Should You Try Dry Brushing? Here are the Pros and Cons
What is dry brushing? Everything you need to know, including its benefits and risks.
More women are incorporating dry brushing into their skincare routine. Rooted in an Ayurvedic practice from Ancient Egypt, dry brushing is literally brushing dry skin on specific body parts. You may have already come across the wooden bristle brush used for dry brushing, but are you familiar with the benefits of dry brushing and its risks?
Pro #1: Exfoliation
This is one of the immediate benefits of dry brushing. As cited from a study in the National Institutes of Health, using a firm wooden-bristled brush on the top layer of the skin promotes exfoliation and removes dead skin cells. It’s essential to get rid of these dead skin cells since they can clog your pores and make your skin look dull. Regular exfoliation encourages the growth of new, healthy skin cells.
Pro #2: Firmer Skin and Relaxed Muscles
Citing from the same journal, exfoliating by dry brushing your skin also removes dirt, oil, and residue from the skin pores. When the skin is clean, the pores are free to get rid of toxins from the body. Making this a part of your skincare routine will also help reduce tension and relax muscles, as the gentle, circular motion has a massaging effect that relaxes the body. The process also increases circulation in the skin, making it firmer and glowing.
Pro #3: Lymphatic Drainage
The lymphatic system helps fight infections by passing lymphatic fluid throughout the body. The accumulation of lymphatic fluid can produce many symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, bloating, and excess weight. Because many of these lymph canals stream just beneath the surface of your skin, dry brushing can help drain this buildup, according to the American Holistic Health Association. The process helps improve the immune system, reduce anxiety, clear up the skin, and improve chronic pain.
Con #1: Not for All Skin Types
There are risks to every beauty technique. For example, dry brushing isn’t for all skin types. If you have skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, the technique can worsen your skin condition, as noted in a study at Cambridge University. You should also avoid it if you have keratosis pilaris, which are rough bumps on the skin due to dead skin clogging up hair follicles. Theoretically, the exfoliation of dry brushing could help improve this condition, but it depends on the intensity and frequency of brushing.
For dry, sensitive skin, use Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, which is made with Nutrimoisture technology. It delivers hydration deep into the skin’s layers and helps it retain moisture to prevent irritation, itching, and dryness.
Con #2: May Cause Irritation
According to the same study, dry brushing is a big no-no. The breaks in your skin can lead to cuts or wounds, especially if you’re using a coarse brush and your skin is sensitive. You should also avoid brushing over an open wound. That could potentially cause an infection. If you experience itchiness, redness, , distress, or a steady twinge, it’s best to stop the beauty technique before you break your skin.
To help moisturize and heal very dry skin, use Vaseline Intensive Care Deep Restore Body Lotion. The formula has pure Vaseline Jelly and aloe vera extract, which are known to help accelerate the healing of skin cells. Apply it after cleansing, while your skin is still damp, to lock moisture in.
What Is the Proper Dry Brushing Technique?
You can avoid dry brushing risks if you do it properly. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings recommends using a natural bristle brush instead of one with synthetic fiber, as this can irritate your skin. Just as you wouldn’t use chemical peel every day, you should space your dry brushing days out. Once to twice a week before you take a shower should work, ideally in the evening.
Start dry brushing from the ankles in upward, circular motions. Keep the pressure light and gentle. From your legs, move up to your arms. Begin from your wrists to your underarms, then end at the shoulders. For the torso, you want to move the brush downwards.
Brush Maintenance Tips
Wash your dry brush after each use to avoid microbial growth before and moisturize with Baby Dove Rich Moisture Lotion. It has a gentle, hypoallergenic, and pH-neutral formula that moisturizes for up to 24 hours. This dermatologist- and pediatrician-tested lotion nourishes delicate skin.
Dry brushing your skin is a personal choice. Some benefits and risks come with it just like any other beauty practice. If you want to include it in your skincare routine, weigh the pros and cons first to manage your expectations and make sure to use the proper dry brushing technique.
Want to learn more beauty practices? Read our article on to learn more.