A little-known secret for skin beauty and well-being is being rediscovered today, and it’s called Skin Brushing. Dry Skin Brushing (also known as Body Brushing) is a centuries-old practice that is very simple and powerful. A number of supermodels, celebrity actresses, spa owners and editors are in love with it and more are learning about it every day.
I came across about it some years ago when studying Ayurvedic information, and fell in love with the way it made my skin feel and glow. I also started to look forward to the happy and energetic feelings of well-being it gave me each morning!
What Exactly Is Skin Brushing, Anyhow?
It’s simply brushing your absolutely dry skin (entire body except your face) in a specific motion to support skin renewal; to stimulate the lymphatic system (which in turn helps the immune, nervous and digestive systems); to aid in the removal of toxins; to exfoliate; and to give you a sense of well-being.
Dry brushing is one of the easiest techniques you can add to your daily regime (5 to 10 minutes daily) for the most impact. Although many of us are very busy and over-extended, just know that every minute counts. It is often hard to add something new to your schedule, especially if it is complicated or the benefits aren’t all that obvious. But Skin Brushing doesn’t fall into this category! It is simple and fast to do (less than 10 minutes daily) and its benefits are overwhelming.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Your Skin
Skin is fascinating. It is forever shedding, renewing and regenerating itself as our largest body organ. Skin is also the largest organ of elimination and responsible for ridding our bodies of about one-third of toxins daily. Our skin is semi-permeable, and the pores should be kept clear for healthy functioning. As we age, we are less able to throw off those dead cells and toxins, and this can make skin look dull and create a burden on the body and other organs. Healthy exfoliation at all ages helps to optimize skin, allowing it to glow and function well.
The fact that younger models are in love with Skin Brushing shows it is not just an anti-aging practice. Skin Brushing is your new secret strategy for better skin.
But Benefits are Not Just for the Skin!
In addition to optimizing skin, there are additional benefits to Skin Brushing that are quite powerful.
• Skin Brushing Helps Boost Blood Circulation. This helps deliver important nutrients through the body and gives our circulatory system a nice assist.
• Skin Brushing Aids the Lymphatic System. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no natural pump. It relies on movement, exercise, massage or Skin Brushing to move the toxins and lymph along to drain. Skin Brushing aids the lymphatic system, which helps support a strong immune system.
• Skin Brushing Can Reduce Cellulite – or Keep it Away. Skin Brushing helps break down the accumulated toxins of cellulite and improve circulation to affected areas. It really helps!
• Skin Brushing is Invigorating and a Mood Enhancer. It is a clear aid in stress management. You gain a great sense of well-being after brushing.
A Little History
Skin Brushing and similar forms of exfoliation have been practiced for thousands of years by ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks and Romans, Indian Ayurvedics, the Japanese and several Native American Indian tribes. Christopher Lepisto, N.D., wrote that Hippocrates demonstrated skin brushing in Greece at the medical school, explaining to brush towards the heart for blood flow, exfoliation and better health.
Athletes in ancient Greece used skin scrapers to improve their circulation and remove toxins from the skin after competitions. Greek citizens – and later Romans who loved their communal baths – would sometimes brush or scrape their skin in preparation for bathing. For centuries the Japanese also used Skin Brushing to ready themselves for traditional hot baths.
Skin Brushing was lost in the medieval ages (cleansing, bathing and attention to the “sinful” body took a nose dive in those centuries.) Fast forward to the 19th Brushing resurfaced in North America. In 1896, an American longevity researcher named F.O. Havens, wrote a book “The Possibility of Living 200 Years” and he writes of three centenarians who Skin Brushed each day. He wrote: “The following directions are adapted to nearly all conditions of life, and if persisted in, will be found sufficient to keep the skin in perfect condition: Before retiring, rub the body vigorously with skin brush, hair glove or rough towel until the blood is brought to the surface.”
Today, models and actresses rave about it. In fact, many celebrities have recently been quoted in magazines talking about the benefits, including: Salma Hayek, Miranda Kerr, Stacey Keibler, and Molly Sims. More spas and wellness centers are adding it every month. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time!
Miranda Kerr says: “You can do it before or after a shower, I like to do it after the shower. It makes your skin super smooth.”
How to Skin Brush
First, use a brush with natural bristles only – never use synthetic bristles which can damage skin. The bristles should be firm enough to do the job and not too soft. (Our favorite is Sublime Beauty® brush, but there are all types and price ranges available.) Most people like to dry brush every morning (though it’s perfectly fine at night or anytime!) You may want to stand in your shower or tub so that dry cells can be washed down the drain. While there are some varying techniques and detox systems with no “hard and fast rules”, the typical technique we suggest is:
1) ALWAYS brush on absolutely dry skin (before moisturizing).
2) ALWAYS brush towards the heart. This is for proper aid to the circulatory system and lymphatic system.
3) Brush with medium length strokes that are firm but not so hard that it hurts. Brushing should feel good! If you brush too lightly, it will be ineffectual. If you have sensitive skin, you may see a little blush after your first brushings.
4) Typically start at your feet and work your way up, brushing everywhere except the face.
5) You can brush your body in about 5 minutes, but some like to take longer – that is OK.
6) DON’T brush over open sores, of course!
7) DON’T share your Skin Brush with others. This can cause spreading of infections or disease.
8) Drink a full glass of water after brushing (or after your shower), and apply a natural body oil or cream to hydrate and nourish.
We suggest starting with lighter strokes (especially if you have sensitive skin) but work up to nice firm strokes. However, it should NEVER hurt. Spend a little extra time on thicker areas (think elbows, heels) and lymph-node rich areas (think inner thighs and armpits).
Here’s a simple video tutorial:
How-To: Face Brushing
The skin on the face is more delicate and requires a slightly different technique. What are some differences between brushing the face and the body?
- Face Brushing is done less often than Body Brushing. Dry, aging and normal skin can benefit from 1-2 face brushings per week, while oily skin can benefit from 3 brushings per week. You should NOT dry brush on open sores, cuts or open blemishes (but blackheads & whiteheads OK).
- Use lighter strokes than Body Brushing. Because the facial skin is more delicate, more exposed and thinner, especially under and around the eyes, you should proceed with a very light touch. Never pull or stretch at skin, either.
- The tool is smaller. The Face Brush should have natural bristles but the tool is smaller and finer for the face.
- Direction of strokes. With Body Brushing, we always brush towards the heart in firm strokes that should feel invigorating. But brushing the face is different. Sublime Beauty® offers a downloadable guide with illustrations.
Caveat: Do NOT use your brush in combination with a peel or manual exfoliate – it will be too harsh for skin. We personally recommend that you wait at least a week after doing any sort of chemical peel to be safe.
Keep Up Skin Brushing on Your Vacation for Strong Immune System
When you travel, your diet and schedule may be off, you may be in a new climate, you may not drink enough water, and you may be exposed to new germs and bacteria – a plane ride alone can do this! Keep up your brushing routine while away to help support your lymphatic system!
Fast, effective, inexpensive and simple – what’s not to love about healthy Skin Brushing? It’s is as important as brushing your teeth and hair. Are you Skin Brushing yet?