Benefits of Dry Brushing Your Skin | How to Dry Brush


(image courtesy of

In line with continuing our conversation on chemical free [healthy] personal care products, and as a precursor to tomorrow’s post, I wanted to touch on a subject still not well known in the mainstream of our society: Dry Brushing.  I want to talk to you about What it is; Why do it [i.e. benefits to you] and How to do it.  So, strap on your seat-belts and let’s go for a ride.

Benefits of Dry Brushing: Help Your Body Detox!

What  is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is brushing your body with a brush made specifically for skin, while your body is dry, to get dead cells off your skin.

Simple enough?

I personally discovered Dry Brushing about two years ago and enjoyed it ever since. It helps my body wake up in the morning and gives me a kick start, especially if I did not have enough time to exercise to get my blood flowing. It really is like a mini-exercise!

Now, let’s get to the details.

It will cost you very little—about $10. But a good, natural bristle brush will last you a long time! Can you handle the splurge?

What You Need For Dry Brushing: A Dry Brushing Brush

Use a soft natural fiber brush with a long handle. The handle will enable you to reach all areas of your body. Get a brush with a detachable head [some have straps for your hand].

Here is a brush like I personally use:

(Available from health food stores or your local Co-op, or Amazon)

Look for a brush with natural bristles—nylon and synthetic fiber brushes are too sharp and may damage skin. Make sure to find something that will feel right for your skin—dry brushing SHOULD NOT hurt. In the beginning, since you are not used to dry brushing, your skin might be a bit more sensitive. However with time, as you become accustomed to the feel of the brush, and with bristles softening a bit, you will get to enjoy the process.

How long does it take?

Dry brushing can take as little as 5 minutes to as long as 10-15 minutes a day, or a couple of times a week. It is up to you!

Why Dry Brush?

Benefits of Dry Brushing
• Detox your body
• Lose weight
• Lose cellulite
• Feel better

Dry brushing will not solve ALL of your problems, especially if you are not taking care of yourself in other ways, such as diet and exercise. However, it is a great way to supplement your personal care.

Dry Brushing Facts

  • Skin is the largest body organ you have. In the average adult it covers about 3000 square inches and weighs around six pounds, which is nearly twice the weight of the human brain or liver.
  • The skin receives about one third of the blood that circulates through the body.
  • The skin can regenerate and repair itself under most conditions, but it does need good building blocks to help with this task.
  • Our skin is the first agent that comes in contact with the outside world and protects our bodies, as much as it can, from chemicals and bacteria. Skin is slightly acidic to kill off bad bacteria and prevent it from entering our body.
  • The skin is also responsible for dissipation of sweat and allows secretion. Sweat brings out toxins from our body which end up on our skin. As such, skin is responsible for ¼ of the body’s detoxification each day! Just how much is that? About 2 lbs [about 1 kilo] of waste acids daily, most of it through sweat glands.
  • The skin is also known as our third kidney due to its responsibility to get rid of toxins in your body.
  • Our skin is the last to receive nutrients in the body, yet the first to show signs of imbalance or deficiency.

Wouldn’t these facts lead you to believe that skin is one of the most important organs of your body? It sure looks like that to me!

But wait, there is more to it!

If we are not careful with our diet and are bodies and blood get clogged with poisonous toxins which we cannot properly eliminate, our skin takes the beating and tries to expel those toxins.

We, humans, love our skin! We pamper it, we shower it, we put make up on it—we want it to look fresh, glowing and flawless—like baby’s skin. Learning the secret of taking care of your skin, however, is going to be the best gift you can give it and yourself.

How to Take Care of Your Skin

The best way, of course is through great, nutrient rich, unprocessed whole foods, enzyme rich organic diet. But you can also lighten the toxic burden on your body and your skin by skipping over chemically laden, non-organic skin care products and household items.

For more on this topic refer to previous posts:

  1. Natural Skin, Hair, and Oral Care Products {Why It Matters}, and
  2. Chemical Free Laundry Options {Living Healthy}
  3. Homemade Glass and Surface Cleaner Recipe]

So, if you consume a clean diet and help to unload undue burden off your body by eliminating toxins around you, you can help your skin eliminate toxins faster and more efficiently.

Simple enough? It things are still a bit fuzzy to you, let’s get you some more information.

