Winter in Maine is one of the most beautiful times of year, with epic white vistas and crisp clean air. But it’s also a time when dry air can make skin feel tight, dry and stretched thin. If you find yourself slathering on a ton of lotion and wondering if there is a better way to keep your skin healthy during the driest season of the year, then consider dry brushing.
Dry brushing is an ancient practice dating back thousands of years, though it’s uncertain when or where it began as a practice. It is the act of gently brushing your skin before bathing in order to get rid of dead skin cells and promote general well-being.
Adherents to this practice claim that the skin eliminates up to one-third of the body’s waste such as dead skin, sweat and toxins, so dry brushing can, through the manual action of brushing, improve blood flow by helping to move lymphatic fluids, which in turn can help accelerate the process to rid the body of toxins. Dead skin cells are brushed away leaving a youthful glow of fresh new skin to shine. The gentle brushing action can help move fluids through the lymphatic system help drain it. Some say dry brushing can stimulate collagen growth, which can give the appearance of plumper skin and even smooth out cellulite.
Dry brushing is simple to do and, aside from the cost of a natural bristle brush (boar bristle is best), is free. To begin, get undressed and, starting at your feet, begin to gently brush in long strokes toward your heart. Make sure you cover every inch of your skin. Using a brush with a long handle can help you brush those tough to reach spots like the middle of your back. Once you’ve done your legs, move on to your arms, starting at your hands and wrists and moving your strokes toward your heart. Then move on to your torso and back making sure that all strokes lead toward your heart.
When you’re done, jump in the shower to clean off any dead skin cells that are probably stuck to you after all that brushing. Experts recommend gently patting yourself dry and using a natural oil or lotion to keep your skin feeling soft and protected for the rest of the day.
After dry brushing daily for a week or more, you may begin to notice some amazing changes, such as smoother and healthier looking skin. If you happen to suffer from those annoying bumps on your arms and legs — chicken skin, as some call it — that might start to disappear as your skin is being exfoliated every morning. You may even notice that your skin visibly looks healthier and might even glow.
Winter skin doesn’t have to look cracked and dry and you definitely don’t have to spend a small fortune on buckets of lotion to fend off the effects of cold dry air. With five extra minutes of dry brushing added to your daily morning routine, you can reap some major glow benefits. Who doesn’t love that?
This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s March 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.