The Benefits of Dry Body Brushing and Why You Should Be Doing It
Dry body brushing has long been acknowledged as a way of improving the appearance of cellulite. But there are other benefits to regular brushing too
And whilst it can’t make cellulite disappear, by stimulating and boosting circulation and encouraging lymph flow brushing helps metabolise trapped fluid and toxins in the fat layer which contribute to the dimpling effect of cellulite.
Cellulite forms when fat cells beneath the skin push up against the connective tissue causing the ‘orange peel’ or puckering you can see. It’s usually found on the thighs, bottom, tummy and hips, but you can also get cellulite on your arms and it has nothing to do with diet or exercise – and sadly, it affects 90 percent of all women.
Unlike men, who have a more rigid, criss-cross connective cell structure, women’s fat cells are held in far less restrictive, chamber-like structures which allow the fat cells to push nearer to the surface.
And rather than being directly connected to your lifestyle or your weight, your real likelihood of developing cellulite depends on genetics, hormones, how much collagen and oestrogen you have in your skin, and your age. And even though most women do have cellulite, how it shows will differ from person-to-person.
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The great thing about dry body brushing is that it takes minimal commitment but will give visible results in just a couple of weeks. Just three to five minutes a day is all you need, ideally in the morning before you shower to give you a greater energy boost to get you through the day.
The first thing to do is invest in a good brush, with natural bristles (no plastic nodules allowed). Start by brushing your stomach in a clockwise movement which will help stimulate your pelvic lymph nodes, before moving to your legs.
Brush in upward strokes, initially from your ankles working your way upwards, always including shins, calves and front and back of thighs and bum, and always brush towards your heart. Brush the arms upwards from forearm towards the armpit where there is a collection of vital lymph nodes.
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You can decide on the pressure but try and be as firm as possible for best results. For anyone with sensitive skin it might be worth trying to build up tolerance by brushing just a few times a week initially. For anyone with a skin condition such as psoriasis, sadly it’s probably better to avoid dry brushing at all in order to avoid aggravating the condition.
Dry brushing will also remove dead skin cells and encourage new cell growth meaning your skin will soon start to look healthier, and the improvement to your circulation will also help its appearance. For some, the methodic brushing action is a stress reliever, but for most, the secondary benefit is just generally feeling better and the added benefit of having healthy, glowing skin.
Brushing done, make sure to jump in the shower to remove the dead skin cells. If you can, turn the shower to cold just before you step out to boost circulation further. It’s also important to slather on a moisturiser post-brushing to keep skin soft and supple.
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Drink Plenty of Water
Although it may sound perverse, it’s important to keep skin hydrated. Dehydration can cause the skin to become thinner and weaken, and when the skin is thin it tends to show cellulite more.
Exercise cannot eliminate cellulite but it will decrease the overall body fat percentage and sculpt muscles helping to improve the appearance of dimples. An added benefit is of course that exercising will also help improve circulation, so will eliminate toxins more effectively and prevent more cellulite forming.
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Detox Body Brush, £21 Elemis
Natural Cactus Body Brush, £26 Aromatherapy Associates
Dry Brush, £18 Esker
This massage oil is a completely natural treatment for ‘orange-peel’ legs, thighs and buttocks. It is vitamin rich and has an invigorating grapefruit and cypress oil fragrance. Everything in this oil is there for a purpose. And it works. Cellulite Oil, £27.25 Weleda
Caffeine causes the blood vessels to constrict and fat cells to temporarily shrink making them less visible, which is why so many anti-cellulite treatments will include it. Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, £46 Sol Janeiro
Serums and topical creams can’t reduce cellulite so don’t expect miracles, but they can temporarily help to smooth skin, and will help strengthen skin so the cellulite is less noticeable. Retinol helps to increase collagen production and so it makes sense to pick a body cream containing retinol to improve the skin’s appearance. Skin-Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment, £33 Paula’s Choice