Quick – what’s the best thing that you can do for your skin on a daily basis? Ok… maybe there isn’t really 1 single answer to that question. There’s lots of skin care options out there, that’s for sure. But I’m super excited to tell you about one of my favourites… dry brushing!
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I love to take care of my skin (I mean, all the homemade face mask options here at mshealthesteem.com are probably a dead give-away, right?) But the benefits of dry brushing go so much much further than simple self care. It packs a serious punch in a few departments, including exfoliation, massage and (my personal favourite) self love and body positivity. How many other skin care regimes can brag that they pack a serious punch in the body love department?
Plus, dry brushing is simple to do (and the brush isn’t overly expensive or hard to find.) It’s basically all win! Your skin does so much for you every single day, so why not love it back with a little dry brushing?
Let’s dive into the skin care and self love benefits of dry brushing (they are so awesome!) And, of course, talk about how you can get started. Check it out:
Why Should We Do Our Best to Care for Our Skin?
Every warrior needs their sword and shield, and you, gorgeous, are no different. Your skin is your protector, shielding your body from harm and playing an important role in your innate immune system. And looking damn fine while it’s at it, might I add!
The largest organ, your skin contains approximately 11 miles (seriously, miles) of blood vessels and countless nerve endings. This amazing organ is often in a state of regeneration; you’re shedding 30 000 to 40 000 skin cells per minute right now, amounting to about 9 lbs pounds per year! Gross? Maybe… but also pretty freaking cool! (source)
But unfortunately we aren’t often overly helpful in our skin’s mission to protect us.
I’ve shared this stat before, but it’s so jarring I’m sharing it again. According to the EWG “The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average… 12.2 million are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.”
And if that sounds like a bunch of silly, meaningless stats, it’s really important to remember that some of what we place on our skin can actually passes through and be absorbed into our bloodstream. Think about things like nicotine and birth control patches; those products literally medicate our bodies through our skin.
It’s an important reminder that what we put on our skin and how we treat it is incredibly important. Because some of the products you use may make their way in their too. (source)
So, clearly, being mindful of what you put on your skin is huge way to help that gorgeous organ while it works away. But how you treat your skin is general is a big deal and helps a tons! And an easy way to make a big impact is with dry brushing!
This magnificent act of self care and self love can make a big difference. Let’s take a look look at some of the benefits of dry brushing!
The Super Awesome Benefits of Dry Brushing
(Me and my Dry Brush BFF <3)
1. The Ultimate Way to Exfoliate
Physically, dry brushing is one of the best way to exfoliate. Your dry brush will loosens up all of those dead skin cells, leaving you feeling lovely and soft. And the act of dry brushing feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Honestly, it’s indescribable. It’s the one time I like to pretend I have mad massage skills (I don’t!)
But why does exfoliating even matter?
Gently brushing away your dead skin cells has a few awesome benefits. You’re looking at goodness like:
- Preventing your pores from clogging
- Leaving your skin feeling soft and clean
- Reducing and preventing blackheads and pimples
- Causing your pores to appear smaller (you can’t actually change their size – pores simply look larger when they’re all clogged up)
But it’s about more than just looks!
Remember how I mentioned that your skin is shedding about 30 000 to 40 000 skin cells per minute? That’s because it’s in a near-constant state of renewal. And exfoliating helps to speed that awesome process up, creating smoother, healthier skin cells.
Super bonus – this helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration too. Boom! Super easy, super awesome! Are you as psyched as I am? (source)
One of the other skin care benefits of dry brushing is that it may reduce the appearance of cellulite. But it’s important to know that it won’t make it go away. Cellulite is completely natural and occurs in about 90% of women. You aren’t at all abnormal if you have it (I do ;))
In my opinion, self love is the best treatment option for cellulite <3. I know loving it is easier said than done. But don’t worry – we’re going to talk about a way to get started in a minute (and I have a whole article on self love and cellulite for you too if you need it).
