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As warmer days start to roll into view, our attention begins to turn once again to giving our limbs a little extra TLC, since they’re likely to be on show a lot more. As well as moisturising and exfoliating, there’s an ancient practice that promises smoother, healthier skin - body brushing. 

While it may seem like just another step to add into your already time-consuming Spring/Summer routine, celebs including Miranda Kerr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracee Ellis-Ross all extol the skin-refining benefits.

And unlike a lot of wellbeing rituals, it’s not just celebs who swear it’s worth adding to your wellbeing repertoire, with many experts agreeing that it really is worthwhile. 

What is body brushing? 

Far from another newfangled wellness trend, the ancient Egyptians were among the first people to pioneer the practice of dry brushing for soft, supple skin, and the benefits go far beyond the superficial. 

As well as removing dead skin cells to reveal softer skin it also helps to stimulate your lymphatic system, a delicate web of vessels just below the epidermis.  

The ritual of body brushing is thought to aid the flow of lymph fluid through these vessels to the lymph glands, where toxins produced by your blood cells are drained from your body - reducing any puffiness and boosting your circulation. 

Body brushing has been used for centuries to promote healthier skin© Anastasiia Krivenok
Body brushing has been used for centuries to promote healthier skin

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How to dry brush your body

To begin, you'll want to invest in a wooden brush with natural bristles such as bamboo. When it comes to technique, a light but intentional touch is key. 

“It’s a good sign if your skin looks pink after brushing,” explains Kate Shapland, founder of Legology,  “This means nutrient-rich blood has been brought to the surface of the skin, which has the added benefit of making skin look more toned, and helps any products applied afterwards to absorb quicker.”

Do you dry brush up or down?

“Use quick flicks all over your body in an upwards direction towards your lymph glands and your heart – so from feet to knees and thighs, and from hands to shoulders,” recommends Shapland.

How many times a week should you dry brush?

Much like exfoliating the skin on your face, the advice on how often you should indulge in brushing varies from a few seconds every day to a few minutes three times a week, but it’s important to replace your brush once the bristles get soft and out of shape to keep the process as effective as possible. 

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How to take lymphatic drainage to the next level

While physically stimulating the lymphatic system is a self-care ritual that has been around for thousands of years, innovative skincare brands such as Legology and IRÄYE are developing topical ways to mimic the process. 

“The advantage of applying topical formulas is that by repeated daily applications they can provide longer lasting activation of the lymphatic vessels,” says Professor Dr Michael Detmar, co-founder of skincare brand IRÄYE.

“Preserving the skin’s natural purification system and activating its cleansing function are important from our mid-twenties onwards,” says Michael. “Later, the reduced activity of the lymphatic vessels needs to be supported, ideally by both mechanical stimulation and active topical formulas.”

An easy-to-do, expert-approved addition to your wellness routine.