, you could rub the skin raw or cause redness. As previously mentioned, you should be extra careful and use light pressure on areas where the skin is thinner. Your face can benefit from dry brushing, but it must be done right! 


You can purchase dry brushes specifically for your face. These are often slightly less coarse and have a smaller head and handle. According to beauty expert Tracey Woodward, these facial dry brushes are like mini body brushes. You should use them on dry skin after cleansing.  


dry brush for face

To dry brush your face, first cleanse as you normally would. Next, pat your skin dry and begin using your facial dry brush. Work in small, circular motion moving upwards and outwards. 


According to Woodward, it is common for your skin to become a little flushed and red. This is happening because blood is coming to the surface, which helps create those skin-enhancing benefits. After you have finished, follow up with a moisturizer or serum. 


Like your body, dry brushing your face can also stimulate lymphatic draining. Most skin types can benefit from doing this at least once a week. If you feel that your skin is extra dry, peeling, or tight, it may not be suitable for your skin type. You don’t want to damage your skin's protective barrier, so start slow and see how your skin responds. 


How often you dry brush depends on your skin and how you respond. Additionally, some areas of your body may benefit from frequent dry brushing sessions than others.  In many cases, you can dry brush twice daily.


To see the results and the benefits listed here, you should make it part of your routine. As you continue to dry brush, your circulation will improve, your skin will become more radiant, and you may help remove toxins from your body. 



If dry brushing is going to make its way into your daily routine, you should also ensure you are drinking enough water. When you are sufficiently hydrated, you will have enough fluids to help remove the waste from your body. 


Margo Marrone, the owner of Organic Pharmacy in New York City, told Goop that dry brushing is “invaluable in helping with so many issues, but especially detox.” Some people may choose to increase the frequency of their dry brushing efforts if on a dietary detox as well, such as a juice cleanse. However, more permanent benefits can be noticed when it is done often. 


Glowing, radiant skin doesn’t come in a jar. Healthy habits like drinking enough water, sleeping 8 hours on a buckwheat pillow, and dry brushing once a day can naturally improve the quality and look of your skin. These benefits are long-lasting, making skin look good today and preventing the visible effects of aging down the road. 


Some results will be seen after just one session but will be even more noticeable with time. So if you want to feel and look better, invest in a dry brush and spend some time brushing your skin before you hop in the shower.


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