Health and Beauty Experts Address the Actual Benefits — Or Lack Thereof — From Dry Brushing
A new trend called “dry brushing” has begun dominating internet forums and advice columns about personal beauty and health, and it’s been lauded by the most important beauty experts — supermodels, of course — as a way to keep skin soft while eliminating cellulite quickly and painlessly.
But many people are now wondering, is this technique effective at all, or is it simply another empty promise to look thinner?
The act of “dry brushing” refers to running a soft-bristle brush over your skin (particularly focusing on areas like the arms, torso, and legs) and brushing skin firmly without soap or water. The key to the technique, experts state, is that you always make brushing motions toward your heart, for a few minutes every day.
The motion of dry brushing supposedly stimulates circulation, and the increased blood flow allows the body to clear out toxins (particularly those collecting in the lymphatic system). Additionally, many people claim that dry brushing actually reduces cellulite (or, at the very least, the appearance of cellulite).
The problems with these assertions, as TIME magazine and Business Insider have both recently discussed, is that very little scientific evidence exists to show that dry brushing directly reduces toxins and eliminates cellulite. Although it doesexfoliate dead skin cells, allowing the skin to feel softer and clearer, the increased circulation caused by dry brushing appears to be temporary and its effects are ephemeral.
Quite simply, as one dermatologist told TIME, people could really eliminate cellulite by dry brushing alone, many studies and reports would have already been published and would readily support these claims.
“I am not aware of any credible scientific evidence that indicates dry brushing will reduce cellulite,” says Simon Ourian, M.D., Medical Director, Epione-Beverly Hills. “Cellulite is not a condition caused by toxins; dimpling occurs when fat deposits push up against the skin while connective tissue pulls the skin down. We offer a treatment protocol called OptiLipo that delivers gradual, constant Ultrasound/Radio Frequency and infrared light energies to modify the collagen bundles deep in the skin, resulting in the stimulation of new collagen growth plus a contraction of the skin. Then, Trans-dermal Acoustic Therapy (TAT), which uses acoustic pressure waves to break up the connective tissue and protrusion of fat into the lower dermis, is applied to the treated area. The combination of these modalities can offer firmer, tighter, and younger looking skin.”
As TIME states, “not everything that benefits your body is easily captured by medical research” — just like alternative medicine and holistic treatments were once ignored by the medical community because concrete data on their benefits was hard to find, it’s possible that dry brushing may turn out to be beneficial as well. But in terms of skin care and weight loss, it seems that consulting with the professionals, and sticking to treatments that are proven to work, are worth the time and energy in the long run.