How Dry Brushing Helps Your Body to Detox

Detoxification is performed by a number of organs, including the skin, gut, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and mucous membranes.

Dry brushing reaches out to all of these organs in one way or another by stimulating blood circulation!

Dry Brushing, although highly unknown in the States, is very popular in European spas and many cancer treatment centers today. The Russians, Turks and Scandinavians have used this treatment for centuries. Dry brushing stimulates skin renewal and makes it soft to the touch. It also allows us to brush off dead skin cells that are filled with toxins off our bodies and lighten its toxic load. However, the benefits don’t stop there.

Here are some of the other, VERY important benefits of dry brushing:

  1. Cleanses the lymphatic system
  2. Removes dead skin layers
  3. Stimulates circulation
  4. Strengthens the immune system [by getting extra toxins off your body]
  5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands
  6. Removes cellulite [this specific goal will take a bit more of dry brushing and the results might be evident in about 5 months]
  7. Tightens the skin preventing premature aging
  8. Tones the muscles
  9. Improves the function of the nervous system
  10. Helps digestion
  11. Invigorates your whole body for next to nothing!

I will now explain some of the in further detail, so it really makes sense.

Dry Brushing cleanses the lymphatic system

Lymph is a part of our body’s immune system and is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste.

All detoxification occurs first through the lymph.

Our bodies contain more lymph than blood. Dry brushing moves the lymph containing large proteins and particulate matter that cannot be transported in any other way back into circulatory system. If these proteins stayed outside the blood vessels, they would attract other fluid, which could lead to swollen ankles, limbs and eventually we could even be leaking fluid out our skin [lymphedema].

Lymph vessels have their own pumping mechanism which sense when the vessels have more fluid in them or in the interstitial fluids. The body pumps the lymph along its path back to the heart. Removal of proteins from the interstitial spaces is an essential function. Without it taking place we could die within 24 hours. Dry brushing allows us to speed this process by massaging our skin toward the heart. Other ways that help are: contracting our muscles [strength training] and moving our bodies [exercising].

Dry brushing removes dead skin layers

Dry skin brushing removed dead skin cells, which improve skins health and cell renewal. Dry skin is a sign of detoxification—by removing dead skin cells off we are lightening our body’s toxic load, so it can operate more efficiently.

Dry brushing stimulates circulation

Our skin has pores and actually breathes! Dead skin cells clog the pores along with un-removed waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing does not only removed dead cells but also other dead matter, encouraging your body to discharge metabolic wastes. Dry brushing encourages increased blood flow, thus creating an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated. By activating the circulation you can also prevent varicose veins.

Dry brushing strengthens the immune system

By clearing extra toxins off your skin and improving blood circulation Dry Skin Brushing may reduce duration of infection. For this reason Dry Brushing is used in many holistic centers for cancer and other serious illnesses treatments. The lymph vessels get stimulated and drain toxic mucoid matter into organs of detoxification, thus purifying the entire system. [It is possible, after several days of dry brushing, to notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. This is a normal sign, because your intestinal tract is renewing itself.]

Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands

Dry brushing also stimulates the hormone and oil glands.

Removes cellulite

[If you have this in mind as your goal, you should be aware that it might take a bit of dry brushing so see the results, which might not be evident right away. It might take up to 5 months to see the results. But the best way to get rid of cellulite is always a great diet, followed by a great exercise regimen.]

Cellulite is toxic deposits of subcutaneous fat material and fibrous tissue that are not able to be eliminated and which cause a dimpling effect on the overlying skin.

What causes the toxins? Opinions do differ on this, and there are a couple of different schools of thought. People of all sizes and shapes can get affected by this unpleasant phenomenon.

Some of the best ways to get rid of cellulite are: brushing, connective tissue massages, clean healthful alkaline diet and exercise. These techniques, along with working though emotional issues that could cause the toxins to stagnate, will break down the unwelcome toxic body deposit.

Tightens the skin preventing premature aging

Tones the muscles

Dry skin brushing helps muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes individual muscle fibers to activate and move.

Improves the function of the nervous system

Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.

Helps digestion

Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores.

Invigorates your whole body for next to nothing!

