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This isn't your typical exfoliation — why derms say dry brushing is worth your time

Experts say this exfoliating technique can give you 'younger-looking' skin.
Artem Varnitsin / Getty Images

If you're like us, softer, smoother skin might be one of your year-round skin care goals. The secret to achieving it? Exfoliation.

While there are plenty of ways to exfoliate your skin, the dry brushing method seems to be gaining some traction among TikTokers — one video explaining the technique has nearly 2 million likes. But it's not just social media getting in on the trend, dermatologists approve, too.

We consulted a few experts to learn more about the benefits of dry brushing and rounded up a few options for you to choose from.

What is dry brushing?

"Dry brushing is a technique that, when performed properly and consistently, can yield healthier and younger-looking skin by exfoliating, assisting lymphatic flow and stimulating collagen production," Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, FAAD, a board-certified New York City dermatologist tells Shop TODAY.

Since exfoliation helps to increase cellular turnover, Murphy-Rose also says it can reduce the appearance of fine lines when collagen production is stimulated.

You should only practice dry brushing on dry skin, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells us, as the absence of moisture is what allows for the proper friction between the brush and skin to be achieved.

"The goal of dry brushing is to remove dead cells, which is more difficult to do with a brush if your skin is wet or newly moisturized," he says.

How to choose a dry brush

If you're looking for a dry brush for your body, Zeichner says you should opt for a brush that has a large head size and natural fibers.

If you're attempting to dry brush your face, opt for a smaller brush with softer bristles, since the skin on your face tends to be more sensitive.

Dry brushes to try

EcoTools Dry Body Brush

This popular dry brush with more than 8,200 verified five-star ratings on Amazon is made with soft synthetic bristles that work to exfoliate your skin. Its size is perfect for exfoliating your legs, midsection and arms before showering.

Diane Exfoliate and Glow Skin Care Brush

With a curved wood handle, this brush is designed to help you access those hard-to-reach spots. According to the brand, it's made with 100% natural bristles which is in line with Zeichner's recommendation.

Body Proud Exfoliating and Cleansing Body and Scalp Brush

This isn't what you'd typically picture when you think of a body brush but it's even better because it serves a dual purpose: body brush and scalp brush. The rubber nubs are easy to clean and will glide smoothly across your skin and scalp to provide twice the exfoliation.

Wholesome Beauty Dry Skin Body Brush

For harder-to-reach spots, this dry brush boasts an extra-long handle and natural bristles that can help exfoliate your back and behind your legs. It even includes its own travel bag and hook so you can easily stow it away between uses.

Belula Dry Brush Set

If you're looking to dry brush your body and face, this two-in-one kit includes the tools you'll need to do both. The body brush features boar bristles and includes a detachable handle to help you reach areas on the front of your body, while the face brush features softer bristles to use on more delicate skin. For an added bonus, this kit also includes exfoliating gloves to use while you bathe.

The Body Shop Cactus Long Handle Body Brush

The Body Shop's cactus brush features natural bristles and can be used on dry skin before showering or in the shower with your favorite body wash or soap. "I bought my first The Body Shop cactus brush over 20 years ago and have been buying them ever since," raved one Amazon reviewer.

Goop G.Tox Ultimate Dry Brush

This brush from Goop features an ergonomic handle and bristles made from biodegradable fibers, according to the brand. You can start by using it on your feet and work your way up to your chest by using small, firm movements.

Dr. Barbara Sturm The Body Brush

This dry brush features natural bristles that are soft enough for "pressure-sensitive skin." With nearly 10,000 "loves" from Sephora shoppers, it's a popular pick for addressing skin concerns such as uneven texture and dullness.

Espa Skin Stimulating Body Brush

This body brush features natural Mexican cactus bristles, which help to lightly stimulate circulation, according to the brand. Plus, the convenient handle makes it easier to maneuver up and down your body.

Frequently asked questions

How often should I dry brush?

In order to see the visible results from dry brushing, Murphy-Rose says you'll need to practice the technique for at least two weeks. She recommends trying it three times a week, then dry brushing daily if you're not experiencing irritation. Dry brushing shouldn't feel uncomfortable, she said, since you should be brushing in gentle, circular motions. After each dry brushing session, you'll want to shower and then lather yourself with moisturizer once you dry off to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Is dry brushing good for your skin?

While Murphy-Rose says that detoxifying beauty treatments are always "en vogue," dry brushing holds an appeal because it provides more physical exfoliation than a body scrub would.

"The physical exfoliation increases cellular turnover to reveal softer, brighter, more youthful skin," she says. "Stimulating collagen production can help to improve skin texture, tighten skin and reduce fine lines."

Meet the experts

  • Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist who currently practices at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York.
  • Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, is an associate professor of dermatology and the director of cosmetic & clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.