• The skin is the largest and most important eliminative organ in the body and is responsible for one quarter of the body’s detoxification each day.
• The skin eliminates over one pound of waste products each day for the average adult, most of it through the sweat glands.
• The skin receives one third of all the blood circulated through the body.
• The skin is the last organ to receive nutrients in the body, yet the first to show signs of imbalance or deficiency.
• Detoxification is performed by a number of organs, glands and transportation systems including the skin, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system and mucous membranes. Dry brushing stimulates the organs of detoxification to function more efficiently which has a myriad of benefits for the body:
1) Dry brushing cleans the lymphatic system. Lymph is part of our immune system and is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing them nutrients and removing their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. Our bodies contain far more lymph than blood, so you can see how important this is.
2) Dry brushing removes dead skin layers. Dry skin brushing helps shed dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cellular renewal. Dry skin can be a sign of detoxification; therefore it’s good to keep the process going by removing the dead skin daily. If this does not occur regularly, a buildup of dead skin cells and lead to eczema, psoriasis and dandruff, in addition to blocking the skin’s regular excretions like sweat.
3) Dry brushing strengthens the immune system. Dry skin brushing may reduce duration of infection and accelerate the clearing of toxins. It helps support the immune system during treatments for cancer and other chronic illnesses (but always check with your health care provider). By stimulating the lymph vessels to drain toxic mucoid matter into the organs of detoxification, we can purify the entire system. After several days of dry brushing, sometimes you may notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. This is a normal sign that the intestinal tract is renewing itself.
4) Dry brushing stimulates the hormone and oil glands, thus helping all of the body systems perform at peak efficiency. The skin is your body’s largest organ. When improperly maintained, the elimination duties of the skin are forced upon the kidneys. So, give your kidneys a break—keep your skin clean and rejuvenated. Bathe daily and dry brush beforehand to help stimulate blood flow to the surface so toxins can more readily escape.
5) Dry brushing tones the muscles. Dry skin brushing helps muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes the individual muscle fibers to activate and move. It also helps mobilize fat and helps to even distribution of fat deposits. This is a great technique for those with limited mobility.
6) Dry brushing stimulates circulation. Our skin breathes! However for most people this vital route of detoxification is operating far below its capacity because it is clogged with dead skin cells and the un-removed waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes. Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that helps you to feel energized and invigorated. By activating the circulation you also help prevent varicose veins.
7) Dry brushing increases skin functions. Dry brushing helps your skin respire by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health. When you brush, the pores of your skin open allowing your skin to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Clogged pores are not just a cosmetic concern. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.
8) Dry brushing helps reduce cellulite. Improving cellulite is one of the main reasons people look into dry brushing. Toxins are often trapped in the subcutaneous later of fat cells just beneath the skin which contributes to cellulite (in addition to other health concerns). Cellulite is unattractive but also very difficult to affect. Dry brushing is a cheap and non-invasive way to improve the appearance of your skin in addition to the many health benefits it provides.
How to Dry Brush:
Always dry brush your dry body before you shower or bathe because you will want to wash off the impurities from the skin as a result of the brushing action. The brush should be dry and your skin should be dry.
Ideally you want to brush from toes to neck because most of the lymph in your body drains to a central area near your collar bone.
The entire body should be brushed, including your back, but skip the face and scalp. Use long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction to help drain the lymph back towards your heart. Note: Stroking away from your heart can put extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and over time may lead to ruptured vessels and varicose veins.
• Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet. Don’t overdo it, remember this is not tile or grout but a living organ!
• Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. A thorough skin brushing takes about 10 minutes, but any time spent brushing prior to bathing will benefit the body. If you are feeling ill, increasing the treatments to twice a day can be beneficial.
• Avoid sensitive areas like bruises and anywhere the skin is broken, such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts or infections. Also never brush an area affected by poison oak, poison ivy or sun burn.
• For added benefit: Finish up with your regular shower and end with three hot and cold cycles. That means turning on the water as hot as you can take it for several seconds, then as cold as you can handle it, then hot, then cold for three cycles. End with either hot or cold. This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bringing more blood to the outer layers of the epidermis. Or try a bath with Epsom salts or mineral-rich salts which also help encourage detoxification.
