Alleviate Dull Skin with Dry Body Exfoliation

Some of the tools you can use in a dry exfoliation.
Some of the tools you can use in a dry exfoliation.

Looking for something that will liven up dull skin and make you feel fresh and rejuvenated? Unless you've managed to locate the fountain of youth, maybe dry body exfoliation at your local spa is just what the doctor ordered.

Dry body exfoliation uses a dry, rough material (usually a natural-bristle brush) rubbed directly on the skin. It's different from "wet" types of exfoliation treatments because it doesn't require creams, oils or rubs that need to be applied and rinsed off. Instead, it simply relies on the exfoliating power of friction to bring your skin back to life.


The actual dry rubbing for this treatment is usually done with a brush, loofah, or cactus fiber cloth. Sometimes spas will use salt or sugar to create the necessary roughness -- kind of like those face cleansers with rough particles in them, but without the cream. Other times it's simply done with dry hands rubbed directly on the skin. The therapist typically uses light pressure and works with rhythmic strokes, following a pattern and focusing on one part of the body at a time. Dry exfoliation is frequently used along with a massage or before applying spa treatments, like creams, oils, lotions, or wraps.

So what's the point? Dry exfoliation has plenty of benefits. The friction of the rough material on the skin helps to remove dead skin cells, which leaves skin smooth and less flaky. Removing the top layer of dead cells also helps moisturizers soak into the skin, helps prevent ingrown hairs from shaving and waxing and (this may sound gross) help dislodge debris from the skin that can clog your pores. The pressure and friction also increases blood flow and boosts circulation, which rejuvenates the look and feel of the skin. Some spas also claim dry exfoliation boosts the immune system and increases energy.

In general, dry body exfoliation shouldn't be painful if done correctly. Instead it should be relaxing and invigorating. There are a couple of things you want to watch out for, though. First, even if you find that dry exfoliation is your new favorite spa treatment, avoid over-exfoliation because it can dry out skin over time and cause irritation and inflammation. Second, the procedure shouldn't be performed on open wounds, broken skin, or on people with chronic skin conditions because it could lead to infection and irritation.

Ready to spa it up? Find out more about what spas have to offer with the links on the next page.


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  • DuPriest, Laura. "Natural Beauty: Pamper Yourself With Salon Secrets At Home." Random House Digital, 2002.
  • Lees, Mark, Joel Gerson, and Loren Shields-Michel. "Skin Care: How to Save Your Skin." Cengage Learning, 2001.
  • Mernagh-Ward, Dawn, and Jennifer Cartwright. "Health and Beauty Therapy: A Practical Approach for NVQ Level 3." Nelson Thornes, 2004.
  • Williams, Anne. "Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists." Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2006.