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    People On TikTok Are "Dry Brushing" Before Showering, And Experts Say It's One Of The Best Things You Can Do For Yourself

    The practice supposedly exfoliates and detoxes your skin.

    During one of my recent TikTok scrolls, I watched a video where the TikTokker asked, "You brush your hair and you brush your teeth, but do you brush your skin?" I mean, they had a point!

    Obama / Via

    What she was referring to when she said "brush your skin" was dry brushing — an ancient practice of using a stiff-bristled brush on your body for a variety of health benefits, such as exfoliation, blood circulation, and digestion help.

    After watching that video, I started to go down a rabbit hole and found that the #drybrushing tag on TikTok has over 40 million views with thousands of people posting videos of themselves giving tutorials on how they dry brush.

    The dry brushing hashtag on TikTok's views
    Fabiana Buontempo

    I've heard of this practice before, but I haven't tried it or done my research on its benefits yet. So, as someone who loves to try any sort of health and beauty practice, I figured this was the perfect time to give dry brushing a go.

    In addition to trying it out myself, I also spoke to New York Times bestselling author Katie Silcox, who holds an MA in Ayurvedic medicine and is the founder of the Shakti School, to learn about the history of dry brushing, how to properly do it, and its many supposed health benefits.

    Katie Silcox posing in a white blouse
    Katie Silcox

    For starters, Katie explained what exactly dry brushing is. "Dry brushing is a tool [using a dry bristle brush on dry skin] for the revivification of the lymphatic system — a core piece of our physiology that not only gives our skin a glow, but more importantly it helps boost our immune system," she told BuzzFeed. "It also increases circulation and can boost overall metabolic health."

    Up-close view of a brush isolated against white background
    Javier Zayas Photography / Getty Images / Via Getty Images

    Although dry brushing has recently gained popularity on the Gen Z app, it's actually been around since ancient times. "Historically speaking, dry brushing has been a part of beautification and health rituals in a variety of cultures for thousands of years," Katie told BuzzFeed.

    "We have seen it in the rituals of ancient Egyptians, Scandinavians, Indians, Chinese, and Native Americans — each of them used brushes, sand, and other tools to awaken the lifeforce in our skin," she said. 

    Luckily, I've had a bristle brush in my bathroom for the longest time, so I was happy to finally put it to use. Katie said it's best to dry brush right before you take a shower or bath, with an organic, sustainable brush made from soft natural bristles, not synthetic ones. I wasn't sure how organic my brush was, but for the purpose of this story, I just used what I had.

    The author holding up a bristle brush in her shower
    Fabiana Buontempo

    If you're not sure where to find a brush for dry brushing, there are plenty of affordable options online that come in various sizes. 

    Katie explained that there is a specific way to dry brush. "Start at your feet and work your way upward. Brush in a circular motion, always in the direction of your heart. This will help increase blood flow throughout the body," she told BuzzFeed.

    Author holding brush to her bare leg
    Fabiana Buontempo

    "Try to brush for at least three minutes, working your way up to five minutes. After showering, make sure to lather yourself with a very hydrating moisturizer," Katie said.

    Before my shower one morning, I worked my brush in circular motions starting at my feet and working my way up to my stomach, like Katie instructed. Then I did the same motions on the other side before moving onto my upper body.

    Author holding brush to her bare leg
    Fabiana Buontempo

    I actually really loved the feeling of the dry bristles on my dry skin. It felt like I was getting a really good exfoliation — something I admittedly don't do often enough to my skin. 

    The reason why it's instructed to dry brush in circular motions, Katie said, is that, "Our lymphatics flow in a particular direction — always toward the heart and groin (key filtration sites)."

    "Therefore, we want to use downward strokes from the head, arms, and neck into the chest region. And long, upward strokes from the feet, legs, and belly into the heart and groin area," she told BuzzFeed.

    From there, I took my shower as usual and then made sure to lather myself with a rich body lotion once I dried off. All I can say is wowww, my skin felt baby smooth and plump! I could easily see why TikTok loves doing this as part of their before-shower routine.

    The author applying body lotion to her arm
    Fabiana Buontempo

    I was eager to make dry brushing a part of my everyday routine, but Katie explained that it is possible to overdo it.

    The Roku Channel / Via

    "It's best to dry brush once a day, particularly in the springtime. However, you can overdo it. Although dry brushing is usually great for everyone, if you have naturally dry skin — and/or it's in the middle of the winter — don’t do it more than once a day," she told BuzzFeed. 

    Although anyone can benefit from dry brushing, she also said to make sure you don't do it on your face or on sunburned, irritated, or broken skin. 

    After giving dry brushing a try — although the fact that my skin felt smooth to the touch afterward was enough for me to love the practice — I was still curious about its supposed health benefits.

    A person using a hold
    Kowalska-art / Getty Images/iStockphoto / Via Getty Images

    "Our lymph system, unlike our blood, has no central pump like the heart. It is a self-pumping system that, with poor health choices, disease, and aging, can lose its ability to move fluids through us efficiently," Katie told BuzzFeed. 

    "Enter dry brushing. This simple practice helps the lymph tissue move fluids more efficiently, aiding with the processing of toxins and excrement through the system," she said. 

    "Our lymph system also carries one of our immune system’s primary defense mechanisms — white blood cells. When a virus or bacteria find their way into our body, they are first met with our lymphatics," Katie told BuzzFeed.

    "If these fluids are moving and healthy, we can easily eliminate the toxin and keep it out of our blood. By dry brushing, we stimulate our hundreds of lymph nodes — the core filtration points for fighting off infections," she said.

    Katie also said that dry brushing could help with the digestive system.

    A person using a small brush on their skin
    Prostock-studio / Getty Images/iStockphoto / Via Getty Images

    "When we have healthy lymphatic flow, we have less toxic build-up and, most importantly, better overall total organ circulation. This helps us move blood, breath, and provides deep nutrition to all the cells in our body," she told BuzzFeed. 

    "Better circulation boosts organ function and supports our overall digestive process. Moreover, when our lymph is working well, we have less toxic waste to 'send' to the digestive system, offloading its job and boosting metabolic health," Katie explained.

    Now being more educated on how to dry brush, when to do it, how often, and what it's actually doing for my body — I'm eager to make it a part of my pre-shower routine. However, I personally plan to only dry brush a few times a week because I do have sensitive skin, and I want to make sure I'm not over-exfoliating.

    The author smiling and holding her dry brush
    Fabiana Buontempo

    Have you ever dry brushed before? What are your thoughts on it? Tell me in the comments below!