There is a very long list of different health and beauty regimens that claim to do this, that and the other. I have a slightly shorter list of the one’s I’d like to try. For one reason or another, I never manage to get round to them. Whether it’s journaling, ‘mindful’ colouring, walking in nature every day, whitening my teeth with coconut oil or dry skin brushing, each one has featured on my to-do list for some time (and most are part of my spider diagrams to health). For this reason I am starting a new series: Tried and Tested. A chance to discover the difference these regimens make (if any) and whether they’re worth it. It’s also a way of making sure I get round to doing them.
First up is dry skin brushing. I did it a couple of years back (when my eczema was much worse) and I just used it as another excuse to itch. This time around, I couldn't have picked a better season to try it again. With winter comes dry skin - brushing is a great way to remove the dead skin cells, leaving you with a healthy glow.
Please note: The products I have recommended in this post have been mentioned because they are tried, tested and trusted. If you decide to buy any, I will receive a small commission from the seller.
WHAT IS IT?
As it says on the tin. It’s a process whereby you brush your skin (dry) with a bristle brush, specifically designed for the purpose, in an upward motion (towards the heart) and circular, clockwise motion on your tummy, chest and bum. You can buy brushes with either natural or synthetic bristles - soft, medium or hard, with or without a long handle. I use this one by Hydrea, which has soft to medium, natural bristles. It is made from hogs hair, so isn’t suitable for vegans. There are animal free, natural bristles available, such as this one by Elemis, which I used last time (the bristles were a little too hard for my sensitive skin). I prefer one without a handle as I can get a better grip on the brush – you might appreciate a handle for your back if you aren’t very flexible. Most brushes are fairly inexpensive.
WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS?
Improves muscle tone and even distribution of fat
Stimulates lymphatic drainage, the liver, kidneys, gut and lungs and therefore, the elimination of toxins
Improves digestion (see above)
Helps shed dead skin cells
Encourages regeneration of new skin cells
Encourages production of the skins natural oil
Eliminates clogged pores
Encourages the elimination of toxins through skin
May reduce ingrown hairs
Gets you going in the morning (increases energy)
- Brush your skin daily, when it is dry, ideally before you shower or bathe.
- Mentally section your body into legs, bum, arms, tummy, chest, back.
- Brush in a long, sweeping motion and always towards the heart.
- Start at your feet (including the top and soles) and brush up your legs, stopping at your knees or working the whole leg if you can manage it. When you reach your bum, brush each cheek in circular motion.
- Move to your arms (including the top and palms of your hands) and brush in the same way.
- The front of your body is next – brush your tummy (from your right to left, which is the direction your digestive system flows in), chest or boobs in a circular clockwise motion and from your collarbone down towards your heart.
- Brush your sides towards, and including, your armpits.
- Brush your back from the lower back, upwards.
- Bathe or shower – it is recommended to alternate between hot and cold water (if you dare) to further increase blood flow.
- Moisturise afterwards, preferably whilst your skin is still damp – I use this one by Salcura, which I find brilliant for any small patches of eczema as it encourages healing. It is quite thick – perfect for his time of year.
MY EXPERIENCE – 21 DAYS LONG
- Condition of skin: fairly dry. Goosepimply texture. Small blister like pimples on arms, legs and tummy. A little cellulite on upper thighs and bum.
- Forgot my bum on day 1 – rookie error.
- Noticed small improvements by the end of week one, such as reduced dry, flaky skin and more resistance to patches of eczema in the usual places.
- Can confirm it gives you a burst of energy in the morning.
- The small blister like pimples have reduced in number and frequency, as have the goose pimples on my legs and arms.
- Further reduction of dry, flaky skin.
- Skin is beginning to get the healthy GLOW and feels softer.
- Easy to keep up – takes 2 minutes before shower. Have started to go over body twice.
- Skin has maintained the healthy glow.
- blister pimples and goose pimples have continued to disappear.
- Reduced cellulite.
- Read that I should be brushing over each section up to 10 times – whoops! Will work up to that.
Will definitely continue with dry skin brushing. It takes all of a couple of minutes in the morning. There are immediate benefits such as waking you up and injecting some much needed energy into your morning, as well as the long-term benefits, mentioned above.
- Wash your brush with warm, soapy water and leave to air dry. Replace when it’s seen better days.
- Use common sense – be gentle in areas where the skin is softer, thinner and sensitive. Be careful of inflamed or broken skin and avoid these areas altogether.
- Don’t go mad. 10 gentle strokes are better than 5 hard ones.
- Start with a softer brush and move to a harder brush.
- This brush should not be used on your face or neck – it is far too hard. You can buy brushes specifically designed for your face, but that’s another blog post!