Are You Brushing Your Skin?

Dry Brushing for Skin

Skin brushing is a topic I touched on when I wrote about reducing cellulite naturally, but I’ve gotten several emails about it lately so I figured it deserved its own post.

If you’ve never heard of dry brushing for skin, you’re probably thinking “Why on earth would I want to brush my skin? I already have to brush my hair and my teeth.”

I shared this attitude for a while…

What is Dry Brushing?

The basic concept of dry brushing is using a coarse, dry brush to brush the skin in a particular pattern. Though I haven’t found any scientific research supporting it, there is a ton of first hand information from people who have tried it and swear by it.

Benefits of Dry Brushing

Supporters of dry brushing claim that it can stimulate the lymph system, help the body rid itself of toxins and increase circulation or energy.

I’m not completely sold on all of those benefits, but this definitely falls in the “can’t hurt” category and I have personally noticed that my skin is softer (and possibly firmer, though this is hard to measure) from dry brushing. It is very invigorating, and it can’t hurt, so it has become part of my routine.

Especially during pregnancy, I found that dry brushing seemed to help keep me from getting stretch marks and also seemed to help tighten skin after pregnancy.

How to Dry Brush Your Skin

  • Use a natural bristle brush.
  • Start on dry skin before bathing.
  • Start at the feet/ankles and brush in long circular movements up toward the heart.
  • Always brush to the center of the body.
  • On stomach and armpits use a circular clockwise brushing motion.
  • Brush softly at first and eventually work up to firmer pressure.
  • After dry brushing, shower (cool water or alternating cool and hot is best)
  • If needed, moisturize after showering. I use a homemade body butter.
  • Repeat daily or as needed.

Do you brush your skin? Have you noticed any differences? Share below!

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Reader Interactions

Reader Comments

  1. I’ve been dry brushing for a couple of years. It has definitely helped boost my immune system. I went from chronic sinusitis to very few sinus problems over the past year and I feel that dry brushing has been a contributing factor. Thanks for the link to that particular body brush. I’ll order one with my next Amazon order.

    • I just recently started dry brushing and find it very pleasant and relaxing however sometimes I don’t always remember to dry brush before I get into the shower and then I realize I forgot but it’s too late. I usually try to dry brush, if I remember, twice a week. Haven’t really noticed any improvements yet but I think it’s something that you can notice the benefits as time goes on.

  2. Thanks for the reminder. I used to dry brush – every day for a while – but it seems to have gone to the wayside for reasons I can’t figure out. I’ve got a healthy immune system anyways, but in the winter it’s the only thing that keeps my skin from getting so dry that I scratch my legs raw.

  3. I have been dry brushing my skin every day for the past year and have noticed profound improvements in my skin tone, and reductions in scarring and stretch marks. Also, I have a few large, intricate, and colorful tattoos and the dry brushing really keeps them bright and beautiful. If nothing else, the dry brushing feels fantastic.

  4. I have a question about dry brushing as I am new to doing it, is it important to dry brush before showering? Also does it make a difference when you do it, ie, I shower at night instead of the morning? Thanks in advance! By the way, I love your blog, I have learned so much!

  5. hi, i am wondering if there is a difference between dry brushing and wet brushing. i usually brush my skin in the shower, about once a week. i have noticed that my skin is smoother because of it. thanks!

    • Yes, dry brushing is meant for dry skin with a dry brush not in the shower.

      It helps to exfoliate the skin, lesson scarring / stretch marks and to stimulate the lymphatic system and your circulation. It can take a bit of getting used to as it will feel odd in the beginning but there are plenty of examples of people dry body brushing online. Many people see really soft smooth skin as a result also for people with KP dry body brushing their skin and applying coconut oil after the shower normally reduces / eliminates the problem. It also helps prevent in-grown hairs because the built of dead skin cells flake are not clogging the hair follicle. Hope this helps ~Chelsea

      • I bought the brush that Katy recommended; however, the brush is so firm that it literally hurts my skin to use it. It feels as though it’s scratching my body, not helping. Any suggestions?

        • Make sure that the pressure you use on your skin is equivalent to the pressure that you would feel if you put a nickle on our skin. You don’t have to press hard to get the benefits!

