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Did you know that you can improve your complexion and prevent cellulite by body brushing a/k/a dry brushing? It’s true, follow my instructions below and flaunt gorgeous, glowing skin at all your outdoor Labor Day events this weekend!
Our largest body organ eliminates more than a pound of waste over the course of an average day. I bet you didn’t think I was referring to your skin. In fact, about 1/3 of all the body’s impurities are excreted through your skin. If normal elimination through the skin cannot be carried out then your large intestine, kidneys, lungs and liver may not be operating properly. Poor hygiene, dry skin build up, repeated application of mineral oil-based, pore-clogging body lotions or waterproof chemical sunscreens, and medication side effects can all interfere with the skin’s elimination process. Therefore, anything you can do to improve skin function assists and improves the function of other vital organs.
Variations of skin brushing have been practiced by many cultures for centuries. The Japanese used the loofah sponge prior to their traditional hot baths, ancient Greek athletes used strigiles — specialized, spoon-like skin scrapers to remove the grime of exertion and encourage circulation, Cherokee Indians used dried corncobs to beautify the skin and make it more durable.
Body brushing only takes about five minutes prior to showing or bathing. This process does several things:
- stimulates the sebaceous glands which encourages natural moisturizing of your skin
- removes the top layer of dead cells which leads to significant exfoliation and softer, silkier skin
- improves circulation and increases blood flow to the surface of the body
- activates the entire lymphatic system, aiding in the elimination of toxins in the body
- aids in the detoxification of the body
- encourages new cell growth
- controls and prevents cellulite
Choose a long handled, medium-soft, natural-fiber brush. I love the Yerba Prima skin brush because it is made with natural vegetable fiber bristles that are firm but feel comfortable on the skin while dry brushing with gentle pressure.(Fun fact: The bristles come from the Agave plant, the same plant used to make Tequila!!) The removable handle is approximately 15” long, the perfect length to reach the back and shoulders with ease.
The best time to dry brush is right before you get in the shower or bath. Start at your feet and work your way up the body. Remember to brush toward your heart to encourage the return of blood and encourage lymphatic return. Pay special attention to cellulite prone areas. Brush your abdomen with clockwise, spiral motions and your arms and legs with upwards motions. Don’t forget your hands, including the area in between the fingers. Don’t skip any areas except your face (and breasts if you are a woman). As the final step, shower or bath as you normally do.
I like to do a two-step moisturization process following dry brushing:
- Turn off water in shower and pat dry.
- Apply one pump of body oil to each leg, arms and torso.
- Pat dry again, careful not to remove the body oil.
- Exit shower and follow immediately with moisturizer of choice.
Once you are finished you will feel remarkably invigorated and your skin will glow. If you are just beginning to body brush your skin may be a bit red immediately afterward but as it adjusts and becomes firmer, only a pinkish tinge will remain for a few minutes until circulation calms. If your skin remains red or pink for longer than 5 minutes then either the brush bristles are too firm or you are brushing too hard.
Caution: If you have poison ivy, skin rashes, infections or open wound acne, do not brush that part of the skin.
Professional thoughts on dry brushing:
- “Gentle dry brushing will slough off dead, dry skin, improving its appearance and allowing it to hydrate more efficiently when moisturizer is applied afterward,” says Francesca Fusco, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City.
- As for detoxifying, dry brushing is similar to massage. “The light pressure against your skin and the direction in which you brush helps move lymph fluid into the lymph nodes so this waste can then be eliminated,” says Robin Jones, spa director at Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, TX. Your body naturally does this, but dry brushing speeds up the process and at the same time boosts circulation, delivering oxygenated blood to the skin and other organs, which helps them do their jobs better.
Hope you enjoy your Labor Day holiday!! Sending peace, love and happiness to all!