Interesting Fact: If your skin [your largest body organ] isn’t improperly maintained, the elimination duties of the skin are forced on the kidneys. Chemical analysis of sweat shows that it has almost the same constituents as urine. If the skin becomes inactive, its pores choke with millions of dead cells, uric acid and other impurities which will remain in the body putting extra stress on the liver and kidneys.

How to Dry Brush

Dry brush your dry and naked body before you shower or bathe. You will want to wash off the dead cells and impurities from the skin.

You can start dry brushing on the soles of your feet, gently massaging you skin in a circular motion, brushing off dead skin in the process. Use long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction help drain the lymph back to your heart. If you are a female, avoid brushing your breasts.

Apply brush strokes toward your heart. Stroking away from your heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and can cause ruptured vessels and varicose veins.

Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet.

Skin brushing should be performed once a day, or at least a couple of times a week, preferably first thing in the morning. A thorough skin brushing can take 5-10 minutes, but any time spent brushing prior to bathing will benefit the body. You can also dry brush areas of cellulite 5 to 10 minutes twice a day to achieve cellulite dissolving but the technique needs to be done consistently for a minimum of five months.

Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts, and infections.

Finish up with your regular shower.

After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oils such as olive, avocado, apricot, almond, sesame, coconut, cocoa butter or one of the wonderful Vegalicious Body Creams I will talk to you about tomorrow.

Clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week.

NOTE: Any well designed program will take about 30 days to see and experience the changes. Please be patient and keep up the program! For a thorough lymphatic cleansing, perform skin brushing daily for a minimum of three months.


Now that you have learned all you can about Dry Brushing it is time to start applying the technique and benefit from it as much as possible.

As always, remember that a clean, unprocessed whole foods, plant-based diet is the best way to stay healthy. It is followed by a great exercise routine and affordable techniques such as Dry Brushing that can be done in the comfort of your… bathroom!

If you have thoughts on Dry Brushing, or have learned tricks to make it even more fun and enjoyable, do share right under this post.

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  • Pegz E

    Thank so much Elena.
    By the way I love your blog.

  • Pegz E

    Hello Elena, just a silly question 🙋 after dry brushing we shower using any kind of soap, shower gel or we don’t use any at all 😉Or which is the best to use after?

    • Not silly at all. I prefer using something that is as chemical free as possible. Currently I use Dr. Bronner’s soap. I would recommend something in the same category.

  • jenet cruz

    is it ok to dry brush in the afternoon?

    • Jenet, anytime it works for you is good.

  • jennypicco

    Hi, Elena! I agree this is the most complete post I saw so far on this subject. I bought a Bernard Jensen dry brush, actually 2: on for body and a facial brush. I live in Taiwan, it’s summer now and it’s very humid. When I first got my brush it was very very stiff and even the lightest stroke had a burning sensation, but then after 2 days the brush softened a bit and my skin got used to it. But I still feel quite confused about dry brushing, in everything I read about dry brushing they always talked about dead skin flakes flying around everywhere, but when I dry brushed no matter how hard or soft I brushed theres nothing flying around. only very rarely do I see a bit of white around some pores, but that’s about it. Very small areas. I dry brush in the morning, and afterwards I apply a bit of aloe very lotion, and at night before sleep i put on body lotion. Could it be that my skin is too moisturized by the time I wake up? Also because it’s so humid and hot I do get a bit sweaty while I brush, actually it’s hard to find a time of the day when my skin would actually not be humid. So if the skin isn’t completely dry – meaning it would cause the brush to get slightly moist , is it still dry brushing? Does it still get rid of the dead skin or does it just leave it sticking to the skin? I’m totally confused about this. Another reason why I want to do dry brushing is to prevent ingrown hair, will it work in this way? thank you in advance!

    • Jenny, if your skin is not dry you will not be seeing flakes (good for you :))! Dead skin will still be coming off and will be on your brush. Be sure to be gentle. Do not brush too hard. Also, you do not have to do it twice a day.

      As for ingrown hair–I cannot make a comment, since I am not sure.

  • Mary

    Also I’m wondering if this will help with my shingles that WON’T go away on my back???

    • Shingles are normally a sign of something else going on. A change in diet would be a better approach to curing those.

  • Mary

    Showering after is not an option, it that a deal breaker. If I do it in the morning I will go get really dirty and sweaty I’m a landscaper. After work I’m covered in mud and dirt. Can’t I brush in the morning and go strsight to sweating I mean work?

