Trend of the month: Dry Brushing

The wind and weather has hit Brooklyn and I know my skin is not appreciative! My hands are dry, cuticles broken and sore, knuckles cracked and scraped. My elbows are white and rough. And I know some of us now get tiny bumps on our upper arms and thighs that aren't pimples--they're outbreaks of Keratosis Pilaris, which can occur on skin that is is too dry. Too much protein or dead skin can gather in pores if you don't exfoliate properly, and the protein buildup forms into red or white bumps that don't look or feel good (a familiar term is "chicken skin"--yuck)! Though the condition is mostly genetic, cold weather conditions can definitely contribute. A couple of quick and easy treatments include turning on (or investing in!) a humidifier, using a loofah in the shower, and applying your choice of moisturizer right after you towel off. The timing here is key: moisturizing after a shower helps your already-open pores lock in the hydration of the lotion that they need. This prevents an over-secretion of oil, which is what can lead to some of those bumps.

For more stubborn outbreaks, consider making a new habit of dry skin brushing. Not only does this practice an additional exfoliation step, but it also encourages the release built-up toxins and stimulates blood flow to the specific brushed area. You can start by choosing a long-handled brush, at your favorite health food store, pharmacy or spa. A brush with natural bristles is better than one with synthetic bristles--these may irritate your skin and do more harm than good. Before you shower, use the brush on the soles of your feet and work up, all over your limbs, using an upward motion, as this will boost blood flow toward your heart. One round is fine, two rounds of brushing is better. With less toxins and better circulation, our skin will be more nourished and potentially our energy levels will be higher and our immune systems will be sharper. 

Keeping skin hydrated and invigorated helps protect us from the external season chill. Rachel recommends Williamsburg neighborhood boutique, Skinny Skinny's line of Body Oil, and especially enjoys their Rosemary Bergamot scent. If our pores are hydrated and relieved of dead cells and proteins, then the chances of developing ugly bumps or even catching colds are much smaller. Consider these extra steps to care for your biggest organ, biggest detoxifier, and biggest barrier so that it may take its best care of you.