Many of us deal with daily or weekly frustrations with our skin, including acne and dull texture that robs us of our youthful glow. However, sometimes the answer isn’t more creams but a gentle, natural way of exfoliating.
The skin, like many of our body organs, regularly breathes through the pores. Products, perspiration and dead cells can clog those pores, reducing skin’s ability to eliminate toxins and renew itself. For optimal health, we need to regularly excrete as many toxins as possible, so in addition to drinking water and consuming enough fiber to help our system get rid of waste, we need to keep the skin healthy so it, too, can do its part in cleansing our bodies.
Have you heard of dry skin brushing? Used for centuries by many cultures, it’s another approach to exfoliating dead-skin cells to speed up cell turnover and open up the pathways of toxin release. According to Bella Online, Turkish bath rituals used a rough cloth mitt, and in ancient Greece and Rome a “strigiles,” which was shaped like a curved spoon, was used to scrape the skin prior to bathing.
According to author Loree Taylor Jordan, CCH, in her book Detox for Life, “One of the greatest gifts of health that you can give yourself is the gift of skin brushing. Dry skin brushing is one of the finest of all baths. No soap can wash the skin as clean as the new skin you have under the old.”
Most experts recommend you brush your skin prior to showering or bathing, so you can wash away the loosened dead skin cells afterward. There is a definite method to it. You start with a soft, dry brush, and use circular motions from your toes up, always moving the strokes toward the heart, to help encourage healthy blood flow and circulation. You can think of it this way: from your toes to your lower back brush up, and from the neck brush down. When brushing over your stomach, go from the left to the right to follow the natural digestive path. Apply only as much pressure as is comfortable-hard enough so that your skin turns lightly red, but not hard enough to cause pain or irritation. Brushing your whole body will typically take 3-5 minutes. (Be sure your skin is dry for the process.)
As far as products to use, you have a lot of choices. There are several dry-skin brushes out there. Most use natural, not synthetic bristles. Relaxus offers a spa dry brush with a handle to extend your reach. Tampico has as version with an even longer handle (removable) and natural bristles, available on Amazon. And Bernard Jensen carries one for under $7 with a long, beechwood handle and natural fibers. If you’re looking for more information on the technique, Dr. Berkowsky’s Vital Chi Quick-Start Brushing System delivers a book and VHS video, with a full explanation of the process, information how it benefits the skin and body, and precise directions for the appropriate strokes to maximize the detox effect.
“I began daily skin brushing and saw healthier looking skin in about 2 weeks,” says Nicole of Complete Natural Skin Care. “After another week, I noticed that the cellulite was actually less visible! This was possibly the best result yet!”
Have you tried dry skin brushing? Let us know your thoughts.