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Expert Insights: What A Dermatologist Says About Dry Brushing for Your Skin

Dry brushing has gained attention as a holistic skincare practice believed to offer a multitude of benefits for the skin. From promoting circulation and exfoliation to potentially reducing the appearance of cellulite, this ancient technique has captured the interest of skincare enthusiasts worldwide. You may be wondering— is dry brushing truly beneficial for the skin, or is it just another trend? Read more below from our expert dermatologist, Dr. Kelso, on the potential advantages of dry brushing, how to do it correctly, and whether it deserves a place in your skincare routine.


What are the primary benefits of dry brushing for the skin?

Dr. Kelso: Dry brushing can help reduce flaking and smooth the feel and look of the skin’s surface through mechanical exfoliation. It can improve blood flow and promote lymphatic drainage.


Is dry brushing safe for all skin types?

Dr. Kelso: Dry brushing is not meant for all skin types. If you have dry, sensitive skin you should use a dry washcloth rather than a stiff bristled brush.


How often should one practice dry brushing for optimal results?

Dr. Kelso: Dry brushing should be done daily before showering or bathing. That way the flakes come off in the shower. Once you get out and dry off, make sure you apply moisturizer!


Are there any risks or potential side effects associated with dry brushing?

Dr. Kelso: You want to make sure you don’t do dry brush over cuts, scrapes or infection. You could potentially spread or worsen an infection. The same goes for dry brushing over warts. It is best to avoid brushing over moles or other growths since it might be irritating. For most people, facial skin is too sensitive for dry brushing so this should be avoided. For other sensitive areas of the body, adjust pressure and intensity.


Can dry brushing help with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis?

Dr. Kelso: Possibly, but for both conditions you should tread very carefully. For patients with eczema, their skin tends to be very sensitive so using a dry wash cloth would be best and even with that, you want to make sure it’s not too irritating. For patients with psoriasis, sometimes “trauma” can actually induce areas of psoriasis, so this is something to be very careful with and I would suggest avoiding altogether.


What is the best technique for dry brushing, and how long should each session last?

Dr. Kelso:

1. Using a natural bristled brush, start from the feet or ankles and work your ways upward in long, fluid strokes.

2. Next, move in circular motion on torso and back.

3. Just a few overlapping swipes is typically all that’s needed, much more might risk irritation or trauma.

Each session should only last a couple of minutes.


How would you rate using dry brushing in skincare on the glow-up scale: 0-5?

Dr. Kelso: I would rate dry brushing as a 4 for the right person. It is a quick, low cost, low risk and easy way to give your skin a little glow. Those with sensitive skin tread carefully!

As you explore dry brushing for your skincare routine, keep in mind that results can differ from person to person. While it can boost exfoliation and circulation, it’s important to approach it gently to avoid irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin or certain conditions. If you’re unsure about how dry brushing fits into your skincare plan or have specific concerns about your skin, schedule an appointment with Alamo Heights Dermatology. Our team is ready to offer personalized advice and solutions tailored to your needs. Let’s work together to achieve your skin goals!