        • You can try a much softer natural bristle bath brush. I have one with a detachable handle I use for my back and a curved handled smaller one. I also have a stiff one which to me, now, feels good.

        • Hi there- I know I am coming late to this post but I’ve purchased a brush that makes one for normal skin or sensitive skin. The brand is Merban- handmade from Sri Lanka. The one for sensitive skin is significantly softer than the normal one!

        • Keratosis Pilaris. Keratosis pilaris is a common skin condition in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within hair follicles.

    • I brush in the shower too. I love it! I feel it removes all of the dead/dry skin. I moisturize before I dry off with baby oil and also moisturize after I am dried off with a body lotion. I am 54 years old & I think my skin looks great and it sure feels good.

  6. I’ve been dry brushing for at least 5 years now. I totally miss it if I don’t do it. I don’t feel as “clean” so to speak. Love, love love!

  7. I have a younger sister with low functioning autism. When she was very young & having difficulty mastering movement, I would help my mother dry brush up and down her legs, focusing on her joints. From what I remember, my mom explained to me that it helped synchronize my sisters mind with her body. As a kid myself I recognized how much it improved her activity. I also remember how smooth her knees were. Haha

    • I’m studying remedial massage. We’ve been discussing dry brushing in class and not only as a means of improving circulation, removing dead skin cells and moving lymph. We’ve also been discussing how it can be used to improve the proprioceptors in your body. Your proprioceptors are basically nerves that tell your body where it is in relation to time and space. The story goes that dry brushing can improve your body’s nerve function and help with it’s stability and movement. Our instructor tells a story of a trainer who trains power lifters. He makes his power lifters stop lifting weights for a week before the contest, then dry brushes their body the day before the contest and they lift better then they ever have! It’s also good for people who are unbalanced due to the proprioceptors in their feet not functioning correctly. Dry brush the bottom and tops of your feet.

  8. Interesting! I just got through reading about dry brushing on NW Edible life.She swears it is as good as coffee in the morning (though I don’t think she’s given up the coffee as a result, LOL).

  9. I just wanted to add that I was diagnosed with lipidemia, and when I discussed dry brushing with my lymphatic massage therapist, she said it was fine as a therapy, but actually it was really vital that you start with the neck, then do shoulders, then do arms, etc. basically start at the neck and as you go down, brush upwards on your arms until you are working on your trunk and get below your heart. (Not sure if that makes sense, it is hard to explain. Basically: brush your neck first. Then your shoulders. Then your arms. Then your armpits. Then your trunk. When you get to your groin area, you start brushing upwards and start at the top of your legs(brushing up) and working your way to your feet.

    • This method makes sense from what we’ve learned in Physical Therapy School. If you started at the distal extremities like your hands or ankles it takes more effort to push past everything in your upper arms and shoulders. (Just like you brush long hair from the ends to the top) You are still brushing to the center of the body, but I think you’re right that it’s best to move it from the shoulders, arms, hands in that order. That’s how we were taught to decrease swelling.

  10. what is something to help for inside of the ears i have psoriasis inside them and i have no clue how to make the infection go away and drs cant seem to help and sadly peroxide only helps a tiny bit. but they r getting really infected. any cheap at home remedy

    • People with psoriasis are usually gluten Intolerant. I recommend removing all gluten from your diet and be psoriasis free 🙂

      • Removing gluten fixed my psoriasis and rosacea. I wish more people knew about it instead of just putting more creams on it.

    • I was reading up on my Kindle about the benefits of Pure coconut oil, It is wonderful stuff. Get the pure though. Nothing added. No perfume etc. I read that it was good also for Psoriasis. You could give it a try. Just use a small amount though at first. If you have long nails be careful you do not make the ear worse. I used the pure coconut oil on irritations and applied at night, by the morning the itch had gone, and the skin was healed.

    • Hi, the advice I have is not legal in all States, however I have personally found the the kief from cannabis flowers mixed with coconut oil gets rid of psoriasis in just a couple days. Kief is what you get when rubbing the flower on a silk screen. Basically the oil glands of the flower. You don’t smoke it or eat it, it does not get you high. You rub the oil softly on your skin say at night, cover it if you have to. Works great and better than anything the doctor will give you. Many times it will be gone the next day.

