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Apparently I’ve been hiding under a rock, because I think I’m one of the last ones to hear about dry brushing.
Y’ALL. I wish I had heard about this YEARS AGO. I’ve been struggling every winter with dry skin, and this little dry brush has been a bit of a game changer for me.
What is Dry Brushing?
Originally called garshana, dry brushing is traditionally an Ayurvedic practice, taking its roots from India more than 5,000 years ago.
A brush is taken to your dry skin to exfoliate dead skin cells, enhance circulation, release toxins, stimulate the lymph nodes, and even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Prana Brush sent me one of their ionic body brushes, which in addition to standard dry brushes also have ion-charged copper bristles, which naturally create ions that Prana says protect your body from free radicals, encourage immediate absorption of negative ions into your skin, and speed up the detoxification.
Can dry brushing erase 20 years?
Ha, no. No, it can’t erase 20 years from your appearance. But let’s take a look at some of the claims.
If you’re like me, right about now you’re saying to yourself that this is starting to sound like an infomercial. But I did a bit of research to figure my way through all of this because frankly it sounded like one of those things your mom would buy at 3AM insomnia fest, and it wouldn’t do half the things it said it could. So let’s talk about a few of these claims.
Balancing the Ions
Negative ions?! I know – we’re getting heady. But I like facts to go with the things I’m reviewing. So stick with me while I get nerdy here for a sec.
So there was this study in 2013 in which they evaluated the data of 33 previous studies of the psychological effects of air ions. That’s quite a bit of data. Their findings were that negative ionization was significantly associated with lower depression ratings.
In a way this makes sense. Over-exposure to things with an abundance of positive ions – electronics, TVs, cell phones, computers – have a tendency to drain us. Is it just that they are positively charged? No. But is there something to the idea that the charge of the ion directly affects our condition? The writers of the study believe the correlation is there. Thus why copper is so prevalent in jewelry now. And why Prana has introduced an ionic body brush to increase the health benefits of dry brushing.
Circulation and Releasing Toxins
Still there are also some nay-sayers of more claims. Dr. Tina Alster, director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and a clinical professor at Georgetown University, questions the claims that dry brushing increases circulation and releases toxins.
While there’s no question dry brushing will remove dead skin cells, Alster says “rubbing the skin—with a brush, your hand or anything else—will increase blood flow and circulation, giving your skin a flushed, youthful appearance. But your skin will return to normal very quickly after you’ve stopped brushing it. There’s no evidence this temporary surge in blood flow will help your body remove waste or toxins.”
Yet more digging turned up even more confusion. Dermatologists and researchers fall on both sides of this fence. Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist at the Yale School of Medicine asserts that the motion of dry brushing “improves circulation and helps flush waste and toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system. Doing all of that can certainly parlay into skin radiance and glow and a plumper appearance.”
So with all of these conflicting professional opinions, where do I fall? Umm, girl I have no idea. All I can say is that I tried it and I felt pretty fantastic afterward…and that’s before I did all this research about the benefits.
Here’s what happened to me
I was a little nervous about this, considering the bristles were copper. I followed the instructions and brushed from the bottoms of my feet up toward my heart (as instructed!), with super light strokes.
But oh. mah. gah. You know how in the winter, your skin can feel so dry it gets itchy? That’s me. When I used the Prana Brush, what I was so worried about scratching me actually felt really, really good. It sloughed off all the dead skin cells and while it took a moment to get used to, it felt SO satisfying.
Afterwards, I noticed how much smoother my skin felt, and I definitely didn’t have that winter weather dry skin itch that I get. Following my morning routine, I showered and applied lotion, and noticed my skin was retaining more moisture with the lotion than the day before.
But here’s the crazy thing: I had this nice little boost of energy all over my body. Like, I just felt kinda great. I usually drag in the morning, but after I dry brushed, I started feeling more alert, awake, and refreshed within minutes. That benefit alone was pretty fantastic as a morning struggler and needer of coffee before I can function.
At first I used it every day, but noticed that this was a bit too much for me since I have sensitive skin, so I backed it down to every few days. And I have been loving how my skin has been looking and feeling. That itching, almost burning feeling as the dry winter cold has set in? That’s pretty much gone now, and in its place is all moisturized and smooth skin.
Thoughts on the Prana Brush
I’m not sure of the veracity of all of the claims of ionic dry brushing, but I know I feel consistently great when I use the Prana Brush, so that’s more than I was hoping for. This is definitely going to be a new addition to my weekly routine.
It’s super easy to use, and whoever decided to add the strap on the back gets bonus points from me. I don’t even have to hold on to the sides half of the time.
This is very different from a regular brush, and compared to most others I’ve seen it’s well made. The bristles are coarse, so those with any skin conditions should check with their dermatologists or doctors before dry brushing. While the company says you can do this everyday, I found every few days was much better for my sensitive skin.
Overall, I’m a total fan. Brush on the negative ions/positive vibes.
**This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prana Brush. All opinions expressed are my own.