Dry Brushing: For Your Skin

Charleen Jenkins, CMA

If you have ever spent time in a spa, you have probably seen “dry brushing” offered as a service on the menu. Dry brushing may not be widely known yet; however, with the benefits it reaps the practice should be on the rise to popularity soon. You don’t need to go to a spa to have this treatment, because it can be done in the comfort of your own home. The most notable benefits of dry brushing are:

  1. Lymphatic system – claims say that regular dry brushing will help to stimulate the normal lymphatic flow, which helps the body to naturally detoxify. Approximately one third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin, and dry brushing can help in removal of these toxins.
  2. Exfoliator – dead skin cells sit on the surface most of the time and when dry brushed, the dead skin is loosened and removed. This allows for new skin growth, which is naturally softer.
  3. Cleanses pores – dry brushing also clears impurities like oil, dirt, and residue from the pores in the body. This is especially beneficial for the face, because it could help to keep your pores clean and clear, all while making your skin smoother.
  4. Cellulite – based on claims from regular dry brushers, but lacking in research, people say that it has helped reduce the appearance of their cellulite.
  5. Energy Boost – this benefit may only be a theory, but it could be due to the increased circulation in the body. So, with that being said, this practice is probably best to do in the mornings.


This practice would be a perfect way to start off the New Year by figuratively, and literally, shedding the old skin to welcome new growth. If you are curious to test the theories at hand, the first step is to purchase a brush, specifically designed for the skin. You should select the type of bristles depending on how sensitive your skin is. You may start with softer bristles and eventually transition into firm bristles after doing a daily treatment for about a month. The best brush to choose should have natural, non-synthetic bristles and a long handle to reach the entire back.


How to Dry Brush:

Dry brushing can be done daily, preferably before taking a shower. It is best to do this either in the shower or on a tiled surface, so cleaning the fallen skin cells will be easier. When you first begin use a gentle brush stroke with soft pressure, over time you can work up to more pressure.

  1. Start at the bottoms of the feet and gradually make your way up the legs in long, smooth strokes. To improve lymphatic flow, brush toward the center of the body. Brush each section about 5 to 10 times.
  2. Repeat the same process with the arms – brushing the palms of each hand and then moving up the arms. Brush each section about 5 to 10 times.
  3. Brush the stomach area and armpits in a circular clockwise motion.
  4. Brush the back last and if brushing the face, use a different, more delicate brush.
  5. Take a shower to wash off all the dead skin cells that remain on your body. Use gentle cleansers in the shower, such as lemongrass and bergamot, which can nourish your body. When drying, do not rub towel over skin, pat dry and then apply natural moisturizing oil, like coconut oil.

Remember not to press too hard on the skin. Your skin should never be red or feel raw after brushing; it might be slightly pink though. Use less pressure if you notice that it is starting to hurt in certain sensitive areas. Choosing essential oils for the after shower care is important as they will be absorbed into your body. A few options that would be best are lavender, peppermint oil, or rosemary for optimal renewal. Apply your choice of essential oils (usually diluted with a carrier oil) to the bottoms of the feet for the best absorption. When dry brushing on a regular basis; wash the brush every other week to remove the dead skin cells. Replacing the brush every 6 months is also recommended, because the bristles will eventually become dull.

The bottom line is, gently brushing the skin does have exfoliating benefits and does help to stimulate the lymphatic system to rid the body of toxins. You may have to find what works for you by doing more research and testing the theories for yourself. It doesn’t hurt to try it!

Disclaimer: Dermatologists do not consider this to be a legitimate medical treatment because there is not sufficient evidence or research on the practice or the benefits. Dry brushing is not meant to be considered a medical treatment. Use caution when applying essential oils to the skin as some can be irritating to sensitive skin.