    • I also have psoriasis in my ears as well as on my scalp, elbows and knees. I started using organic, unrefined, fresh pressed virgin coconut oil on everything but my scalp regularly and that keeps it gone. As long as I keep applying it every day or so I’m clear! I don’t use regularly on my scalp so the problem still exists there. Try it, it really works!

  11. Love it – I’m brand new to it, but it feels nice; my skin looks good… May be having a slight detox experience in the GI area (don’t mean to be graphic).

    Enjoying reading everybody’s experiences with it too.

  12. I’ve always wanted to try if. Last week my Son’s occupational Therapist ( he struggles with Sensory processing issues) started doing therapeutic dry brushing with him. We do it every two hours through the day. He loves it. And it seems to help him and his muscles. But now I want to try dry brushing on me.

  13. Great post!!!! Skin brushing has so many great benefits and we need to get the message out there. I do it every night and love it.

  14. Is it necessary to shower afterwards? I assume the shower helps remove the dead skin just brushed, etc. but is the dry brushing not as beneficial if you don’t shower afterwards? And why cool water as opposed to a hot shower?

      • Thanks for this clarification, Katy. Hope this doesn’t sound nasty but I rarely bath daily. Should I only be dry brushing on the days that I do? I’ve read where some people dry brush twice a day once in the morning and then in the evening before showering…

        Excited about getting started with this 🙂

      • Hi! I stumbled upon your website looking up info on my seborrheic dermatitis. ive never heard of this method and it sounds like it does wonders for a few of my health issues. what i am wondering about the shower water temp is i know the switching temps helps your circulation and overall cool water is better for your skin and hair but i was always under the impression that cool water causes your blood flow to flow towards your organs to keep them warm and blood flows away from the skin. The dry brushing is to flush the toxins out of the Lymph Nodes? If so, wouldnt doing cooler water then send the toxins circulating to the organs then? im not trying to argue im just trying to find out how this whole process works cuz it not only sounds like it would feel amazing but the concept sounds pretty logical for health benefits as well. thanks for any info, i know this is an older thread.

    • Never shower with hot water. It acidifies the body. Warm water and rinse with cool/cold.
      Most of us are acidic and we want to do things to make us more alkaline. Being acidic and having cronic, low grade (and sometimes not so low grade) inflammation in the body (which being acidic promotes) lay the foundation for almost all of our diseases. Have your high sensitivity CRP checked (blood test). This measures the general inflammation in the body, and it an accurate way to help predict stroke and heart attack.

  15. I always try to do skin brushing every day before I go for shower. Benefits which I get that are
    1. Helps to get rid of cellulite.
    2. skin to tighten.
    3. remove dead cells and increase blood circulation
    7. Rejuvenates the nerve system

    • I just started this, and I’m very excited and anxious to see results. Because of my bad choices in food and health decisions I’ve accumulated an excessive amount of cellulite, I hope it works

  16. I have never herd of such a thing….I can say after reading all the comments…..I am so trying this out….I have dry skin and hahaha some cellulite , and making the body feel good is what this girl is about,,,,Thank you ladies,,,

      • I have only just started with the brush. I used a loofah for a week before my brush came from Amazon. Love it. It is amazing how well you feel, during the brushing and after. I use pure Coconut oil afterwards, but also use pure Almond Oil too. I think that your legs my benefit from either of these brilliant moisturisers. No additives just the pure oil. I used to suffer from dry flaky legs, and particularly across the top of my feet. I do not have that problem now. I’m hoping for firmer skin eventually, so that I can wear strappy tops and not feel embarrassed about the upper arms.

      • Hmm. I was thinking about that too. but my brush would be a bit harsh for the face. What you could use though, purely for exfoliation, are the micro fibre gloves. I am trying to keep away from soap too. It is so drying, I don’t really think it is all that necessary on the face. I tend to use the face wipes to get off the face what little makeup I use. No eye makeup. I don’t wear any lotions or creams on my face at bedtime either. Let your skin breathe, then in the morning a quick splash or two or three with tepid water, If you still feel it is necessary then give your face a good rub over with a towel. I know that a lot of people would think that that was too much and harsh, well my mother did that ( the towel bit) and she never had spots or any breakouts at all. hope this helps.

