What if I told you there is a skin care and wellness habit that takes only a few minutes a day, is totally free, and promotes glowing vitality not just on the OUTSIDE, but even more so on the INSIDE? (Ah, if only it could cleanse character too….)
You may or may not have guessed it, but today we're talking about skin.
The beauty industry has paid attention to the skin for millenia, always trying to make it look younger, plumper, more radiant, and touchably soft. Even Cleopatra's skin care regimen was meticulously documented more than 2,000 years ago, and interestingly enough, purportedly included this simple habit.
It's called skin brushing. Just like it sounds, dry skin brushing uses a soft bristle brush and is done by brushing in a very particular pattern around the body. However, it's far more than simple exfoliation.
First of all, a quick anatomy review
Okay, so as you likely know, the skin is the body's largest organ. It's a complex system made up of nerves, glands, and layers of skin cells that all together breathe, absorb, protect, regulate temperature, and – perhaps most surprisingly – eliminate waste. For example, when you sweat, that's not only cooling you off, but also using the sweat as a means to excrete dead cells and toxins out of the body. The skin can eliminate up to nearly a pound of waste material a day when working optimally!
The skin is also home to the lymphatic system, which is the system that is charged with moving cellular waste through the body so it can be eliminated. When the lymphatic system isn't working properly, waste piles up and makes us ill, which can be seen in anything from skin rashes to full-fledged autoimmune disease.
However, we quickly run into a problem. If your skin is overrun with toxins and dead skin cells, it cannot eliminate waste from your body efficiently.
In this case, exfoliation is helpful, but there's a far more beneficial method to keep the skin working optimally, merely because exfoliation deals only with sloughing off what is already on the outside of the skin, while skin brushing both exfoliates AND stimulates the lymphatic system to optimal, peak performance.
5 Benefits of Skin Brushing
1. Clears and invigorates the skin. Skin brushing exfoliates your skin, unclogs pores, and sloughs off the layer of dead skin cells, which allows the skin to breathe, helps the skin take up more nutrients and excrete more toxins, and helps you look radiant.
2. Lymphatic and detoxification support. Skin brushing stimulates multiple systems: the lymphatic system, the immune system, the circulatory system, and even your digestive system and kidney function. This enhances and encourages the efficient elimination of cellular waste, as well as increasing oxygen supply throughout the body due to increased bloodflow.
3. Skin brushing promotes smoother, tighter skin.
4. Cellulite assistance. There is some evidence that skin brushing may help to soften and break up fat deposits below the skin while also distributing those fat deposits more evenly around the body. This may help to diminish the appearance of bulgy, unwanted cellulite.
5. Relaxation. Skin brushing can provide stress relief, reduce muscle tension, and calm your mind. It's like giving yourself a whole-body relaxation massage if you allow it to be and lets you feel both relaxed and invigorated at the end of the brushing.
How to Skin Brush
Skin brushing is simple. To get started, follow these simple steps:
1. Purchase a natural (not synthetic) bristle brush with somewhat firm bristles. (This one is my favorite.) I recommend one that fits comfortably in your hand, but you may prefer one with a long handle so you can more easily reach every part of your body, especially if you have mobility issues.
2. Disrobe, then stand in the bathtub, on a tiled surface, or other easy-to-clean area. Begin brushing at the ankles and brush upward using light but firm strokes. Repeat each area several times and feel free to include the soles of your feet, if you're comfortable balancing while you brush. Finish each area with long, smooth strokes. Also, ALWAYS brush toward the heart because that is the way the lymph flows naturally, as well as the blood as it carries waste.
3. Avoid the genitals, face, any open cuts, abrasions, and any patches of eczema or psoriasis. Also, breast tissue may be extra-sensitive. After you finish your legs, brush your stomach, back, arms, and shoulders, always starting at the extremity and working your way toward the heart. Your skin may be a little pink when you're finished, but it shouldn’t hurt — if it does, brush more gently!
4. Once you've brushed your entire body, bathe or shower to be sure to wash off any dead cells, toxins, and other waste that have been brought to the surface or loosened by the brush. Dry well and moisturize with a natural cream or lotion, if desired, then drink a large glass of water to replenish fluids and assist the detoxification process.
5. Dry brush every day, twice if desired.
Also, remember to clean your brush with soap and water once a week. Dry thoroughly to avoid any mildew accumulation in your brush.