Dry body brushing is an ancient skincare practice that has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits. This simple yet effective technique involves using a natural or synthetic bristle brush to gently massage the skin in a circular motion, promoting health and beauty benefits.

Benefits of Dry Body Brushing

woman brushing arm before shower


Dry brushing helps to remove dead skin cells, revealing a healthier and more radiant complexion. This exfoliation process also unclogs pores and allows skincare products to penetrate the skin more effectively.

Exfoliation is a key component of a well-rounded skincare routine. It involves the removal of dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin, allowing for the regeneration of new, healthy cells. There are two main types of exfoliation: chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliation uses acids or enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells, while physical exfoliation employs mechanical methods, like scrubs or brushes, to manually slough off dead cells. Dry brushing falls into the physical category.

Dry brushing is an effective physical exfoliation method that helps to remove dead skin cells and promote a healthier, more radiant complexion. By gently brushing the skin's surface with a natural bristle brush, you can lift away dead cells, revealing fresher, smoother skin underneath. This process also helps to unclog pores, which can become blocked by excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. Clearing these blockages can reduce the occurrence of breakouts and blackheads, leading to clearer, more balanced skin.

Another advantage of exfoliating with dry brushing is that it enhances the effectiveness of other skincare products. When dead skin cells and debris are removed from the skin's surface, skincare products, such as moisturizers and serums, can penetrate more deeply and work more efficiently. This increased absorption can lead to better overall results from your skincare routine.

Incorporating dry brushing into your skincare regimen can contribute to a brighter, smoother, and more youthful complexion. By regularly exfoliating, you can support your skin's natural renewal process, maintain a healthy glow, and optimize the performance of your other skincare products.

Lymphatic System Support

dry body brush with massage nodules

The gentle pressure applied during dry brushing can stimulate the lymphatic system, aiding in the removal of toxins and waste products from the body.

The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in maintaining our body's overall health. It is a network of vessels, tissues, and organs that work together to transport lymph, a clear fluid containing white blood cells, proteins, and waste products, throughout the body. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to defend the body against infections and diseases while also removing toxins and waste products from our cells.

Dry brushing is believed to support the lymphatic system by applying gentle pressure to the skin's surface, stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluid. This process assists in the removal of waste products and toxins, which can become stagnant in the lymphatic system if not properly circulated. By promoting lymphatic drainage, dry brushing can help to boost our immune system, reduce inflammation, and improve overall wellness.

The lymphatic system doesn't have its own pump, like the circulatory system does with the heart. Instead, it relies on body movement and external pressure to move lymph fluid throughout the body. Dry brushing serves as an external pressure, encouraging lymphatic fluid movement, and ultimately aiding in toxin elimination. By incorporating dry brushing into your daily routine, you can support your lymphatic system's functionality and contribute to a healthier, more resilient body.

Improved Circulation

body brushing arms

By stimulating blood flow to the skin's surface, dry brushing can help to improve circulation and overall skin health.

Circulation is the process by which blood is transported throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to our cells while also removing waste products. Good circulation is essential for maintaining optimal health, as it ensures that our organs and tissues receive the nourishment they need to function properly. Furthermore, it has a direct impact on skin health, as the skin relies on a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients for repair, regeneration, and maintaining a youthful appearance.

Dry brushing is an effective way to stimulate blood flow and improve circulation, particularly in the skin's surface layers. When you gently brush your skin with a dry body brush, the friction created by the bristles and the pressure applied to the skin cause blood vessels to dilate. This dilation increases blood flow to the area, bringing oxygen and vital nutrients to the skin cells. In turn, this supports the skin's natural repair processes and promotes overall skin health.

Increased circulation from dry brushing also contributes to the even distribution of nutrients across the skin and helps to flush out toxins and waste products. This detoxification process can lead to a more radiant complexion and may even help to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections, such as dark spots or uneven skin tone.

Improved blood flow can aid in the production of collagen, a structural protein that provides elasticity and firmness to the skin. Collagen production naturally declines as we age, resulting in the formation of wrinkles and sagging skin. By encouraging blood flow to the skin's surface, dry brushing can help to support collagen synthesis, potentially delaying the visible signs of aging.

Incorporating dry brushing into your self-care routine can have a significant impact on your skin's overall health and appearance by promoting better circulation. By ensuring that your skin receives the necessary oxygen and nutrients, you can enjoy a more youthful, radiant complexion and support your skin's long-term well-being.

Reduced Cellulite

woman using body brush on legs

Some people claim that dry brushing can help reduce the appearance of cellulite by breaking down fat deposits and promoting smoother skin.

Cellulite is a common cosmetic concern that affects many people, particularly women. It appears as dimpled or uneven skin, often referred to as an "orange peel" or "cottage cheese" texture, and is most frequently found on the thighs, buttocks, and hips. Cellulite occurs when fat deposits beneath the skin push against the connective tissue, causing the skin's surface to appear bumpy or puckered. Factors such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development and severity of cellulite.

