Give Dry Skin the Brush Off

Restore healthy glow

Give Dry Skin the Brush Off

Mid-winter and my skin felt so dry and rough, I was starting to feel like an armadillo. For help with my scaly problem, I called Absolute Spa in Vancouver and was advised that a dry-brushing treatment was just what I needed.

At the spa, aesthetician Tiffany Keslick explains dry brushing is a gentle treatment that not only removes dull, rough skin but also stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage. It helps the body detoxify by removing excess dead cells that hinder our natural ability to eliminate waste through the skin.

Dry brushing is more than just an effective way to keep skin toned and circulation brisk. Keslick says it helps to maintain alertness during the day and enhance sleep at night. Because the treatment is such an energy booster, she advises against brushing immediately before bed, as it may leave you wide-eyed for most of the night.

Treat yourself at home

While going to a spa is a luxurious way to experience dry brushing, it’s easy to make the treatment a part of your skin care routine at home. If you’d like to try it, there are a few things to keep in mind.

As recommended by Keslick, dry brush in the morning before bathing. Avoid fragile areas such as the face and breasts, as well as any open or irritated areas. If you have a skin condition, check with your health care practitioner before dry brushing.

Use the proper technique

Purchase a soft brush with natural bristles—avoid synthetic bristles, as they can be too hard on the skin. Some brushes come with a long removable handle to help target hard-to-reach areas. Look for them in stores that sell health and beauty products.

After body brushing, shower or bathe to rinse away all those loosened skin cells. Gently towel dry, then smooth on a nourishing vegetable oil such as almond or jojoba.

Landscaper Aymey Austdone has been dry brushing for over 20 years. Her outdoor work is especially tough on her skin. After a brisk body brush, Austdone retreats to the tub for a warm soak. Once she’s towelled off, she likes to apply a light splash of cold-pressed olive oil to her reinvigorated skin. “My muscles come back to life,” says Austdone.

Back at the spa I discovered how wonderful a good gentle scratch really feels—something, I realize, my pooch has known for a long time. I left with glowing, tingling skin and my very own body brush in hand—no more armadillo hide for me.

Body brushing basics

  1. Start with completely dry skin, and pass over each area two or three times. Always brush toward the heart to encourage proper blood and lymph drainage.
  2. Begin with the soles of your feet; use smooth, gentle strokes, moving from the toes to the heel.
  3. Carry on up the legs with long, upward strokes. Start on the inner calf and thigh, then move to the outer leg.
  4. Continue brush strokes over the buttocks and lower back.
  5. On the arms, start at your fingertips and continue to your armpit. (You may want to do an extra pass or two over the dry, often tough, knees and elbows.)
  6. Over your abdomen, work in gentle clockwise circles.
  7. Brush your back more easily with a little help from a friend. If you’re on your own, start at the nape of your neck and brush downward—this is where a long-handled brush comes in handy.
  8. Continue over the shoulders as far down your back as you can reach.
  9. Lastly, start just under the earlobes and brush down your neck to the front upper-chest area.

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