Through every weather, your skin demands some tender love and care. On days when the sun is out, you lather yourself with sunscreen; you moisturize when the cold, dry breeze cracks and dulls your skin. One particular practice has been a part of everyone’s skincare routine. Dry brushing comprises exfoliating your skin with a stiff-bristled brush that helps rid you of flaky skin, detoxify, and increase blood circulation.
But dry brushing is also a practice shrouded in controversy.
Let’s answer the all-important question, can dry brushing spread cancer?
Dry brushing is an ancient technique and self-care ritual. It was practiced in several cultures, in Ayurvedic medicine, by Ancient Egyptians, traditional Chinese, and even in Roman medicine.
The Ancient Egyptians were excellent at creating effective beauty rituals and developed the body-brushing technique thousands of years ago. They would exfoliate with natural materials made from enzymes of sour milk and wine for supple skin.
Ayurveda in India is a 5,000 old healthcare system. Dry brushing is called “garshana,” which is used to stimulate blood flow throughout the body. Garshana was performed with linen gloves or raw silk.
When we talk about China, the brushes were made of dried fibers of guard fruit called silk squash – which we now know as the loofa! The loofa alone can be paired up with sesame seed oil to eradicate dead skin and help blood circulation.
Even the Greeks used strigils, a bronze instrument with curved blades. This tool was paired with olive oil to remove any sweat or dirt before they were used for bathing. In fact, the philosopher Aristotle, who was also the Father of Medicine, was a fan of strigils.
So, if all these cultures and traditions practiced dry brushing in their own way, let’s jump into the all-important question.
Can Dry Brushing Cause Cancer?
Our skin is one of the most sensitive aspects of our biology. Often, one of the most overlooked types of cancers is that of the skin. In order to understand whether dry brushing can spread cancer, we need to understand the nature of skin cancer and its causes.
The skin is the largest organ you possess. It has several layers; the ones we need to look out for are the epidermis and the dermis. Skin cancer starts with the epidermis comprising three particular cells:
- Squamous cells
- Basal cells
Squamous and basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of cancer skin cancer. However, they can also be cured very easily. The other type of cancer that is very recurring is melanoma, which is terminal.
Now, for the causes.
Cause of Skin Cancer
In most cases, skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun; however, these rays can also be received from tanning beds or sun lamps. These UV rays damage the skin cells and can also cause sunburn. Sure, a day out in the afternoon sun shouldn’t hurt. But keep in mind that UV rays build up over time and lead to changes in texture, aging, and, yes, cancer.
Back to the question—can dry brushing spread cancer?
Short Answer? No
Dry brushing is one of the most popular wellness practices and has been a part of many women’s and men’s skincare routines for centuries. Dry brushing is basically gently massaging your skin in circular motions with a natural-bristled brush.
Dry brushing does not cause cancer; in fact, it can help prevent it!
When exfoliating your skin, you improve lymphatic drainage, which is vital for your body to operate and remain healthy. It frees your blood from toxins and prevents the development of various types of cancer. Fun fact, your skin can eliminate up to one pound of toxins and acids per day! These toxins left within the skin can lead to various health issues, including rashes, eczema, or even psoriasis.
A tumor is a manifestation of our overall system breaking down; dry brushing helps nourish the skin and promote the growth of healthy blood cells.
Dry brushing can help improve your overall immune system function. Your lymphatic system, an important component of your immune system, enables the movement of white blood cells, which are known as lymphocytes, that are the defenders of our body.
Where exercise is usually the catalyst to improve the flow of your lymphatic system, dry brushing helps do the same for your skin.
We have finally debunked the answer to the question, “Can dry brushing spread cancer?” But we’re not done just yet.
There are various other health benefits that can be derived from dry brushing!
Other Health Benefits
Firstly, if you have tried dry brushing, you know just how amazing it feels. Similar to a massage, dry brushing is an excellent way to relax. It lowers cortisol levels and helps alleviate stress. Dry brushing is an excellent way to unwind after a hard day’s work and improves your overall mood.
Helps With Cellulite
Cellulite is a condition most women are hyper-conscious of. The areas of their bodies affected by cellulite appear rippled or give off a “cottage cheese” appearance. Even though the primary cause of developing cellulite is unknown, some claim that it can be due to a lack of exfoliation of the skin. Some doctors, however, disagree with this.
That’s right. Dry brushing also has the potential to stimulate the nerve endings that lie within the skin. The result? A more refreshed mood! Patricia K. Farris, MD, another board-certified dermatologist and clinical associate at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, approves of this.
Most of this research is backed by experience; most users have had to incorporate dry brushing into their daily routines.
But it is important to note that one possibly harms themselves if not dry brushing correctly!
How To Dry Brush The Right Way
Exfoliation is good for the skin, but that doesn’t mean you go vigorously lawn-mowing your skin which can lead to burns. The key is to be gentle and not use a brush that is too stiff.
Here’s how you can dry brush the right way:
- Start at your feet, and begin dry brushing your way upward to the heart.
- Once you begin giving your arms some TLC, begin at the hands and move upwards. Focus on firm, small strokes, and circular motions.
- When you move to the stomach, carefully dry brush in a clockwise direction.
And voila, you’re all set!
Even though dry brushing does not cause cancer, we must take precautionary measures to prevent cancer and raise awareness among people.
Doing his part, author Perry Muse, a cancer survivor, has penned one of the most enlightening memoirs in the pursuit of fighting off the morbidities of cancer one falling domino at a time. Delve into the exhilarating read Morbid Thoughts and the Domino Effect, now available on Amazon!