It’s been more than a year since I first shared the basics of dry brushing—and yet, I’ve noticed that people keep finding Indigo+Canary with queries about dry brushing* that I haven’t covered. So I thought I’d do a follow-up with some additional, more specific information and tips on equipment and techniques. Have a question to add? Leave it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post! —Aleigh
Why does dry brushing leave me bruised? There are a few potential answers here: 1) Your skin is too sensitive for the brush you’re using (or your skin is just sensitive, period). 2) You’re using a brush that’s too rough for your skin. 3) Your technique is a bit too firm and you should use a lighter touch.
Some people bruise no matter how soft the pressure or brush, but your skin will usually build up a bit of a tolerance. So if you like the benefits and can tolerate the bruising (at least temporarily), you may want to keep up the gentle brushing for a few weeks to see if the bruising decreases. Otherwise, try swapping your brush for something a bit more gentle!
Can you dry brush during pregnancy? To get an answer to this question, which is particularly important to me these days, I consulted with Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics. I was concerned that since dry brushing stimulates the lymph system in the same way massage does, it might be a good idea to ditch the dry brushing, at least during early pregnancy. (The traditional rule on massages and pregnancy: no massages before the second trimester, although you should always check with your doctor just in case.) As a doctor and a maker of natural beauty products, she’s always a great resource. Here’s her response:
“Dry brushing is perfectly fine during pregnancy. Only if there is a history of blood clots would I suggest avoiding it, and even then, it’s a super conservative recommendation. It’s nowhere near as deep as massage.”
Can you dry brush with a loofah? Absolutely, yes. Depending on the scratchiness of the loofah and the sensitivity of your skin, you may want a softer tool than a loofah (and I find that it’s usually easier to find softer-bristled brushes if you need one), but you can definitely use a loofah. You can also use a dry washcloth. I prefer a long-handled brush so that I can reach the middle of my back and other tricky areas with ease. But these other tools can absolutely get the job done.
How long until I see results? Well. I’m about to disappoint here, but the answer is, it depends. For starters, every body is different—it’s impossible to give a specific timeframe that will be true for everyone. I can definitely say that you’ll feel results—particularly that glowy, invigorated feeling—right away. But the other potential benefits of dry brushing, such as tightened skin, fewer stretch marks, etc. really depend on your body.
*This blog post is not intended to be used as medical advice, and the author is not a physician.