Scandinavian Beauty & Health Secret: Dry Brushing Your Skin

drybrushing

(*Photo credit: http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/06/beauty-rituals-benefits-dry-body-brushing/)

Itchy, flakey, dry, and dull skin; it seems like a winter time given, right?  Particularly here in the frozen tundra, I mean, Cleveland area, where it’s cold and snowy for months and months.  My solution used to be to just load up on body lotion, but then I discovered this little secret-  from women who live where it’s way colder and snowier.

I was introduced to the idea of dry brushing years before I actually tried it.  I was watching a television show about living someplace frozen most of the year, somewhere in Scandinavia.  Apparently, Scandinavian women don’t just jump in the shower and scrub up with soapy washcloth.  Instead, before they bathe or enter a sauna, they spend a little time dry brushing their skin with a natural bristle brush.  This has the effect of sloughing off and exfoliating the dead, dry skin, improving the circulation of blood and lymph, which helps to detoxify and nourish the skin cells, and it feels great to boot!  So, you’re actually cleaner inside & out.  What’s not to love, right?!

Here’s What Dry Brushing Does & Why You Need to Try It

  • Exfoliates dead skin cells
  • Stimulates blood circulation (to nourish skin with oxygen and nutrients & get your glow on)
  • Stimulates lymphatic flow (to remove toxins from cells)
  • Decreases the appearance of cellulite
  • Feels really good (especially over the itchy places like the back of your hips and shoulder blades) and it can increase the feel-good hormones while decreasing the stress hormones
10+ years old and still in great condition
10+ years old and still in great condition

I will admit, my first reaction was to pish-posh this idea, but now, after more than ten years of incorporating dry brushing into my winter and spring routine, I can’t imagine my life without this short, pre-shower ritual.   I try to fit my dry brushing in at least once or twice (not more than 3x) a week during the winter and throughout  Spring.  I love the feeling of a good scrub, the glow, and the added benefit of getting the lymph flowing to boost my immune system.  Not only that, but it’s like getting the best back scratch, EVER.   I highly recommend it!

Skin Brushing Basics

  1. Buy a quality, natural bristle brush.  The higher the quality, the better it will feel (softer bristles) and the longer it will last.  I’ve had my body brush for more than 10 years and it’s still in great shape.  I wash my brush now and then, allow it to dry completely, and store it in a cabinet when not in use so it won’t get icky.
  2. Throw a towel down on the floor to catch the dry skin that you’ll be brushing off.  Gross, I know.
  3. Undress & grab your brush.
  4. Use a gentle hand and brush in circles or strokes moving toward the heart.  Here are the detailed instructions:
    1. Brush in small circles, starting with the bottom of your feet and moving up the legs, and over the hips. Circle from left to right (following the intestines) over the belly.  Swipe up sides towards armpits.
    2. Swipe or make circles from hands, up arms towards armpits (where there lots of lymph nodes).
    3. Brush your back from center out towards armpits.
    4. Brush around your breasts (I avoid nipples) and very gently across chest from center towards armpits.
    5. Finish by brushing neck gently from chin towards heart.
  5. You may want to scrub hard, but don’t.  You’ll make your skin hurt.   If you’re a sensitive type, you may actually feel like the brush is too intense.  If that’s the case, ease up on the brush, starting slow and building up how often you use it until it feels good.  It may take a little getting used to.
  6. Now you can take a shower as you normally would, but be less aggressive when washing up.
  7. After you dry off – Moisturize all over with a natural body lotion or oil.
    1. *Please read the ingredients on your moisturizer/lotion.  All of the typical drugstore/retail brands use petroleum (petrolatum) as a base.  Petroleum is a likely carcinogen (cancer causing) and has been correlated to breast cancer .  (YES, I know it’s FDA approved, but it is not healthy.)  Also, please be aware that fragrance means synthetic chemicals that can cause not only skin problems like rashes, but also breathing problems such as asthma, and it also disrupts your hormones (endocrine system) and can affect our bodies in ways you’d never suspect such as increased PMS symptoms, infertility, and more.

If you, like me, find it hard to enjoy winter…the dry air, the bitter cold, itchy skin, the lack of sunlight blues, etc., I hope that you try this out.  You may just discover a new winter ritual to make you feel like a million-glowing-bucks.

Stay warm & stay well, my friends.

Love,

Anna

P.S.  I’d love to hear what you think after your first dry brushing.  Email me.

 

 

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