Dry brushing won’t get rid of cellulite, but it may have a smoothing, exfoliating effect on your skin.
There are a plethora of peeps who swear dry brushing can help cellulite. But there’s actually no scientific evidence to support brushing your skin with dry bristles will banish those rimples and dimples.
If you don’t like the look of your skin, just remember: cellulite is an incredibly common and normal part of being human. And while you can’t just get rid of it with dry brushing, the practice may offer other skin benefits.
Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic traditional medicine technique where you use a natural bristle brush to gently exfoliate and massage your skin in circular motions. It’s usually done before hopping in the shower on dry skin, hence the name.
Folks often use dry brushing as part of an at-home spa or self-care routine. And fans of the practice boast it can exfoliate dead skin cells, boost circulation, reduce toxins, and — the biggie — reduce cellulite.
Now that all sounds amazing, and although it might have some of those benefits, there’s no real evidence that it has any cellulite-busting powers.
No, dry brushing isn’t a magic bullet for cellulite, but it may reduce the look of cellulite temporarily by increasing blood flow and plumping the skin. To understand why it doesn’t work, it might help to know WTF cellulite actually is.
Doctors don’t really know what causes cellulite (there are a lot of theories). But it forms from fat pushing through fibrous connective tissue below the skin. Basically, fat cells push up against the skin, tough bits of connective tissue pull down, and fat kinda pushes through the netting of the collagen strands. This leaves a dimpled effect.
Despite what Instagram influencers may lead you to believe, up to 90 percent of women have cellulite. And yes, men can also have cellulite, but it’s less common because fat cells and connective tissue are arranged differently.
So, because cellulite is this tug-of-war between your fat and connective tissue, dry brushing can’t help the situation long-term. It just can’t relax the connective tethers under your skin.
But before you abandon the dry brush in your shopping cart, there are other benefits that might help your skin.
Although dry brushing will do zip for your cellulite, it may benefit your skin in other ways thanks to its exfoliating powers. Exfoliating with a dry brush may help:
- shift dead skin cells and make your skin feel softer
- prevent ingrown hairs by clearing away skin cells
- diminish keratosis pilaris — those pesky little red or brown bumps show up on the backs of your arms
Dry brushing can’t stimulate your lymphatic system and rid the body of toxins either, but it may help boost circulation like an invigorating massage. This can give your skin a temporarily flushed and smooth appearance. But it’s really an illusion.
That said, dry brushing can be an enjoyable experience, and it may help you feel more relaxed or invigorated. And who doesn’t love a good body exfoliation?
If you want to give dry brushing a go, the first step is to find yourself a soft, natural-bristle brush. You can find sisal, boar, or cactus options. Avoid anything too harsh that might irritate your skin and leave angry marks.
Here are the steps:
- Start with a clean, dry brush.
- Begin at your feet and work upward to the thighs, hips, butt cheeks, torso, then arms. Brush from hands to pits. Use a long-handled brush to reach your back or invite a good friend over!
- Brush your skin using a wide, circular motion or gentle upward strokes.
- Vary the pressure according to the area. For example, go lightly where the skin’s thin and use more pressure on thicker skin.
- Avoid any sensitive areas like broken skin, sunburn, or open wounds. And avoid your face, breasts, and nips.
- Finish with a relaxing shower to wash away the dead skin cells.
- Then apply lotion or oil (coconut oil FTW!) to moisturize your skin.
Be careful not to get too carried away and dry brush too often or too hard. This can damage your skin.
Is dry brushing harmful?
Some peeps should give dry brushing a miss. Avoid dry brushing if you have areas with:
Moles or growths. You could inflame or damage skin growths and moles so they become more noticeable.
Warts. Because viruses cause warts, you could spread them to other areas while dry brushing.
There’s no way to banish cellulite, but there are some things that may help its appearance temporarily. If you want smoother skin, you’ll need to keep up with treatments — and it will cost you some serious cash. Let’s take a look.
Radiofrequency (RF) treatments
RF treatments involve heating the tissues in targeted areas, sometimes with massage or suction thrown in for good measure.
Researchers in a 2019 review noted folks who had 8 to 16 treatments over several weeks saw a significant cellulite reduction. But there’s no way of knowing how long the results last, and it can cause bruising.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some laser treatments can blast away cellulite.
Cellulaze treatment involves having a fine laser fiber inserted underneath the skin. The laser then zaps the connective tissue and breaks them up, which may reduce the appearance of cellulite for a year or longer.
Subcision involves a doctor using a special needle or blade to release the fibrous bands of connective tissue that cause the appearance of cellulite.
Cellfina is a treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it’s considered a safe and effective cellulite treatment. A 2017 study showed that it resulted in smoother skin and a diminished appearance of cellulite that lasted at least 3 years.
Electromagnetic shockwave therapy (ESWT)
ESWT stuns your connective tissue into submission, making it looser but stronger. In a 2019 study, 27 female participants received 6 to 10 sessions of ESWT. Everyone was happy to report significantly improved skin smoothness and cellulite reduction. Plus, the results remained at the 3-month follow-up.
Does dry brushing help cellulite? Nope, not really. But it does have a smoothing, exfoliating action that can spruce up your skin.
There are very few risks involved for most peeps, so If you fancy giving it a try, buy yo’self a brush and go for it!
But, if you have a skin condition, like warts, eczema, or acne, it’s best avoid or check with your dermatologist before jumping in.