Dry Brushing Vs. Exfoliating

A stock photograph of a detailed close up of a sponge.
Exfoliating and dry brushing help remove dead skin cells. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

We all know that exfoliation can transform skin from dry and flaky to smooth and radiant. There are several techniques, such as exfoliation and dry brushing that slough off dry cells and help improve the appearance of your skin. Knowing the techniques and benefits of each method can help you decide which one will help you achieve and maintain your healthy glow.

About Exfoliation

Dry brushing involves using a brush to gently rub over the body before bathing to remove dead skin cells and stimulate circulation. While dry brushing is a method of exfoliation because it involves removing old skin cells, exfoliation most commonly refers to wet exfoliation, meaning water is involved in the process. Wet exfoliation involves the use of water and an exfoliating apparatus, such as a washcloth.

Products and Tools

Brushes designed for dry brushing should be easy to hold and are often made with soft bristles to avoid irritation. Bella Sugar recommends finding a brush with natural or nylon bristles. There are long-handled varieties for use on the back and other hard-to-reach areas. A number of wet exfoliating tools are available, including washcloths, loofah sponges, skin scrubs or exfoliating gloves. The type used depends on the condition of your skin and your desired results. Many exfoliating scrubs feature aromatherapy or skin-softening additives.

Considerations

While both methods can be utilized to remove dead skin cells, deciding between exfoliation and dry brushing may depend upon your age, climate and skin type. For example, dry brushing may be too harsh for those with sensitive or older skin. Because water acts as a lubricant, exfoliating can reduce irritation for those with thin or easily-irritated skin. Those who live in an arid climate where the skin also tends to be drier may also want to opt for wet exfoliation to help infuse moisture. Dry brushing may be more beneficial for those with younger, oilier skin or people who live in humid climates.

Benefits

Dry brushing is generally more effective than wet exfoliation because water causes the skin to plump up, making it more difficult to shed as many dead skin cells. Dry brushing promotes lymphatic drainage and stimulates circulation in the body, which may temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Sensitive skin may be more tolerant of wet exfoliation, a gentler method of ridding the body of dead skin. Using a skin scrub along with a loofah or washcloth can help to soften skin for more effective sloughing.

Warning

Some areas of the skin may be too sensitive to utilize the dry brushing method. These include the face and décolletage, or chest area. These areas may become irritated by dry brushing. Exfoliation is the preferred method for these delicate areas.

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