Some proponents of dry brushing believe that it can help to reduce the appearance of cellulite by breaking down fat deposits and promoting smoother, more even skin. The theory is that the friction and pressure generated by the dry brushing process can stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage in the affected areas. This increased circulation may help to break down and flush out the excess fat and toxins that contribute to cellulite formation.

Additionally, dry brushing can help to exfoliate the skin and improve its overall texture, which may make cellulite appear less noticeable. By sloughing off dead skin cells and promoting the growth of new, healthy cells, dry brushing can lead to a smoother, more toned appearance.

It's important to note, however, that the effectiveness of dry brushing as a cellulite treatment has not been conclusively proven by scientific research. While some individuals may experience positive results from incorporating dry brushing into their self-care routine, others may not notice a significant improvement in cellulite appearance. Nonetheless, the potential benefits of dry brushing, such as improved circulation, exfoliation, and lymphatic support, can contribute to healthier, more radiant skin overall.

To achieve the best results, it's recommended to combine dry brushing with other lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper hydration. By addressing the underlying factors that contribute to cellulite formation, you can work towards a smoother, more toned appearance and support your skin's overall health and well-being.

Dr. Eric Berg includes a segment on dry brushing in this video on getting rid of your cellulite:

Stress Relief

body brushing for mental health

The relaxing ritual

calming and soothing effect on the body and mind.

In today's fast-paced world, stress is an all-too-common issue that affects many people. Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health, leading to a wide range of issues, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even weakened immune function. Finding effective ways to manage and alleviate stress is crucial for maintaining overall well-being.

Dry body brushing is a relaxing ritual that can serve as a form of stress relief, providing a calming and soothing effect on the body and mind. The gentle, rhythmic motions of the brush, coupled with the sensation of the bristles on the skin, can have a meditative quality, helping to quiet the mind and foster a sense of inner peace. By focusing on the present moment and the sensations experienced during dry brushing, you can temporarily disconnect from the worries and concerns that contribute to stress.

In addition to its mental relaxation benefits, dry brushing can also promote physical relaxation. The stimulation of blood flow and lymphatic drainage during the process can help to relieve muscle tension and ease soreness, contributing to a more relaxed and comfortable state. This physical relaxation can, in turn, further support mental relaxation and stress relief.

Incorporating dry body brushing into your self-care routine can provide a valuable opportunity to practice mindfulness, focus on your body's sensations, and cultivate a sense of inner calm. By regularly engaging in this soothing ritual, you can enjoy not only the numerous skin health benefits but also the potential to reduce stress and enhance your overall well-being.

How to Choose the Right Dry Body Brush

Selecting the right dry body brush is essential for a comfortable and effective dry brushing experience. A suitable brush will provide the necessary exfoliation without causing irritation or discomfort. When choosing a dry body brush, consider the following factors:

Bristle Material

Look for a brush made from natural materials (natural fibers), like sisal fibers, jute, or boar bristles. These materials are gentle on the skin and provide effective exfoliation without being overly abrasive. Synthetic brushes may be too harsh on the skin and could cause irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin or first-time users.

The very popular G. Tox ultimate dry brush by Goop is made with sisal fibers that come from the agave plant. It's handle is wood making it fully biodegradable and it's marketed as an energizing dry body brush for glowing skin.

best dry brushes goop tox ultimate

Natural Bristles vs. Synthetic Bristles

When choosing a dry body brush, one of the key factors to consider is the type of bristle material. Bristles can be made from either natural or synthetic materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here, we compare the two options to help you make an informed decision:

Natural Bristles


  1. Gentleness: Natural bristles, such as sisal, jute, or boar bristles, tend to be gentler on the skin compared to their synthetic counterparts. This makes them suitable for most skin types, including sensitive skin.
  2. Eco-friendliness: Brushes made from natural materials are often more environmentally friendly, as they are biodegradable and come from renewable sources.
  3. Effective Exfoliation: Natural bristles provide effective exfoliation without being overly abrasive, helping to remove dead skin cells and promote a smoother, more radiant complexion.


  1. Maintenance: Natural bristle brushes may require more care and maintenance, as they can be more prone to wear and tear. They need to be cleaned regularly and dried thoroughly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
  2. Price: Brushes with natural bristles can be more expensive than those with synthetic bristles, as natural materials are often considered higher quality.

Synthetic Bristles

agave plants and sisal fibers


  1. Durability: Synthetic bristles, usually made from nylon or other plastic materials, tend to be more durable and long-lasting compared to natural bristles.
  2. Easy Maintenance: Brushes with synthetic bristles are often easier to clean and maintain, as they are less prone to damage from moisture and can be washed with soap and water.
  3. Affordability: Synthetic bristle brushes are generally more affordable than natural bristle brushes, making them accessible to a wider range of budgets.


  1. Harshness: Synthetic bristles can be more abrasive on the skin, potentially causing irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin or who are new to dry brushing.
  2. Environmental Impact: Synthetic materials are typically not biodegradable and may contribute to plastic waste, which can have negative environmental consequences.

