Dry Brushing: Glowing Skin and Detox Well-being
June 29, 2011
Skin becomes dull when dead cells accumulate on the surface. Exfoliation is the solution. While salt and sugar scrubs are marketed for this purpose, they can be messy and overpriced. I prefer a simple, effective, and inexpensive form of exfoliation that is often overlooked: dry brushing.
Benefits of dry brushing.
Dry brushing is a technique to remove dead cells from the skin while providing a gentle massage. It encourages cellular turnover, critical to maintain soft, smooth, and youthful skin. It is safe for everyone at any age, men or women, including pregnant women. It energizes you, improves your circulation, and leaves you with glowing skin. Because it is so easy, you are more likely to repeat it and thus enhance your long-term well-being.
Dry brushing has an added therapeutic benefit in that it activates the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. When you hear the word “detox” (when it doesn’t involve addictions), it is often in reference to stimulating the lymphatic system. The light pressure of dry brushing encourages the movement of lymph fluid under the skin to enhance lymphatic drainage leaving you healthier and invigorated.
Lymph is extracellular fluid that carries away impurities through a complex of lymphatic vessels found in every organ of the body. Unlike blood, which is pumped by the heart, lymph circulation is activated by the movement of the body’s muscles. Among the components that lymph carries are: excess fluid, cellular waste, proteins, digested fats, hormones, and bacteria. Lymph nodes work to filter out harmful invaders, while other waste elements are delivered for elimination from the body through the skin, lungs, kidneys, or colon. Ineffective lymph-fluid movement can cause a variety of symptoms including edema, fatigue, loss of mental clarity, inflammation, irritability, rashes, sinus congestion, insomnia, allergy symptoms … and the list goes on. The massaging action of dry brushing activates lymphatic drainage and becomes a major part of the ongoing process of detoxification.
The best time to dry brush is before or at the start of a shower. (I know, during
a shower is more wet than dry, but let’s go with it.) Add nothing to the brush (no soap) and always brush toward your heart which is the natural direction for blood and lymph fluid to flow. Use long, sweeping strokes and light pressure to prevent irritation.The water washes away the dead surface cells that the brushing removes.
Start at your feet and brush up your legs toward your torso. Brush from your head towards your heart and from the hands up the arms toward your torso. Repeat this several times. It doesn’t matter if you repeat the brushing routine over your whole body several times, or if you brush each area repeatedly before moving on to the next one. The important point is to start at your feet and always brush towards your heart. The process should take no more than five or ten minutes.
Towel dry and apply lotion or cream. Your freshly exfoliated skin will drink in the moisture. Massage moisturizer into your skin using the same motion directed toward your heart.
You do not need an expensive brush, and you can easily find one for less than $10. A long-handled brush is most popular, but use what fits comfortably in your hand. Soft bristles are best, but using light pressure is more important than the bristles’ stiffness. You and your skin should both feel invigorated!
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