By: Dr. Lauren Beardsley
Get Glowing this Summer with Dry Skin Brushing… and Support your Adrenals!
No need to schedule a high-priced spa treatment to get the glow – you can implement this quick and effective DIY activity in the comfort of your own home.
All you need is a natural bristle brush (not one made from synthetic materials) – one with a long handle can be helpful as it will help you reach all areas of your body, from your head to your toes. Often, I recommend brushes that have 2 sides, one with more coarse bristles and another with more fine bristles so that you can use different sides for different parts of the body.
Why does Skin Brushing work
Dry Skin Brushing is an activity that focuses on providing a little TLC for the largest organ in your body – your often neglected skin. Your skin has many responsibilities ranging from providing our first line of defense and protection, to eliminating unwanted substances (detoxification) to absorbing needed nutrients. Our skin is also the most highly vascularized organ receiving the most blood flow overall – 1/3 of the blood flow to be precise. Lastly, the skin is the last to receive nutrients yet the first to display signs and symptoms of imbalances.
What are the benefits of Dry Skin Brushing?
Brighter and Smoother Skin
Aesthetically speaking – dry skin brushing can help to shed off dead skin cells thereby encouraging cell turnover and new skin growth. This can lead to a brighter and softer complexion.
Dry skin brushing increases circulation by drawing blood to the surface as well as encouraging movement of lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system functions by collecting the byproducts of the immune system and other metabolic wastes and eliminating them – so basically it cleans up the junk in our body. Lymphatic drainage can become sluggish or blocked and this can lead to a build up unwanted substances. By increasing circulation, dry skin brushing can encourage the movement and elimination of these waste products stored in the body.
*Added Perk – Increasing skin circulation can lead to a reduction in the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is the deposition of subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin and is a common site for “toxin” storage. So by encouraging “toxin” release as well as evening out fat distribution, the appearance of cellulite can diminish.
Increase nutrient Absorption
By ridding of unwanted dead skin cells, unclogging pores and increasing circulation, dry skin brushing encourages more efficient absorption of nutrients through the skin. This is often why I recommend following up a dry skin brushing session with rinsing, bathing and applying a natural skin moisturizer – my favorite is coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Nervous System and Adrenal Support
Under our skin’s surface resides thousands of tiny nerve endings that are under constant stimulation from our environment – often sending our brain and our bodies into overdrive leading to increased production of stress hormones. By providing calm and relaxing stimulation such as dry skin brushing, we can calm the “fight-or-flight” response and rejuvenate the nervous system as well as encourage a more balanced stress response.
When to do it
The best time to incorporate dry skin brushing is into your Morning Routine. Ideally, begin your morning with 5 minutes contributed to this activity followed by rinsing, bathing and moisturizing. This invigorating routine will leave you with an Energetic Buzz and Outer Glow that will carry on throughout the day.
How to do it
The directions are pretty simple:
Begin with dry skin before bathing. It is best to stand in a bathtub or shower to ensure that those dead skin cells your brushing off will go down the drain and not collect on your floor.
Work in a Toe-to-Head direction – brush in gentle, circular strokes upwards and towards the heart.
ALWAYS brush towards your heart – this is the direction of blood and lymphatic flow, which we want to encourage to move in the right direction. One exception – if you have a long head brush, you can brush top down in downward strokes along your back
Brush several times in each area, overlapping each stroke as you go. You can use softer bristles or merely be cautious over more sensitive areas such as the chest and face. Never brush over inflamed, sun burned, or otherwise irritated skin.
*ADDED TIP: Add in Hydrotherapy in the Shower
By alternating temperatures of the water, you can encourage more circulation of lymph and blood and maximize the benefits. Try 1-3 cycles of alternating between HOT (as hot as you can tolerate without harming/burning your skin) and COLD (as cold as you can tolerate). Always END ON COLD.
Try this for 30 consecutive days to achieve your Summer Glow!
Dr. Lauren Beardsley received her Medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM). Prior to medical school, she worked with the University of Arizona in Cardiovascular Research and Diabetic health as well as with Scottsdale Healthcare completing research in Family/Community medicine. She received postgraduate training in athletic performance optimization, pain management using physical manipulation and injection therapy, women’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Dr Beardsley resides in Scottsdale, AZ and has been an active member of the Arizona community for over 20 years. When not practicing medicine, she enjoys teaching, biking, hiking/walking with her black Labrador retriever (Logan), yoga, blogging, cooking, visiting local farmers’ markets and trave