Are You Brushing Your Skin?

Dry Brushing for Skin

This 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.

What to Do

  • 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 Comments

  1. Jessica Pless says

    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.

  2. says

    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. Megan Walker says

    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. Merica Weber says

    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. lily says

    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!

    • Dee says

      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

      • Laura says

        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?

        • Lisa says

          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!

        • clare says

          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.

        • Laura says

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

    • Carolyn says

      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. Mariah says

    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. Rebecca J. Geohagan says

    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

    • Roxe says

      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. says

    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. Rebecca Rogers Hoy says

    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.

    • Katy says

      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. Sarah says

    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

    • Jay Giles says

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

    • Margaret says

      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.

    • Pete says

      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.

    • Melissa says

      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. Kelly says

    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. Tenaya says

    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. Kari says

    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?

      • Kendra says

        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 :)

    • Peggy says

      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.

  14. Jarin says

    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

  15. kathy says

    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,,,

      • Margaret says

        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.

      • Margaret says

        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.

  16. Julianna says

    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?

  17. Samantha says

    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.

  18. Michele says

    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.

  19. kathy says

    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”

  20. Jodi says

    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!

    • says

      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

  21. Mariana says

    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!!!

  22. Susi says

    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.

    • clare says

      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.

  23. Carolyn Quinn says

    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.

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