2. It’s a Gentle Massage
I wasn’t lying when I said that one of the benefits of dry brushing is that it feels awesome! And there’s a reason for that – it acts as a form of gentle self-massage! In fact, some spas even sell dry brushes so you can get your at home massage on. Because a self-massage (whether it be through a dry brush, a foam roller or your own awesome hands) is beneficial too. (source 1, source 2, source 3)
- May improve immune function
- Lowers physical and emotional pain (including stress reduction)
- Improves sleep
- Reduces inflammation
- Encourages lymphatic drainage
- Lessens muscle soreness after a workout
If the idea that self-massage can reduce pain sounds kind of bonkers (I certainly thought so), I’ve got some grade A knowledge for ya! Let’s look a little deeper….
According to Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami:
“Pressure receptors under the skin, when stimulated, increase vagal activity… this is another way pain might be alleviated by massage.” (source)
The vagus nerve is an important part of our nervous system. It plays an important role in autonomic functions like our heart rate, breathing and digestion (kind of a big deal!) And when you increase that awesome vagal activity you end up with a calming effect (kind of like what you get when you meditate). Which explains that awesome stress relief.
And if it seems silly that self-massage could continue to possibly have that effect, think about this: What’s one of the first thing you do when you smack your knee or hit that funny bone. If you’re like me you swear like a sailor (sorry dad!) And then you rub the hurt away. Or should I say massage the hurt away!
Tiffany Field calls this the “gate theory” of pain, a theory that your brain is not capable for fully registering pain when you’re also activating touch receptors. And you know what else activates touch receptors? Self-massage baby! Dry brushing included. (source)
3. Self Love and Body Positivity
Self-massage and exfoliation are cool, sure… but I’ve saved the best for last. The self love and body positivity benefits of dry brushing are my absolute favourites!
I mean, how often do you hang out in your birthday suit? How often to you pay attention to your gorgeous body as a whole? Or even focus on key areas with kindness, not insults? Many of us have a bad habit of talking down to our beautiful bodies when we appreciate them in their full glory. And dry brushing is the perfect opportunity to work against that and silence your inner mean girl.
In order to make the most of dry brushing (and spoil all of your gorgeous skin) you gotta get naked. The act of dry brushing really forces you to get in touch with your beautiful body and focus on areas we often hate on, like our tummies, thighs and booties. It’s the perfect opportunity to pay special attention to those areas and appreciate them.
I love to combine this awesome act of self care and self love with positive affirmations.
While you’re dry brushing areas you normally hate on try to speak to yourself with kindness. Use phrases like “I am beautiful”, “I love and honour my body”, “I’m grateful for these gorgeous thighs that grant me the strength to move”, “I accept myself as I am”.
New to positive affirmations? Here’s a free little download that can help:
Is it a little weird at first? Sure! But after a while all this kindness will feel normal, and that’s going to help to change your perceptions about yourself and your relationship with your amazing, life giving body. I mean, look at that beautiful biological masterpiece you call home? Daaaammmmnn, right?
How do you dry brush?
So we know the benefits, but how much effort is involved? Very little my friend! Woohoo! You can easily get your hands on a dry brush at almost any health food store and tons of drug stores. I personally prefer one with a long handle and removable brush, for areas you want to get up close and personal with. Like this one.
If you search around the internet you’ll find a ton of rules that claim that you can only tap into the benefits of dry brushing if you: start at your feet, brush in gentle, circular motions and move up towards the heart. But I’m not a stickler for rules. In my personal opinion – you do you hun! You’re still tapping into all of the goodness!
If back and forth motions feel good then follow that instinct! If circular is where it’s at, that’s awesome! Start at your feet, start at your hands, mix it up. This is you time, do it however you like. You know your body best.
Just make sure to keep it gentle; your skin is sensitive and pressing hard could irritate it. It’s best to avoid your face and other bits and pieces, if you catch my meaning, as they can be extra sensitive. And you can easily work it into your self care routine; I personally prefer to do this in the evening before my bath (yes, I’m an evening bather – breaking the mold!) But you can really make it happen whenever you want to.
Have you tried dry brushing before? Do you plan to start now? Which benefits of dry brushing are your favourites? Let me know your thoughts in the comments lovelies.
Health and love and happy skin,
Thought of the day: My body is beautiful and worthy of love.
Need Some Self-Love Inspiration? This Free Self-Love Activity Book Is Full of Awesome Ideas That Can Help! <3