What do jade rollers, cellulite creams, and dry brushes all have in common? Cult followings of people spreading the ~gospel~ of how great they are for improving “lymphatic drainage” or “reducing cellulite.” The flip side? They also have equally large legions of haters and naysayers. So who or what should you believe? Science. Believe the science. Because I took all your questions to board-certified dermatologist Lily Talakoub, MD, to find out the actual proven benefits of dry brushing and how to wield the long, awkward stick thing for the best effective results. But first…
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is a form of mechanical exfoliation, says Talakoub. Unlike chemical exfoliants (like AHA and BHAs—i.e., lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, etc.), mechanical or physical exfoliators work to remove dead skins by physically scrubbing them off. If that sounds kinda harsh, that’s because, yeah, it can be, which is why it’s important to take note of the below advice from a derm before putting to use that dry brush of yours that’s been sitting in your shower caddy for actual years. Listen up.
What are the benefits of dry brushing?
The main benefit is what Dr. Talakoub already mentioned above: exfoliation. The physical act of rubbing the bristles against your skin loosens and removes dead skin cells and makes your body feel smoother and more supple.But other believers will swear that dry brushing is magical for lymphatic drainage (the system that drains the fluids and the toxins away from your body).
Dr. Talakoub, however, isn’t buying it, explaining that there are no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to support dry brushing lymphatic drainage—only anecdotal, word-of-mouth stories. As she explains it, brushing in a direction toward the heart (from the legs up and the neck down) could possibly improve lymph drainage, circulation, and blood flow, particularly for people who already have reduced blood flow in their legs or swelling, but it’s not going to transform your health.
Does dry brushing really help cellulite?
Ehh, not really, no. Sure, dry-brushing your body could slightly improve your lymphatic flow and break up collagen bundles (the stuff that’s linked to cellulite) say Dr. Talakoub, but there are no good studies to back any claims of cellulite removal through dry brushing. With that said, Dr. Talakoub says, other than the risk of it not working, there’s really no harm in those with “normal” skin (read: not sensitive skin) trying it anyway.
Read more: cosmopolitan.com