This Derm Swears By Dry Brushing — But Says To Avoid One Common Mistake

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It's that time of year when people start picking up new habits. And with new routines usually comes a learning curve. I'd wager a few people will try their hand at dry brushing as part of their overall wellness and beauty routine. And guess who's on board? Triple board-certified dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., FAAD, the holistic dermatologist—who reps a huge following on social media, where she shares many of her mother's favorite beauty secrets—says that dry brushing is an excellent way to take care of your body and skin below the neck. 

Why this derm loves dry brushing & why you always need to hydrate post-routine.

"I am very pro dry brush. There are a few reasons why I like it," she told me over an episode of Clean Beauty School. "The first is that it boosts circulation and stimulates the skin, as you start off at the feet and brush toward your heart. So many tips from my mother have to do with circulation. The second is that you're paying attention to parts of your body that you might not normally pay attention to regularly. We don't really touch our skin–and doing so can be an excellent form of self-care. It's important to acknowledge your skin. It can be very nurturing and healthy."

Are you on board yet? As if those weren't good enough reasons to try (if you haven't already!), it's also an excellent physical exfoliant for the body. Yes, those dry bristles can buff away excess dead skin cells and rough patches, revealing softer, smoother skin underneath. But this brings me to the mistake I see all the time: forgetting to hydrate after. Just like moisturizing your face post-exfoliation is mandatory, so is the same for your body.

I won't go over the step-by-step order for dry brushing, but I will say the general overview of how it fits into your routine is as follows: Use your brush on dry skin, shower as normal, hydrate on damp skin. Post-wash of any kind, it's essential to seal the epidermis with a hydrator in order to trap in water. When water sits on the top levels of the skin, it can sometimes evaporate into the air around you—a dehydrating process called transepidermal water loss. This is exacerbated on freshly exfoliated skin, as the excess dead skin cells present on the stratum corneum have been removed. 

There's a positive spin to this, too: All those hydrating ingredients and antioxidants in your lotion of choice can penetrate the skin a bit deeper. We recommend looking for a lotion with several types of moisturizing ingredients, so it can address skin hydration from several angles. For example, you'll want to look for humectants (like aloe vera and glycerin) to attract and bind water molecules—as well as more emollient and occlusive ingredients (like shea butter, squalane, and botanicals oils) to create that conditioning and comforting layer of the skin. 

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The takeaway.

Basically, hydrating after the shower should always be considered a must. But it's especially vital if you're folding a dry brushing session into your routine—as physical exfoliants can increase the likelihood of transepidermal water loss. Got that? Good. Happy brushing!