Has anyone have experience with dry brushing the body and face in order to exfoliate? I seem to have build up everywhere no matter what I do, whether it be soap or scrubbing. Scrubbing only makes my skin red, yet when I scrape my nails across my skin, I have a bunch of dead skin.
I am thinking of getting a natural bristle brush for the skin. I have a wash cloth at home I can use on my face.
I am not sure if it will work though, and whether it will simply irritate my skin more. What do you think?
Here are some tips I got: http://drybrushing.net/ http://www.epicureantable.com/articles/adrybrush.htm
If I could choose one bodycare tip to keep out of all, it'd be dry-brushing. It truly helps detoxify (i.e. deep-cleanse the pores), stimulate (improves circulation and encourages lymphatic drainage; this, in turn, helps reduce inflammation and thus is a powerful tool to combat cellulite!) and exfoliate at the same time. I'm a model and it is one of the most valuable tools in preparation for any job, or just the bikini season ;-). Its a ctually something I learnt from my grandparents; dry-brushing has been used for centuries in both Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, especially in conjunction with sauna-bathing.
The best kind of body brush has short, firm, tightly packed bristles, usually called a 'cactus brush'. I can recommend Elemis skin brush, which is the one I use. The way to do it is to make vigorous, upward, sweeping strokes starting at your ankles, and working your way up to your thighs and buttocks. Always brush in a direction towards your heart. Use a gentler upward motion on your arms, and brush the stomach in a circular motion.
DO NOT, however, use a rough body brush on your chest/decollete area, neck, or face! The skin in these areas is a lot more delicate! I cannot stress this enough; the brush is a body brush. I'll come back to any brushing for the face/neck/chest area later.
After brushing, a heat bath is very beneficial - at least a moderately hot shower, at best a sauna or a steam room. If your gym has a sauna/steam room, take your brush with you to the gym. The heat will help the skin sweat, eliminating impurities and further stimulating the circulation; a quick, cold shower afterwards will bring even more benefit.
In Russia, it is common practice to use bundles of birch branches (with leaves) to stimulate (whack, perhaps, is a more appropriate term...sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips...ahem, ok, I'll stop here...!) the skin and encourage sweating.
It will not irritate the skin on your body; on the contrary, brushing helps cleans the skin and eliminate toxins and irritants, which build up a lot, especially when you're living in a city with masses of pollution. Just make sure you are caring for your brush i.e. cleaning it regularly, at least once a week.
As for your face, neck, and chest area, you can use a face-towel or a muslin cloth to lightly stimulate and exfoliate the skin, but make sure you do so in light, circular motions, and in conjunction with an emollient cleanser/exfoliator. You can also use oil - apply an unsaturated oil (olive, avocado, rosehip, jojoba...) to the face, dip your washcloth into moderately hot water, wring out and press to face to steam for a few minutes; then, rub the oil of with GENTLE circular motions. This is also known as the oil cleansing method, and works very well to cleanse the skin.
You can also purchase small, soft brushes specially made for the face and neck; there is also a device called the Clarisonic you can buy; I haven't tried it myself, but have a friend who raves about it.
Also, when it comes to exfoliants, you should only use products meant for the face - i.e. the exfoliating particles should be fine. If you make your own products, homemade scrubs made with sugar or salt crystals and oil are NOT suitable for the face; over-exfoliation and use of very abrasive exfoliants really stresses the skin and leads to premature ageing. If you do wish to make your own face scrub, you should use something like oatmeal, or very fine almond meal.
Also, whereas you can, and should, brush your body every day, you shouldn't exfoliate your chest/neck/face skin more than three times a week, two times if you have sensitive skin.
Definitely get a body brush for your body, but stick with the washcloth on your face/neck/chest, and be gentle!
I do dry brushing everyday. It has really really helped me, because my skin didn't want to release dead cells. I really like the ecotools brush from target. It is bamboo. Do not expect to be perfectly smooth the first week, it took me 8 days before my skin was smooth and soft. Also do not brush hard, the goal is not to get every flake off in one sitting. It also helped me to use a salycic acid soap, which dissolves the dead skin and follow with Shea butter after.
You could give skin brushing a go, but I would also look at diet.
Naturopaths traditionally recommended dry brushing as a way to stimulate lymphatic drainage. I don't know if it actually does this! I can see that it's bound to brush away loose skin flakes and it's hard to see any harm in this.
I'm not sure however that it's possible or desirable to remove all dead skin - as I understand it, the outer layer of skin cells (i.e. the dead ones) serves to protect the live layers of skin beneath.
In my experience, the best way to healthy skin is through diet. If your skin is flaking too much, I would look at diet. It could be all sorts of things, including thyroid. I get flaking skin if I eat gluten and if I stop, it goes away. I also found vitamin C supplementation to reduce thick layers of horny skin on my feet - they are nice and smooth now.
I love dry brushing, mostly because it's like an early morning wake-up self massage. It's very gentle and because I don't use any kind of body wash or soap it is a nice way to get smooth without adding any products. Even when my skin has been blemish-free and in really good shape, it always feels better and smoother after a dry brush. It is a particularly useful tool though when the weather is changing, which is when I tend to get dry patches (fall to winter in particular).
I use a dry cotton dish cloth for my face, and actually a horse grooming brush for the rest of my body. A gentle polishing brush works really well- they are nice and big so you can get a large surface area quickly.