    • I would not. If you happen to scratch yourself a little hard, while learning how to do it, then sweating will sting. You can always do it after your shower, when you are dry, then simply wipe off with a damp cloth.

  • Miriam

    Great, all-inclusive article. It is very hard to find a brush in a retail store and I have been looking for one with copper. Is that essential in a body brush? Can you recommend a store / site to purchase? I want a good brush and will spend more than your suggestion. Thank you. Miriam

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  • Ujiva Nelson

    I have looked for so several posts about the blog lovers except this
    post is of course a nice one, keep on, Cellulite affects 90 percent of
    women, and although there is still no definitive cure best cellulite cream
    consumer reports

  • Stephanie

    Hi, this is amazing info and can’t wait to start my new healthy lifestyle…just a quick question…is it better to use a body brush or these gloves that I’ve read about, I think they’re called garshana gloves, made of raw silk I think? Thanks so much for sharing your all these great tips!! :))

    • Stephanie, I never heard of these gloves, but even using shower gloves you get at a department store is beneficial. So, I would try both. I can see where the gloves would be gentler on the skin and you can hit all of the posts actually feeling where you are going. Since I do not know the feel of those gloves, I would withhold a comment on that, but if they are anything like the shower gloves, and do the job of removing dead skin, I do not see why not!

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  • rusha

    M female and I love brushing my breast it gives me very good feeling is it harmful to my body,how n what harm it cause?

    • Rusha, breast skin is very sensitive, so, if you are dry brushing, be gentle on it. Use softer brush too, since a lot of new brushes might be too harsh.

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  • Mark Cooper

    Excellent article I just started today and followed it up with a sea salt bath. I dried off and the sweat continued to pour out of me for a solid half hour! 🙂 I made sure to take in Barley Grass powder, spring water and a fresh apple (Just picked from the tree) to replenish any valuable minerals that were lost. This is going to become a daily practice for me. Another piece to the puzzle in my healing from RA. Thank you!

    • Mark, glad to hear. I am not sure what your diet is like, but a fully plant-based diet helped me to heal from anterior knee condition. I know that it can help to cure RA as well.

      • Mark Cooper

        Hi Elena! For the past 5 weeks I have gone exclusively alkaline in my diet and have incorporated breathing exercises and visualization. My pH went from 5.5 @ my last Dr. visit (6 weeks ago) to 7.1 as of the last 4 days. I am so excited. I’m also in the process of sealing this gut of mine. And I can tell be the way I feel and how my body is responding to food, that my gut is healing. Now, my RA symptoms are improving. I am faced with the decision to keep taking my RA medicine or dropping it. My sleeping has improved, my panic attacks have all but disappeared…..I am very pleased with the results I am seeing. Food really is our medicine, isn’t it? I’m toying with the idea of firing my doctors! 🙂 Thank you for all that you do. Mark

        • That is fantastic news. For gut health, a good course of prescription strength probiotics would be helpful. We have a rule–one month for each year your gut was not doing well. So excited for you!

          • Mark Cooper

            You’re awesome to respond…..Much appreciated. Everything I do now is aimed at proper digestion. Starting the day with warm lemon water, breathing exercises, grounding/earthing, taking probiotics and now I’ve incorporated raw, vegan, no salt added sauerkraut. I’m going to get brave and make my own kraut soon. BTW. I waited 2 hours today after I ate and took my pH…..7.3!! Woo-Hoo! 🙂

            • Aww.. thanks 🙂

              I am so happy to hear about your great results. I hope that your well-being is improving with this as well.

            • Mark Cooper

              My energy level is building and I’m finding that as my health and mind become healthy…..I have a spill over that is extended to others. I am more grateful, more patient and less judgmental of others…..Judgmental attitudes have been replaced with love. So, yes…..I’m right in the middle of a major makeover in my life. The mind is so powerful…..until our mind is healed…our body will not respond. Finally…At 45….I am understanding better the mind/body connection. 🙂

  • NickITF

    Calling BS. Sorry!

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  • Jessie

    This is the best dry brushing article I have read yet! Thank you so much! I do have a few questions though. I have extremely oily skin, will that be a problem when dry brushing? Also, does acne count as one of the sensitive skin areas I should avoid?
    I have read that you can (should?) dry brush your face as long as you use a soft brush made of Jute (or similar). Do you have reasons to stay away from that? Just one more question, I was looking at your diagram for the brushing direction and noticed that it is always going in the direction of the heart, except for below the belly button and on the back. Why is that? I’m just curious and you seem to be well educated about the subject. Thank you so much! Great article!

