Does Dry Brushing Work? The Experts Explain This Exfoliation Trend
Lately, it seems like all the cool people are dry brushing their skin. I’ve always thought it was a gimmick because how different can it be from regular ol’ exfoliating in the shower? That’s why I reached out to some experts to see if it’s not B.S. and if it’s something I should start doing.
For starters, dry brushing is a mechanical exfoliating technique where you brush your skin with a brush (typically made of natural fibers) before you hop in the shower. The two main reasons people love it is for the exfoliation and because it’s said to stimulate the lymphatic system and boost circulation.
As it turns out, dry brushing isn’t better or worse than wet exfoliation—it’s just different, says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD.
“Dry brushing removes the superficial epidermis and because there is no steam or heat involved from water, it can be more aggressive than exfoliating with a washcloth or loofah in the shower,” says aesthetic nurse specialist Shay Moinuddin MHA, RN, CANS of The Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
The key is to take your skin type into account. If you have normal to oily skin or have a lot of dead or rough skin, then dry brushing might be a great option for you. On the other hand, you might want to avoid it if you have super sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea.
You also want to make sure to use a “light to moderate touch” when dry brushing, says Dr. Downie. This will help you avoid any irritation.
Additionally, dry brushing could help your skin absorb moisture better too because the dead cells are sloughed off before you hop in the shower, says New York City dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD.
Despite my initial thoughts about dry brushing, I decided to give it a try for the sake of research. I bought a dry brush off of Amazon for $9 (bless you, Prime!) and made a commitment to dry brush before every shower for a few weeks.
Honestly, I’m not really a fan. It could be the cheap brush I bought, but I find dry brushing to be really uncomfortable. It’s tolerable on my legs and arms, but it’s not fun when I get to my belly and back. I guess my skin is more sensitive than I thought. I think I’ll stick to my sugar scrubs and exfoliating bath gloves for now, but it’s good to know that dry brushing isn’t just a gimmick.