Something I've started doing again recently after a very, very long break from doing so, is dry body brushing. I use a sisal mitt which I picked up for 50p from a local shop, one side is sisal, a durable natural plant fibre and fairly scratchy, the other side is a soft flannel.
Every day for five to ten minutes I use the sisal side to rub myself down (obviously not my face) and follow with the flannel side to wipe away any dead skin cells I've brushed off.
Sounds bizarre I bet but let me explain why I've restarted this practise.
Dry body brushing is exfoliating, it helps slough off any dead skin cells still clinging on, almost immediately improving the appearance of the skin and better still allowing any body lotion to sink in a lot easier without having to get past layers of dead skin first.
It's also fairly similar to a light massage, depending of course how hard you rub and depending on which way you rub (they always recommend rubbing towards your heart) you can help move lymph fluids more speedily into your lymph nodes, helping along the process of detoxification (that's what your lymph glands do, eliminating waste)
This is a natural process of your body, but a helping hand can speed things up a little and at the same time it improves your circulation, which for me is something I'm always keen on improving.
They also say it can help improve the appearance of cellulite, although I'm sceptical, I suspect that the improvement in skin tone from daily exfoliating and the helping hand for your lymph nodes will make your skin look better over all. But I'm not sure it can do a great deal to the deposits of fat which make up cellulite. If I'm wrong feel free to drop me a note.
So how do you dry body brush?
Easy, first of all get yourself a sisal mitt or brush then follow these simple steps;
Before bathing or showering while your skin is still dry start working in gentle circular, upward motions, then longer, smoother strokes from your ankles upwards.
Always use movements towards the heart as the lymphatic fluid flows through the body towards the heart, so it's important that you brush in the same direction.
(Your back is the only exception to the rule you can brush from the neck down to the lower back.)
After you've finished with the ankles, move up to the lower legs, thighs, stomach, back and arms. Obviously it is wise to use softer strokes on the more sensitive skin around the chest and breasts, and of course never brush over inflamed skin, sores, sun-burnt skin, or skin cancer.
Once you've done your body brushing make sure you shower or bathe to wash away the dead skin cells. If you haven't got time for that, wiping yourself down with a clean towel or cloth should also get rid of any shed skin cells.
Top tip, try alternating temperatures in the shower from hot to cold to further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin. This will continue to improve your circulation and the condition of your skin. Though I'm no fan of cold water haha.
Then follow it up with a body moisturiser to nourish and condition further.
I've only recently restarted this habit, and already I've noticed areas that always feel a bit rougher are starting to feel a lot smoother. Most notably for me on my thighs and buttocks, and as I suffer from Raynauds anything that improve my circulation will get a thumbs up from me.
Next time on the blog