When selecting a dry body brush, consider your personal preferences, skin type, and environmental concerns. Natural bristle brushes are generally recommended for their gentleness and eco-friendliness, but synthetic bristle brushes may be a suitable option for those seeking durability and affordability. By weighing the pros and cons of each type, you can choose the best dry body brush for your unique needs and preferences.

Bristle Firmness

feeling the bristles for softness

Choose a brush with bristles that are firm yet flexible. This will ensure that the brush is effective at exfoliating and promoting circulation while minimizing the risk of irritation. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to start with a brush with soft bristles and gradually progress to a firmer one as your skin becomes more accustomed to the dry brushing process. Remember that the goal is to gently exfoliate and stimulate the skin, not to cause pain or discomfort.

Handle Length

Choose a brush with a long handle to reach those hard-to-reach areas, like your back, shoulders, and lower legs. A long handle will allow you to comfortably and effectively brush these areas without straining or overextending your arms. Some dry body brushes also come with detachable handles, allowing you to switch between a long handle for hard-to-reach areas and a shorter one for easier grip when working on more accessible parts of the body.

Additional Features

Consider any additional features that might enhance your dry brushing experience. Some brushes come with a strap for a secure grip, making it easier to maintain control while brushing. Others may include a textured surface or massage nodes to provide additional stimulation and relaxation benefits. Some have a detachable handle that may help get to hard to reach places like your mid-back.

By carefully considering these factors, you can select the ideal dry body brush for your needs and preferences. With the right brush in hand, you can enjoy the numerous benefits of dry brushing and make it an enjoyable and effective addition to your self-care routine.

How to Dry Body Brush

start brushing at feet and work upwards

Follow these steps for a successful dry body brushing experience:

The Correct Dry Brushing Method


Before you begin, make sure your skin is clean and dry. It's best to dry brush before showering, as this allows you to wash away the exfoliated dead skin cells afterward.

Starting Point

Begin at your feet, and work your way up the body. This approach helps to promote proper lymphatic drainage and blood flow, as the lymphatic system flows towards the heart.

Brushing Motion

Use gentle, circular motions to brush your skin. Apply light to moderate pressure, adjusting as needed based on your comfort level. Avoid pressing too hard, as this can cause irritation and discomfort.


Always brush towards the heart using upward strokes, following the natural lymphatic flow and circulation. This encourages proper drainage and supports overall skin health. For example, when brushing your legs, start at your ankles with upward motion and work your way up towards your thighs and hips.

Areas to Avoid

Be cautious when brushing sensitive areas, such as the breasts, face, or any areas with broken skin or irritation. You can use a dry brush with soft bristles, a face brush, or skip these areas altogether if needed.

body brush with candle and spa accessories

Frequency and Duration


For best results, aim to dry brush daily or every other day. However, if you have very sensitive skin or are new to dry brushing, you may want to start with a less frequent routine and gradually increase your dry brushing sessions as your skin adjusts.


Each dry brushing session should last about 5 to 10 minutes. This timeframe allows you to thoroughly cover the entire body while avoiding over-exfoliation or irritation during your self-care routine.

Check out this 15 minute video on a full body lymphatic draining dry brushing routine from a professional physical therapist:

Tips for Successful Dry Body Brushing

Always brush on dry skin, prior to showering or bathing.

Clean your brush regularly to remove dead skin cells and bacteria.

Moisturize your skin after each session to keep it hydrated and supple.

Be gentle – pressing too hard can cause irritation or damage to the skin.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects

woman brushing leg

While dry body brushing is generally safe, there are some precautions to keep in mind:

Avoid brushing on broken or irritated skin, as this can exacerbate the issue.

If you have more delicate skin, start with dry brush bristles that are softer and gradually work your way up to a firmer one.

Watch how your skin reacts. Discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions, like redness, itching, or inflammation.

In Conclusion

Dry body brushing is a simple and effective way to promote healthier skin, improved circulation, and overall well-being. By incorporating this practice into your daily routine, you can reap the numerous benefits it has to offer. Always choose the right brush for your skin needs, use the correct technique, and enjoyable the experience!

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Questions and Answers

Can I dry brush my face?

While some people do dry brush their face, it's important to use a brush specifically designed for facial use, as the skin on the face is more delicate than the rest of the body.

How long does it take to see results from dry body brushing?

Results can vary from person to person. Some individuals may notice improvements in skin texture and appearance within a few weeks, while others may take longer to see noticeable changes.

Is dry brushing safe for pregnant women?

It is generally safe for pregnant women to dry brush, but it's always best to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new skincare routine during pregnancy.

Can I use a dry body brush on wet skin?

Dry body brushing is most effective when performed on dry skin. Brushing wet skin can cause the bristles to become less effective at exfoliating and may lead to skin irritation.

How do I clean my dry body brush?

To clean your dry body brush, gently wash the bristles with warm water and a mild soap. Rinse thoroughly and allow the brush to air dry, bristle-side down, in a well-ventilated area.