I love when simple things–not to mention cheap–improve my life.

Dry brushing is definitely one of the simplest things I’ve done for my skin, and other than the $5 I spent on my brush at Target, it’s free. And, I can’t say enough good about it.

According to the Livestrong website, dry brushing has been used for centuries by Scandinavians and Russians to detoxify, exfoliate and stimulate the skin.

According to many alternative health care providers, dry brushing stimulates detoxification, prevents dry skin, removes cellulite, cleanses the lymphatic system, strengthens the immune system, stimulates hormone and oil-producing glands, tightens the skin, stimulates circulation and feels great!

So what’s dry brushing, you ask. It’s super simple. You simply brush your entire body with soft-bristled brush before bathing. Basically you’re loosening dead skin cells so they can be washed away when you bathe. Super simple, but pretty wonderful results.

I started dry body brushing about a year and a half ago after reading about it in Gorgeously Green–a great guide for ways to reduce toxins and stress to our bodies and the environment. I’ve been amazed at how it has improved my skin. Typically, I have very dry skin in winter, especially around my elbows and feet. This year (we’re talking five long months of winter so far) my skin is great. I have had no issues with dry skin despite not using lotion on a daily basis.

More recently, I learned of the detoxification benefits of dry brushing. (It was a recommended practice of CorePower Yoga’s Seasonal Wellness Cleanse.) The skin plays a major role in eliminating waste and toxins from our bodies. Dry brushing supports elimination of toxins by stimulating lymph nodes and circulation. The increased circulation is also said to decrease lines and wrinkles.

Of interest to most of us women is the claim that dry brushing reduces the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite.  Although one of my favorite sources of health information, Dr Weil says dry brushing can’t reduce cellulite, I beg to differ. (He also says the detoxing claims are false.) I know that the cellulite on the backs of my thighs has improved since I’ve been dry brushing. I am totally open to the possibility that it hasn’t reduced, but only looks better because my skin looks better. Exactly how it works matters much less to me than the fact that I am more comfortable in a swimsuit than I was before I started dry brushing.

So here’s the how to:

  • Use a soft natural fiber brush with a long handle, preferably one with a removable head with a strap for your hand. (Most nylon and synthetic fiber brushes are too sharp.)
  • Brush your entire body before bathing. (Most instructions I’ve read say not to brush the face, but I often lightly–lighter than I brush the rest of my body–brush my face and love the way it feels.)
  • Then simply bathe as you normally do and enjoy your skin!