Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dry Brushing for Vanity's Sake

I wanted today to be a Wine Wednesday or a Wedding Wednesday, but my mind is just too scattered for that.  At only 5 am as I started typing this post, I've been awake for 2 hours and my brain has run through a flipping exhaustive list of real worries.... but today's post needs to be more lighthearted, methinks.

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Last night, I tweeted about "dry brushing" of the skin.  I think it's been around for ages (literally ancient China), but I feel like it was trendy a year or two ago... but in case you (and me and everyone else) missed it, let's recap.

Dry brushing is the process or rubbing a soft, dense, natural-fiber brush along the surface of the skin (usually not the face, I'm thinking) in home of promoting even skin tone, better circulation, and (allegedly) the hastening of the body ridding itself of toxins and waste.

The first reaction I got from twitter (after "whaat?") was "OUCH!"  And friends, there is no ouch about it.

A "dry skin" brush is not your standard nail brush... or any other brush for that matter.  All the articles stress to use a "natural" brush (natural what, I have no idea) vs anything synthetic.

Below is a pic of a natural brush on the left (note the dense, softer bristles) vs. a plastic drugstore nail brush that I use for pedicures. 

 Body Brush (Left), Nail Brush (Right)

They are totally and completely different.  I attempted to run the nail brush over my arm and it left scratches.  The brush on the left was soft and barely registered.  Like a loofah in the shower.

The official "direction" of dry brushing is that, starting at your feet, you should rub the skin in small, circular strokes heading towards the heart.  Now, the last part of that sentence was a bit strange to me.  According to many rounds of googling, the reason to head for your heart (or middle/tummy according to some pages), is that you are essentially "pushing" the toxins and waste in your system towards your digestive system, where they will be flushed out.

Al-righty then.

So, "amazing health benefits" aside, I've been interested in this as a purely cosmetic endeavor.

You see, I have the blessing/curse of being born with the unsightly condition of keratosis pilaris - which is often described as "chicken skin" of the upper arms.  My upper arms are bumpy, sometimes red/purple-y when I'm cold, are fun to pick at (not), and have turned me quite self-conscious.  

So, what's a girl to do?

Well, first I tried an OTC lotion at my doctor's recommendation for a year.  No dice.  I started using a prescription foam (fairly expensive) for the condition in the fall... mixed results.  They are MUCH better than they used to be, and I think I'm the only one who obsesses over them - but still, they aren't perfect, and they are certainly making me anxious about wearing a wedding dress in less than 5 months.

I've tried most creams and scrubs on the market.  Acne meds, hydro-cortisone, you name it.  

Unfortunately, this post doesn't have a neat and tidy resolution.  I've decided to try dry-brushing and see if perhaps it helps the prescription absorb a bit better. 

I've also read recently that an omega-3 fatty-acid deficiency could be to blame for some of this condition, and that applying coconut oil can help reduce the appearance of the bumps... but I'm still grasping at straws here.

Wikipedia says 50% of adults have "chicken-skin" on their upper arms.  

Are you one of them?  Have any magical remedies for me to try?

I'm desperate. 

5 Classy Comments:

Kiki said...

I suffer from the same thing and recently read on "dr. google" that it could be related to gluten....as this only really popped up (for me) in the past three years I decided to eliminate some gluten and when I did....voila....much better. Not perfect. But better. I'm thinking of reducing the gluten as much as possible to see if it helps even more-but I don't have the fancy degree that says I should dispense this kind of information, so take that for what it is.

Liz Marie #1 - lmh said...

I also have this, trying the dry brushing-- so we shall see. I did try cocoanut oil, it actually does work pretty well!

Deals, Steals and Heels said...

i don't have "chicken skin", but i do have cherry anigimoas, aka teeny little red pinpricks that have started popping up on my chest and arms. oh yeah, and there's NOTHING you can do about them, other than getting them lasered...and you'll keep getting more, since they're from bursting blood vessels. I LOATHE them, so i totally feel your pain!!

Andie said...

I have the same problem! I had a friend who is really into natural medicine tell me it was a dairy allergy, but my dermatologist told me no- it's not.

But then I just read your post about the omega-3 deficiency, and I"ve been eating a LOT of avocado and nuts lately- and I just checked my arms, and they are 100% better! I also have a HUGE container of coconut oil I can put on my arms too.. so I'm totally going to check it out!

Erin @ Sassin Southern Style said...

I will totally stand behind B&BW triple cream lotion (or what ever the triple _____ product is) and maybe Omegas. My KP has decreased dramatically since taking in/on both of those things.

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