Our skin is our largest organ, and is responsible for one-fourth of our body’s daily detoxification. That’s huge!
It’s not often that when we think of detoxification we think of our skin. Although supporting the liver, kidneys and gut is essential for detoxification, supporting your skin is vital for cleansing and overall health.
But how do we detox our skin?
Simple. By dry skin brushing!
Dry skin brushing can help assist your body with proper toxin elimination and detoxification by helping to cleanse your lymphatic system of toxins that accumulate in your lymph glands. This helps to increase circulation, opens pores and truly invigorates your skin.
Every day, we are exposed to toxins, whether it be from food or the environment. If we cannot properly eliminate these toxins, our skin will be one of the many organs that suffers. Cell renewal will take longer, wrinkles become more apparent, acne, eczema or psoriasis can worsen, and our everyday glow will start to fade.
Let’s take a deeper look at our lymphatic system:
The lymphatic system is composed of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and lymphocytes (also known as white blood cells). There are also specialized lymphatic organs, such as your thymus, spleen and tonsils. Ever feel swollen glands in and around your neck from a sore throat or infection? Those are your lymph nodes.
Think of your lymphatic system as a river. It flows through your body, accumulates waste along the way, and flushes those out through different elimination organs, your skin being one of them.
Now imagine throwing a bunch of garbage into your river (your lymphatic system). What do you think would happen? It would slow down, not flow as easily, and toxins would accumulate.
(Related: 9 Foods for Perfect, Glowing Skin)
A few simple and effective ways to release these toxins and get them flowing again are to exercise, practice deep breathing throughout the day, and wear loose clothes that are not constrictive, which can compress your lymph nodes.
Your lymphatic system has a lot of work to do, filtering and removing dead cells, cancer cells, bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxic debris. It filters all of this every hour, and sends out lymphocytes into the blood to fight cancer, infections and unwanted organisms.*
There are many lymph nodes and vessels located in the underarm area, beneath and above your collarbone, around your groin and deep in the breast tissue, which help to protect women from breast cancer.*
Seventy-five percent of the lymph in the breast drains to the lymph nodes located in our armpits, while the rest of the lymph drains to either the collarbone or across to the other breast. If you are wearing a tight bra, have poor posture or tight neck and shoulders, this can all affect how well your lymph drains from the breast tissue.
According to Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur, “There is a 21-fold greater chance of developing breast cancer in women who wear their bras for more than 12 hours daily and a 113-fold increase in breast cancer incidence among women who wear their bras all the time.” Tight bras constrict the lymph vessels and impede lymphatic circulation.
Another thing to be cautious of… your deodorant! If you are using aluminum deodorant, it will accumulate in the lymph nodes in your armpits and circulate into the breast tissue. Be sure to use aluminum-free deodorant to support breast health.
Dry skin brushing is one of the best ways, aside from exercise and deep breathing, to support lymphatic health, breast health and expel toxins through the skin. If skin pores remain clogged, the body will be less efficient at removing waste. This can put a burden on other detoxification organs, such as the liver.
Daily dry skin brushing can help to:
- Rid your body of metabolic waste
- Encourage cell regeneration
- Increase blood flow
- Reduce the appearance of cellulite
- Improve muscle tone
- Eliminate dead skin cells
- Improve lymphatic congestion in the breast tissue
- Improve skin texture and tone
- Increase circulation to internal organs
How to Dry Brush:
It’s important to dry brush before getting into the shower, hence the word dry. Brushing on wet skin will not have the same effects on cellular regeneration.
I encourage you to find a long handled, natural bristle brush with a brush pad that is roughly the size of your hand. You may also be able to find natural plant vegetable fiber brushes or alternatively, you can use a rough loofah mitt.
1. Begin with long sweeping strokes, starting from the soles of your feet. Brush in circular motions. It will feel slightly rough against your skin, which is a good thing. Brush upwards towards your legs and thighs, then to your hands and arms.
2. Work up towards your elbows and towards your shoulders. Brush across your stomach and buttocks. Be sure to brush with as much pressure as is comfortable for roughly 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Try to brush upwards from your lower back to your neck.
4. Strokes should always be towards the heart.
5. Brush several times in each area
Tip: Be sure to wash your brush weekly with soap and warm water to remove any debris. Hang it to dry in a warm place. I recommend dry skin brushing in the morning upon rising, or before bed.
Extra Tip: Try to dry brush everyday before showering. Afterwards, try alternating between hot and cold water in the shower to further stimulate circulation and bring blood to the surface of your skin. Always begin with hot and end with cold. Hot and cold showers are another therapeutic way to invigorate your skin, ease muscle soreness and enhance lymphatic health and detoxification.
Alternate with hot water for 2 minutes, followed by cold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat this 3 times.
Hot and cold showers, also known as contrast showers, are a great way to improve microcirculation, which brings nutrients and oxygen to cells and helps to remove waste more efficiently.
Incorporating daily dry skin brushing and contrast showers are simple and effective detoxification techniques you can implement to support cellular health, eliminate excess toxins and protect yourself against breast cancer and lymphatic congestion.
(Related: 8 Herbs That Detox Your Body Naturally)
*Sat Dharam Kaur. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer. Robert Rose. Canada. 2003