Beauty: The Benefits of Dry Brushing, by Kristen Ma

We’re in the last leg of winter, and if you are like me, your skin has taken quite the battering from the cold, dry season. Solution? A homemade scrub made with sugar and olive oil? Hmmm… A once-over with my limp shower puff? Nuh-uh. It’s time to bring out the heavy-weight of exfoliation: dry brushing. There is a time for gentleness, and a time to take charge – and when we reach the end of winter and prepare ourselves for glorious spring is when we need some real renewal.

For those of you who don’t know, dry brushing is the act of brushing your unmoistened skin with a natural bristle brush. Mine is made with sisal, a tough natural fiber. I’m a wuss when it comes to dry brushing as it can feel pretty intense on my delicate skin. But it’s worth it. Dry brushing is not only excellent for exfoliating dead skin; it’s also perfect for increasing circulation, and therefore effective for decreasing the appearance of cellulite.

This makes sense according to Ayurveda too, as Kapha stagnation is stimulated by the friction found topically on the skin. Actually, one treatment for Kapha is a massage done with dry powders instead of oil, to counteract this dosha’s wet quality, as well as really invigorate the blood system and mobilize our fat cells. And this dry on dry treatment, in essence, is what we are doing for ourselves when we dry brush each day before jumping in the shower.

I am not consistent with my dry brushing because, as I said, it can feel harsh on my skin, but I also know that if I stick with doing it for about a week my skin actually becomes accustomed to it. While on day one you may find it painful even to scrub with the lightest pressure (barely touching the brush to your skin), by day five you will be brushing hard with ample pressure. It’s just about getting through day two, three and four.

So, for those of you craving smooth skin in prep for a spring body tune-up, try buying a dry brush. They are available at any health food store, or at Pure + Simple. Remember, water will damage natural fiber bristles, so don’t use your brush in the shower and don’t try to rinse it to clean it. Simply tap it hard to shake off the skin cell residue. Also to keep it hygienic, don’t share – make sure your partner has his/her own.

Brush in circles towards the heart for optimal detoxification (bringing dirty blood back from the extremities to the heart to be filtered) – avoiding the face. Then jump into the bath or shower to rinse off all the exfoliated bits of skin. It’s a wonderful way to start the day, and a great addition to any detox you decide to do. Dry brushing is definitely the most effective way to smooth out your skin by yourself. It laughs in the face of loofahs and apricot scrubs!

Kristen MaKristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine.