Love the Skin You’re In

Love the Skin You’re In <3

Through Pilates, I strive to help people feel strong and capable in their bodies. Being strong can really transform the way people feel about themselves. It can support, even grow self-love and acceptance, helping people to better love the skin they’re in.  Which is SO rewarding and exciting for me to see!

With all this love in the air, it seems appropriate that we actually spend a little time caring for the skin we live in. Not just by applying soothing lotions and protective sunscreens but by helping our skin to do it’s job better. So let’s take a closer look at the skin.

Your skin is complex. It’s a system made up of nerves, glands, and cell layers. When this system is healthy, it serves as a buffer to help protect the body from extreme temperatures and exposure to chemicals in the environment. It also plays a crucial role in detoxification.

You may have heard this fact before but skin is the largest of our organs. The average adult has about 22 square feet or about eight pounds of skin covering their body.

It’s kind of gross to think about but humans shed about 40,000 skin cells per minute. In one day you shed over fifty-seven million skin cells combined. You will have entirely new skin about once every 35 days.

But if your skin is overrun with toxins or dead skin cells (all fifty-seven million of them), it could inhibit your skin’s ability to eliminate waste efficiently. And this is where you can step in and give yourself a little added TLC with dry skin brushing.

What is dry skin brushing? It’s a simple method of lightly massaging the skin, with gentle brush patterns, which helps to stimulate your lymph fluids and encourage your body to eliminate waste effectively. Not only does the action of dry-brushing sweep off dead skin cells but it also activates your body’s natural process of waste removal via the lymph nodes. Dry brushing speeds up this natural process, and at the same time boosts circulation, delivering oxygenated blood to the skin and other organs.

To me it feels like I’m “waking up” my skin and bringing it to life.  

 

7 Benefits to Dry-Brushing Your Skin

  1. Stimulate Your Lymphatic System: Your lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating the products of cellular waste from your body, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. Dry skin brushing is a powerful detoxification aid that stimulates your lymphatic system, helping it to release toxins from your body.
  2. Increase Circulation: When you dry brush your skin, you are increasing blood flow and circulation which encourages the elimination of metabolic waste.
  3. Exfoliation: Dry skin brushing removes dead, dry skin thus improving appearance, clearing clogged pores, and allowing skin to “breathe.”
  4. Reduce Cellulite: Dry brushing may help to soften hard fat deposits below the skin surface, encouraging a more even distribution and helping to diminish the appearance of cellulite. It also aids in removing toxins that may break down connective tissue, although some believe the effect is temporary (and mostly a result of skin become more plump and swollen after brushing).1 The Huffington Post reported:2

“When we’d heard dry skin brushing was an effective method for reducing cellulite, we knew we had to include it in our anti-cellulite road test. Sure enough, it was indeed one of the more successful ways to smooth away less-than-perfect spots on your legs.”

  1. Stress Relief: The act of dry brushing has been described as meditative (especially if you do it in a quiet space) and may reduce muscle tension, calm your mind, and relieve stress. Many compare it to a light whole-body massage.

“We know massage increases people’s feeling of well-being and happiness, so if [dry brushing] is done in the same way, it stimulates people in the same way,” – A. Yasmine Kirkorian, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Children’s National Health System.

  1. Improve Digestion and Kidney Function: Dry skin brushing may go even deeper, helping to support your digestion and organ function. According to one skin care and spa expert:3

“…many naturopathic doctors use dry brushing to help with bloating because massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins. One of the immediate effects of dry brushing is smoother skin, but it can also help improve digestion, kidney function, and more.”

  1. It’s Invigorating: Many people become “addicted” to dry skin brushing (in a good way) because it simply feels so good. Along with glowing and tighter skin, regular dry skin brushers report feeling invigorated after a quick session.

 

Get Started with Dry-Brushing

You’ll need a high-quality dry brush. Look for one with bristles made from natural materials. Most natural groceries carry them (I got mine at Nancy Boy, Hayes Valley, San Francisco). The brush should feel stiff but not overly so. Ideally, choose a brush with a long handle so you can reach your entire back and other hard-to-reach spots.

Dry skin brushing should be done daily for best results. Try incorporating it into your normal daily routine, such as doing your brushing before your morning shower. And be sure to avoid doing it too close to bedtime, as it may leave you feeling energized.

There are lots of blogs and youtube videos dedicated to dry brushing. Take a quick search online and then get to it. Experimenting with various techniques to see if you enjoy the benefits of dry brushing.

I hope these simple technique can give you one more way to love your body and love the skin you’re in!
XO Holly