Dry Brushing: What It Is & How It's Done

The skin is the largest organ in the body...how are you taking care of yours!? (Insert dry brushing for skin care!) Dry brushing is an energizing and skin detoxification practice that you can easily add into your morning self-care routine.

What is dry brushing anyways?

Dry brushing is an ancient practice used to sweep away dead skin cells, stimulate the lymphatic system, improve the appearance of skin and support digestion. Dry brushing is one of those things that feel good, has great health benefits, and is incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

Dry brushing is brushing the skin, in gentle long strokes toward the heart using a dry, natural-bristled plant-based brush. Once you've brushed your entire body, you take a shower, pat your body dry and apply a natural oil. Your body will feel completely revitalized.

Have you ever tried dry brushing?

Benefits of dry brushing:

Some of the benefits associated with dry brushing include:

- Shedding of dead skin cells and encourages new cell renewal (dry brushing helps to exfoliate the skin)

- Improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage (detoxification)

- Increase digestion and revitalize your organs

- Helps to reduce acne and cystic breakouts (unclog pores)

- Dry skin brushing may reduce cellulite, and offers both stress relief and invigoration (stimulates nervous system)

Dry Brushing and Cellulite:

Looking to reduce unwanted cellulite? Dry brushing helps to prevent the formation of cellulite making the skin tighter, increases blood flow, and aids in cellular renewal. While there are no scientific studies to prove or refute this claim, many find a reduction in the appearance of cellulite when dry brushing on a daily basis.

Dry Brushing and Detoxification:

The lymphatic system (a series of glands) live just beneath the skins surface and can become sluggish with toxic waste if not functioning properly. This can lead to all sorts of complications internally and externally.

The lymphatic system is where the body flushes out toxins, waste, and other unwanted debris. When the lymphatic system fails to function properly, waste and toxins remain trapped in the body making you sick and vulnerable to dis-ease.

Because skin brushing is a ritual focused on detoxifying the lymphatic system, this is of particular interest to us as a large majority of the glands in the breast tissue and surrounding underarm and chest area are lymph glands.

Dry Brushing and Detoxification:

Regular dry brushing can help the body eliminate waste, which can be as much as one kilogram or two pounds per day. Dry brushing also assists the body’s cleansing process by activating the sweat glands and opening the pores. It can also help relax tense muscles, especially a stiff neck, back, and/or shoulders.

Herstory of Dry Brushing:

For centuries, the Egyptians, Scandinavians, Turks, and Russians have used brushing to exfoliate the skin, eliminate dead skin cells, and stimulate the renewal of skin. Exfoliation has been practiced for hundreds of centuries by different cultures, think Egyptian, Greek, Roman, East Indian, Native American, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Turks, and Scandinavians. This was mainly achieved by mechanical exfoliation. Some of the tools used by our ancestors include corn cobs, crushed seashells, and sand.

Traditional Chinese dry brushing uses the dried fibers of a gourd fruit called silk squash, commonly known as a loofah. Externally, loofah can be used either alone or mixed with sesame oil to remove dead skin, stimulate circulation, and is associated with the Lung, Stomach and Liver meridians.

The ancient Ayurvedic practice of Gharsana (which means friction by rubbing in Sanskrit) also involves dry brushing and massaging certain points in the body. In Ayurvedic principles, Gharsana is believed to reduce “ama” (undigested food or emotions that manifest into a toxic and sticky substance that can extend to the gastrointestinal system and other parts of the body). Gharsana can stimulate movement in the lymphatic system, which can help increase the rate of detoxification. It is also believed that Gharsana revitalized the modern-day concept of dry brushing.

Use on dry skin before a bath or shower.

It is suggested that you always brush towards the heart. Start at your feet and gently brush upwards towards the legs. This is believed to help stimulate the lymphatic system. Strokes ideally should be done 7 to 14 times on each portion of the skin.

Use gentle to firm pressure and stroke upwards (lymph focused)—or work in a circular motion (on any joints you can work in a circulation motion. And on the tummy for digestion.) Brush for three to five minutes for optimum awakening and energizing before showering.

If you are new to dry brushing or have sensitive skin, you can start dry brushing once a week and work your way up to every 2-3 days depending how sensitive your skin is. You should also listen to your body and can adjust your dry brushing frequency as needed.

Is it safe to dry brush during pregnancy?

Be extra gentle during pregnancy, especially the stomach use very light strokes or, if it feels uncomfortable, don’t brush the stomach at all.

Celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar actually cautions against dry brushing during pregnancy. She says mamas-to-be should avoid the belly if they dry brush. "It's called dry brushing for a reason as there's no moisture involved. Therefore, moms should avoid dry brushing their belly because we want to nurture, moisturize and nourish belly skin as it expands," she says.

On the other hand Wellness Mama Katie Wells enjoyed dry brushing, she states that "Especially during pregnancy, I *personally* found that dry brushing seemed to help keep me from getting stretch marks and also seemed to help tighten skin after pregnancy."

Best case scenario, listen to your body. Your body knows best! If you have really dry skin and you need a bit more nourishment, skip the brush and moisturize. Look into exfoliating creams and add more water/hydrating foods into your days.


Stop dry brushing if you experience pain, skin irritation, or broken skin. Do not dry brush areas on your skin that have wounds or infections. Always dry brush on dry skin. Never wet your brush or brush wet skin during a shower.

People with open or inflamed skin, including people with eczema and psoriasis, should avoid dry brushing over the inflamed area. You should also avoid dry brushing over an open wound. You could introduce bacteria to the wound, which could lead to infection.

*Please note that if you have a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or extra-sensitive skin, the sisal body brush may not be for you. Dry brushing of any kind is often too abrasive for these skin types and conditions.

Dry Brush Care:

Clean your dry brush at least once a week as dead skin will accumulate in the brush. We recommend rubbing the bristles several times with a dry cloth, or tapping the brush with the bristles pointed down on a washable surface, such as a sink basin, in order to remove any skin particles. We suggest that you do this after every each use.

If you use your brush daily, then you probably want to wash it somewhere between every eight and ten weeks. If you rub the bristles and there is a lot of debris coming out, then you know its time to wash your dry brush. A little water and a gentle soap (castile) are all you will need to clean it. After you clean it, be sure to completely dry it before reusing it.