      • I know this is old, but I still want it to be said: dry brushing your face is also beneficial. But there are specifically made dry brushes for body and some for face. If you use the body one on your face it can be irritating instead of healing. I can’t attach a photo and I don’t feel comfortable attaching a site, but if you search for facial skin brushing there are photos that come up with the method recommended. Dry brushing my face has been helping to clear up the worst acne break out I’ve had since puberty (hormonal, so technically it won’t completely heal until my hormones balance again). It’s been the only method that has helped me feel like myself again. And it’s literally all I use, dry brushing in the AM, microfiber cloth to remove make up in thr PM. Couldn’t be easier.

  17. Just bought my first dry brush at TJMaxx for $6. Made of vegetable fivers from crushed cactus leaves. Didn’t know they had leaves, haha. Anyway I was wondering about dry brushing your face. Good idea? Help with acne and acne scars maybe?

  18. I realize this post is old, but i haven’t seen any comments on cleaning your brush which is important with all of the skin cells your collecting over time! I have been dry brushing since 2009 and love my brush! i bought an extremely expensive cactus brush off of a carnival cruise and i still use it. I keep it clean and nice by spraying it with a mixture of Tea Tree oil and Eucalyptus, and then running the brush over a micro fiber towel a couple of times and letting it air dry! Hope this helps!

    Also<< Ive never used it on my face. My facial skin is much more sensitive than the rest of my body. Instead i use coconut oil and sugar as a scrub, sometimes i add lavender or tea tree oil.

  19. I just started dry brushing about a week or so ago. I totally love it. It gets me out of bed in the mornings (yes, it actually feels THAT good). Also, I do brush my face. It feels good and like it’s exfoliating my face so I do it. I use a cheapie “natural bristle” 5$ shower brush with long handle. The bristles are very soft, so it doesn’t hurt my skin.

  20. I started dry brushing because one I read it and someone said it helped them out with dry skin,I thought what the hec, I started dry brushing about 2 months ago( even) my face, spent 12 bucks on my brush,and I love it,,,I can most definitely see a big difference in my skin…my whole body…..the dry skin for the first time in my life and i’m 49ish is gone my skin is so soft I brag about it.. I can say the day I first stumbled on to Wellness MAma and this page has changed my life,,, I am not kidding you I dry brush ,I oil pull, I eat way healthy,,,in fact I eat most all raw…I eat NO box foods at all…I feel FABULOUS ….I am going to keep on keepin on……oh one more thing…’ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES”

  21. Katie,
    You seem tireless! I envy you and all your knowledge and efforts to keep your family healthy and happy. I will continue to check out your blog, but I do have one nagging question: why are there so few photos of you and none of your body? I have to admit that I’m wondering if you are perhaps not of the “standard” image for “lean and healthy,” but if that’s the case then most of us would love to see a true healthy body that doesn’t fit the mould. I admit that my notion of healthy would include someone who is very lean–but I’d love to change that line of thinking!

    • Hi Jodi, I don’t post many pictures of myself since I don’t want this blog to just be about me or be just a personal blog. My goal is to unite women and moms and for them to be able to identify with it as well. There are some pictures of me around, I just don’t make a point of posting them

  22. I have tried both facial and body dry brushing. I didn’t stick to them but now I am going to start over. I believe in the benefits of it! Only one thing if you brush your face( I have a separate brush for my face) don’t be too excited and do it harsh like I did. but start gently and slowly increase as you feel the necessity. I was harsh and my skin looked dehydrated and wrinkly. Apply moisturizer afterwards. Love dry brushing my just feels so good!!!

  23. My son suffers chronic sinus infections. Do you have any advice on a way to help him? He swims in the ocean and I’m trying to get him to try oil pulling.

    • If your son is consuming milk in any form, you might try eliminating all of it for at least 5 days, then give him some. When you do, just in case of a possible allergic reaction best to resume when he can be observed and hasn’t anything urgent to do. I did this with wheat and slept 2 hours in the car though I’d felt lively prior to, and had been headed out to swim.

