Many of us see exfoliation as just a method of getting dry, dead skin cells off our bodies. What many people don’t know is that exfoliation does that and so much more!
My personal favorite way of exfoliating is with a body brush. I do this either before the shower, on dry skin, or in the shower, with a shower gel, or any other product that takes my fancy. Brushing is extremely simple, as all you need to do is brush in long sweeping strokes, always towards the heart, or upwards towards the closest lymph node. Lymph nodes are the small collecting ducts of the lymphatic system, which works closely with your cardio-vascular system. As you may know, the blood in your body delivers nutrients to organs and tissues, and also collects waste products (for example CO2) from these same areas. If there are waste particles which happen to be too big for your blood cells to pick up your lymphatic system comes into play. The lymph (a sort of see-through liquid) picks up these waste products, and carries them towards the lymph nodes. Nodes tend to appear in clusters, and can be really tiny, or as big a bean (sometimes you can actually feel them with your finger). They are located behind the knees, on your bikini line, inside your elbows, under your arm pits, at the sides of your neck and around your face. The waste will be filtered through your lymph nodes, move onto a larger collecting lymph duct and will eventually leave your body.
Stimulate flow of lymph
When you are brushing your body, always aim upwards towards these areas, and this will stimulate the flow of lymph, and will help your body to detoxify itself from any nasties much faster! This works absolute wonders on those dreaded hangover days, and feels particularly good on calves (as a lot of waste products seem to settle in our legs). As your lymphatic system also plays a large part in your body’s immune system, you will also be helping yourself become more immune to any bugs which might be in the air.
Your lymphatic system works closely with your cardio-vascular system, and so, as soon as the flow of lymph speeds up, so does the blood flow, and vice versa. Speeding up the blood flow to any area has numerous advantages, such as faster and more efficient delivery of nutrients, and faster tissue repair. A huge benefit of body brushing (and quite a well known one) is the fact that it helps with the breakdown of cellulite. This is because cellulite slows down the blood circulation and blood flow in the affected area, and so, that part of your body essentially gets less attention from your body’s various systems. As soon as you begin body brushing, there is more blood and lymph flow, and this helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite if done regularly (works best in conjunction with other treatments, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise). Just spend a few extra moments doing some firmer strokes over the cellulite, and you will hopefully be on your way to a more beautiful, beach worthy body!
And last but not least, brushing or exfoliating your body removes the outer layer of dead, dry and unsightly dead skin cells, to reveal more fresh, glowing, and beautiful looking skin!
When buying a brush make sure that you go for an all natural one, as synthetic fibers may scratch and irritate your skin. Zen sell a fantastic body brush by Elemis, made with natural cactus bristles, for just £17, and it is guaranteed to make you look and feel fantastic.