• After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oils such as jojoba, avocado, apricot, almond, sesame, coconut or cocoa butter.
• Tap your brush over a trashcan to shake off dead skin cells. Each person should have their own dry brush, just like a toothbrush! Keep your brush in a dry area away from steam and potential mildew. If you do wash your brush with soap and warm water, rinse well and make sure it is thoroughly dried in a sunny area before use.
Some people have more sensitive skin so dry brushing may feel uncomfortable at first but your skin will adjust. Other people find it invigorating and love it from day one.
Perioral Dermatitis: My Struggle to Regain Control of My Face
This is the third time I’ve had to deal with a flare up of perioral dermatitis. This infection can cause a rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, or any combination of the three. I’m very pale, with freckles, and somewhat reddish hair, so my complexion is common for skin problems like this. I’ve always had sensitive skin, but my skin and allergy problems have escalated since I hit my 20s.
I got my first flare up my second year of college. I would wake up and my eyelids would be so red, sore, flaky, and swollen that I could barely open them. I skipped class more than once because of it. Finally, I found a combination of Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo, and Aveeno Baby: Soothing Relief Moisture Cream helped the flare up go away. I thought it was an allergic reaction, never went to a doctor to get diagnosed, and moved on.
I had typical acne for a young 20 something with combination-oily skin for the next year/year in a half. Then, this past summer I made a big mistake. I switched face products. I went looking for a natural face wash, and landed on Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser. I had used Neutrogena face washes in the past with no problems. Less than 24 hours after washing with this products my entire chin had become red, inflamed, flaking, and oozy. I tried for over a month to clear it up on my own. I made the mistake of using a steroid cream, because it made the symptoms go away temporarily. BAD IDEA. Never use a steroid cream on your face, unless it is prescribed for you. Finally,I looked up my symptoms online, and figured it was some sort of dermatitis. I called my dermatologist, and three weeks later I was diagnosed with POD.
There is no easy, or fool proof way to treat this kind of infection. I was prescribed three months of taking doxycycline twice daily, with a Metronidazole cream to add in after 1 month. I was told to start using CeraVe products on my face indefinitely, and to continue to avoid face products with fragrance. I had taken doxycyline two times before, after receiving major insect bites as a preventative for Lyme disease. It makes me incredibly nauseous and miserable. We figured out a timeline of when I should eat to keep the nausea down, and I bit the bullet. This course of treatment did clear up my flare up. I thought I was in the clear. I was going to stick with my face products, and I’d be fine.
And now here I am with a third round of POD. I just moved cross country for a job, so I’m sure that stress played a role in my flare up. However, I also switched body washes and toothpastes while in transit. Fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are known to be common irritants that can influence POD flare ups, and are in many toiletry products, including the ones I had just swapped in. I really didn’t want to go back onto antibiotics. My gut microfauna is completely shot from the 3 months of doxycyline that I just finished up at the end of November. Also, these antibiotics and creams are still fairly expensive.
I went to a walk-in clinic and was told to try miconazole cream (which is used to treat yeast infections), but was given prescriptions for both doxycycline and metronidazole as back up. Two week later, the dermatitis has spread to both sides of my mouth now. So, I caved and got the prescriptions filled. It’s a much less intensive regimen of medications than the last time at least. However, I’ve decided to cut out fluoride and SLS from my medicine cabinet.
I’ve also bought a bar of African Black Soap to try, and will be adding yogurt masks and apple cider vinegar as a toner to my skin treatments. These are all treatments that other people trying to cope with POD have used to relieve symptoms. If there is a way to clear this up without going crazy with medications, I am going to find it.
The major lesson that I have learned from this experience is that I absolutely cannot switch any of the products that come in contact with my face.EVER. If something works for me and doesn’t make me flare up, I can essentially never stop using that product or I risk bringing a new allergen, or harsh chemical to the party that will cause another flare up. This is really hard to for me to accept, as someone who likes to try new face products, and gets sucked in by fun packaging. But right now getting control of my skin is the most important thing. This rash seriously ruins my self confidence. It makes me feel like my body hates me, and that I’ll have to fight with it for the rest of my life. I want to feel at peace in my own skin, and like I am capable of taking care of my body the way it should be treated.
Here’s hoping that I can actually get a reign on this.