Chances are you’ve heard of dry brushing – the centuries-old Ayurvedic beauty ritual had something of a revival these past few years, appropriately in line with everything self-care. Despite purchasing a standard dry brush years ago, it wasn’t until recently that I made it part of my routine. I was sent a Prana dry brush which, in addition to all-natural boar bristles, is made with ion-charged copper bristles for a host of extra benefits.
Beyond the obvious exfoliation, dry brushing is said to increase energy, boost circulation, stimulate lymphatic drainage and promote collagen production. Now I’ll try just about any product or treatment that promises glowing skin – as a bonus, this one is entirely natural and inexpensive.
I spoke with Jessica, the founder of Prana, to get the expert take on all things dry brushing. Read on for what to expect when you start dry brushing, Jessica’s dry brushing routine, and one of the beauty topics I find most fascinating – free radicals.
E: Why should we be dry brushing?
J: “There are a number of health benefits our bodies will enjoy when we dry brush. First, dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate the skin. It can also detoxify the body, improve circulation, improve skin tone, aid digestion, reduce and prevent cellulite, and increase energy and well-being. In addition, dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps eliminate toxins and pathogens that can cause inflammation and illness.”
E: How is dry brushing better than simply exfoliating?
J: “Exfoliating mainly only removes dead skin cells at the superficial level. With dry brushing the lymphatic system is stimulated and blood circulation improved, giving you more energy.”
E: How long will it take to notice the benefits of dry brushing?
J: “Your skin will feel great after brushing! An ionic body brush feels very different than a typical body brush; in particular, ionic body brushes create a unique soothing effect and a pleasant tingling sensation on the skin.”
E: What is the most common feedback you receive when customers begin dry brushing?
J: “Most of our customers have reported feeling more energized and seeing a surprising amount of dead skin cells removed when they dry brushed with the Prana brush.”
E: What makes the Prana dry brush better?
J: “The Prana brush is handmade with love from the highest-quality sustainably-harvested beechwood, which is then beautifully smoothed and finished with natural wax.
The brush also has ion-charged copper bristles that are made from a high-quality alloy of copper and zinc, both of which are very important trace minerals. Copper aids in the formation of collagen, facilitates the absorption of iron, and plays a central role in energy production. In addition, zinc is essential for healthy hormone production, maintaining energy levels, supporting immunity, and promoting good digestion.
Using an ionic body brush also has the effect of providing your body with an excess of negative ions, which in turn provides your body with a multitude of ‘spare’ electrons which are ready to neutralize free radicals that come into contact with your body. Negative ions are often discussed in relation to what are commonly referred to as ‘free radicals’. Free radicals are molecules or atoms that have at least one ‘lone’ or ‘unpaired’ electron, but the molecule or atom does not carry a charge like an ion because the number of orbiting electrons still matches the number of protons. Free radicals are generated in our external environment. Free radicals are very harmful because they effectively try to ‘steal’ an electron from other atoms and molecules in order to become electrically ‘stable’. When free radicals come into contact with our bodies, they can cause significant damage to our cells and tissues. Regularly using an ionic body brush essentially creates a ‘protective ion shield’ around your body in addition to providing the many usual benefits of ordinary dry brushing.”
E: How do we take care of the dry brush?
J: “Copper is naturally anti-bacterial, so there is no need to clean your ionic body brush in the same manner as you might clean an ordinary brush. In order to keep your brush clean, we recommend brushing the bristles several times with a dry cloth, or tapping the brush with the bristles pointed down on a washable surface, such as a sink basin, in order to remove any skin particles. We suggest that you do this after every each use. Please make sure never to wash your ionic body brush with water or soap.”
E: What is your dry brushing routine?
J: “I use my Prana Brush every morning before showing. I spend about 3 minutes brushing my body, starting from my feet and working my way upwards in long, straight strokes towards the heart. This is the direction in which lymph flows in your body, so brushing in this direction (as opposed to brushing in a circular motion or away from your heart) will have the most beneficial effect on your lymphatic system. After showering, I always make sure to moisturize my skin with lotion or coconut oil.”