      This testing is from Marshall Mandell, 5 Day Allergy Relief. Milk is very mucous forming also highly acidic. Correcting all problems from inside out, that is finding the cause prevents just masking, like putting a bandaid on. Without finding cause more symptoms can arise.

  24. my mom has psoriasis literally from head to toe. I am going home to visit her and plan to take the coconut oil, brush, and everything I have learned from this blog. I will stay a week and show her how to do all it takes to find comfort from this awful looking skin challenge.
    I would like to offer one thing we have learned over the years and that is alkaline water. We use the beauty water from the system. We put it in a little bottle, add a little pure coconut oil to it and when she is itchy she simply mist the itchy area – no steroid cream involved. Her very dry skin is happy and she is not ashamed of the itchy yucky feeling and wanting to scratch. Very soothing, she can carry it with her and just mist and rub it in and enjoy her day.

  25. My physical therapist has been giving me lymphatic massage for pain. She advised me to do dry brushing everyday at home. She said that it is not necessary to use a brush, but that just using your hands to do dry brushing will give the same results.

  26. I’m interested in dry skin brushing my face, but have a couple questions…

    Firstly, I only wash my face at night because I’ve found that 2x a day caused my face to be overly oily. Since I limited to once a day, my skin is MUCH more manageable, and even though it had been oily since I turned 10 (I’ll be 31 in November), it simply doesn’t get oily anymore. Is it ok to do skin brushing at night? Do I cleanse before and after?

    I also love OCM… I do it about every other day and was wondering if you have any recommendations about including it in my routine? Should I do it after I dry brush? Perhaps only on days that I don’t dry brush?

    When you cleanse (both body and face) after dry brushing, do you use a wash cloth, loofah, body gloves… Or simply your hands/fingertips because the dry brushing is sufficient exfoliation?

    Sorry about my mountain of questions… I’m just excited about getting started!

  27. Help. I have very sensitive skin (super thin skin) and extremely dry. I dont exfoliate as it makes my skin drier and more sensitive. Can I still Dry Brush?

  28. You have another convert! I have been dealing with a skin “rash” for a couple of years due to poor circulation and a lagging immune system. Last year a was prescribed a cream to get rid of it and it worked, but a few months after stopping it the rash came back. This year I started doing yoga daily and very little bit by little bit the rash was less noticeable. BUT, two days ago I dry brushed for the very first time and yesterday I did it again and today I SWEAR TO GOD it’s gone! Completely gone- I’m joking and I wish I could hug you! Thanks so much!! And as a side note- we make your chicken liver pate atleast once every couple of weeks!

  29. I love dry brushing for two years morning and night. Morning always shower after then use I switch up jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, love rosehip oil (brown though) but wonderful at night time, love love apricot kernel oil, a few others but those are my favorite. Who ever is using baby oil still should really not be nothing major bad but stop if you can. I can never figure out why more people cant stick to dry brushing. It has toned my body immensely and I can feel the dead skin cells there if I miss a day which maybe has happened 5 times in two years my skin is screaming to get these off of me. Like not brushing your teeth or washing your face at night time . Has to be done and it feels so good. Try some of the oils I mentioned I know everyone loves Coconut Oil and I do use it. However, does everyone realize that on the clogging pore scale from 1 to 10 Coconut Oil has a four so I use it like once a week Oh Avacado Oil is amazing on the body and on the scalp and shine of your hair. I put is on my hair once a week or twice a week go to bed with shower cap and I swear my hair is thicker definitely shinier. I definitely brush by face very gently with a facial manual brush and my neck upwards I only use my facial brush amazing how much comes off your chin so dont forget your chin Do not t forget you can add a drop or four drops of lavender or frankincense to your oil for even more softness usually at night time. I never use lotion any more too many chemicals and after dry brushing the oil just penetrates so nicely without any dead skin cells. Please everyone dry brush and as a horrid thought you see so much less dust in your house and it is so true.

  30. I saw several places where it’s says do not dry brush if you have active cancer. do you agree and if so, why?

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