Is Skin Brushing As Effective On Wet Skin As Dry Skin?

There’s something delightfully indulgent about taking a hot bath as everyone else in the timezone tackles yet another workweek. As I reveled in my birthday bath yesterday, I pondered deep thoughts about (what else) the finer aspects of cellulite treatment.

Internet, you are home to some clever individuals.  CI readers have brought up questions I never would have thought of on my own. Like Harbour House, who last week asked why dry brushing is so much better than wet brushing. I assumed it was better because all the experts recommend brushing the skin when it’s dry, and I had such a strong reaction to dry brushing the first time I tried it that I knew they were on to something. But Harbour House wanted to know why, and for that question I didn’t have a good answer.

Cherry Maslen and Linda Bird address this very issue in their book, Cellulite Solutions (52 Brilliant Ideas): Tips and Techniques to Lose the Lumps. Here is their response:

You won’t remove the surface cells as effectively if your skin is wet, neither will your brush glide so easily across your skin. The key is to use long, smooth movements on dry skin toward the heart.

I’ve read similar answers from other skin brushing experts, and it seems logical enough. But as I soaked in my first bath in over a year, I started to gather conflicting evidence. Namely, my legs started to molt. Yes, molt. Like a lizard (but a very happy lizard, soaking in a geranium-scented bath). Despite the fact that I had been dry brushing regularly and using the occasional salt scrub, my skin was still not properly exfoliated. The hot water softened the skin to the point that the remaining dead skin cells easily brushed off with nothing more than a washcloth.

I still think dry skin brushing is greatly beneficial as a cellulite treatment, but I am starting to believe that wet skin brushing offers it’s own benefits, too.  Traditional cultures valued both practices. Looking back, I am surprised it took me so long to figure this out considering I lived in Tunisia prior to moving to Scotland (where I first started dry brushing). Tunisia has a rich history of wet skin brushing, something I will have to blog about in a future post.

So all of you Northerners out there who get automatic goose bumps at the thought of dry brushing in January, you might want to experiment with hot baths and a loofah to see if they can get you through the winter months. I’d love to hear about your progress. And in case you were wondering, Tuesday morning baths feel just as indulgent as Monday morning baths. I now know from experience.

*This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Works for Me Wednesday hosted at We Are THAT Family.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo PicassoJoin the Cause

Start healing your cellulite right now by visiting our Cellulite Treatments page.  Please come back and let us know how it’s going along the way!

Or to make the most of your time and effort, why not first take a few minutes to get smart on cellulite theory by reading Cellulite 101?

*Signup to receive email when we announce a breakthrough in the case.


By submitting a comment below, you agree to abide by our comment policy

Harbour House says:

wow it's cool to think I inspired a whole entry devoted to my question! very informative thanks. reading it, I'd propose a couple of tentative conclusions. it seems the motion of wet brushing to get rid of dead skin cells may be quite different to dry brushing to stimulate lymphatic drainage. I've always exfoliated in the shower using shower gel and brushing in small circular motions. That seems like the best way to brush off dead skin cells to me. So I was struck when you recommended 'long, smooth movements' for dry brushing – how many times would I have to brush my lower leg, for example, for it to have an effect? once? twice? twenty?


Hi, Harbour House! So nice to hear from you again. Not surprisingly, you bring up more good questions. I think the circular motions make sense for wet skin brushing because it's so focused on exfoliation. With dry brushing, I think the main purpose is to stimulate the lymphatic system, so that is why they recommend the longer movements (to best trace the pattern of lymphatic flow).

Are you asking how many strokes to be effective, or how many dry brushing sessions? For the former, I would say until the area turns a rosy color. For the latter, it probably varies for everyone. When I first started, I saw results within two weeks, dry brushing twice a day. But last year I hit a plateau and it didn't seem to have an effect on my remaining cellulite at all. This is the same time my fluoroderma had returned after moving back to the States. I am excited to see what happens now that I don't live in a fluoridated area. I will be sure to keep you posted! Feel free to do the same!

Bronwyn Hewitt says:

It is best to scrub or exfoliate in the shower or bath, your skin is softer and more supple and as your skin will be softer it will slough off in more even layers. Dry brushing in the bath will not only ruin your brush but also have NO affect. If you like I will write more eloquently answer this in more detail.


That would be great, Bron! Is it important to do both dry brushing and a form of wet exfoliation with a loofah (that's what I meant by wet skin brushing, I should have worded that better). Thanks for checking in on us here 🙂 As you can see, we still have a lot of questions!


Oops!Please fill out all required fields