    • Jessie

      One more thing I forgot, would it be safe to dry brush before an Epsom Salt/ Baking Soda detox bath, or is that too overwhelming for the skin?

      • Oh, not BEFORE for sure–it might sting a little (or might now) if you do salts after. Give it a go, but I would try a salt solution only on a small are of skin, not to feel stinging too much. I would consider doing these on different days.

    • I do not think that oily skin would create a problem–sounds like it is much better than dry skin.

      If your acne area has broken skin, I would stay away from me. On the note of acne, have you tried changing to a plant based diet, like I discuss on this site, to get rid of it once and for all? My program participants regularly report curing this problem altogether.

      As for the face, you could try, but I prefer shower gloves–they feel better and less abrasive. A simple pair you find at WalMart for a couple of dollars would do.

      As for the belly area, I do not think there is particular reason (you are very detailed!). You can brush it either way, but toward the heart is a great idea. .

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  • Kieran Power

    Wonderful information. The lymph system moves waste towards the kidneys. That’s where all the toxins get sent to. Dumping cell waste into the heart? Not very logical, even though the medical professionals would have us believe such absurdities.

  • Monica Guirguis

    Elena, do you dry brush your face? or only use the gloves on your face? Thanks!

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  • EFT.. Energy move by Donna Eden. Then Lymphatic drainage and now dry brushing the Skin.. I seem to come closer to completion … Thanks for complete information on this topic…!

  • Heed0985

    Such a complete post! Thanks for taking the time to teach us how important and valuable dru brushing is.
    I’m so glad to find your website!
    I will be sharing this article right away!!

    • Hanna, thank you for sharing it with others 😉

  • Ds_daisy

    I love this informative article! Thank you for spreading the good word about dry brushing.  

    The energizing tingle that I can feel after brushing lets me know that my body is very happy about it!After the brush and shower, I love to massage on my favorite moisturizer that is all vegan and pure enough to eat! I wanted to share it with you because I love it so much and thought you would like it too.  My favorite is called SkinFood, it is made by a company called Nourish. It smells like dark chocolate and coconut! The dry brushing helps exfoliate the dead skin so that the SkinFood can absorb more thoroughly. I’ve witnessed huge changes in my skin!

    Thanks again for sharing good health 🙂

    • That sounds so good… sure thing that it makes me hungry 😉 Thank you for sharing.  I normally slather coconut oil right after and it feels to good.  Love the though of chocolate on my skin though 😉

  • bobi

    Seriously? – it’s spelled “hippie” since you don’t know if her hips are in fact… 

    This sounds a bit like what massage does for you and what I’ve found is that most western doctors will hardly acknowledge the benefits. 

  • Seriously?

    “Toxins” = Red flag. What exactly are these mysterious “toxins” that are being discussed? Oh, you don’t know? Yeah. Sounds like pseudoscience to me. The majority of your “facts” are anything but factual. You intentionally use vague terms like “stimulates” and “toxins” to sound scientific when in reality your facts are anything but.

    (Not that anyone who would actually be interested in such a product would let a silly thing like scientific veracity get in the way of the removal of evil toxins through the power of the magic hippy brush…)

  • Before brush your skin, Take little bucket of warm water add salt in that and make the salt to dissolve and place your feet for 30 minutes. After that using brushes or scrab stone, scrub gently. This make the feet soft.

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  • This post is so helpful! I bought a brush this week but was wondering the best ways to dry brush my skin.

    I workout in the morning, and shower right after. Would you recommend dry brushing between my workout and shower, or before my workout?

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

    • Amanda, certainly after the workout and before shower.  When you workout you sweat, so removing the toxins that come out with it is the best way to do it. 

      Happy New Year to you too! 

      • brenda

        how about if I like to go in the sauna Is it good to do it before or after

        • Before is better. That way you will wash off the dead cells while enjoying the heat and washing after the sauna. However, if you are just starting, I would wait after, because, if you are not careful and get a rough brush, you might create small scratches, which means that when you sweat in the sauna, they will sting.

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