Would you like to know a really inexpensive way to make your face look years younger? Of course you would! Who wouldn’t?
Well, get yourself a two dollar, soft-bristle toothbrush and you’ll be on your way. Regularly brushing your FACE (yes, your face) with a toothbrush will help keep your skin youthful. Don’t believe me? Tempted to stop reading? I know it sounds nutty, but stay with me. Have you heard of the company Sonicare? They make electric toothbrushes. Guess what? Now they also make a brush for the FACE. It’s the same design, just a bit larger. It costs $200. People who have it seem to love it. If you have an extra $200, by all means, buy it. But if you only have an extra $2, I promise you, a regular, soft-bristle toothbrush, properly used, will give you great results. I’ve been doing it for 15 years now and though I’m well into my 40s, I still get asked for I.D. at the Trader Joe’s when I buy red wine. (If you’re obsessed with anti-aging, red wine is the only alcohol you should be drinking, by the way.)
Here’s what you do:
1. Wet your face and neck with warm water. You may want to open your pores by applying a warm washcloth for a few minutes.
2. Apply the skin cleanser of your choice to your face and neck. If you have dry skin, you may wish to use a moisturizing cleanser. If it’s oily, you can use something that treats oily skin. Use whatever is already working for your skin. Apply it all over the face and neck, unless it’s an acne formula, then use something less drying for the skin around your eyes. (You may want to do the eyes separately.)
3. Apply the cleanser to the toothbrush. This helps the brush glide over the skin more smoothly.
4. Begin gently brushing in small circles. Where you start is up to you, but I like to begin with the sides of the mouth where laugh lines form.
Brush clockwise and counterclockwise all over the cheeks, chin. On the forehead, you can brush in circles and also up and down. Pay attention to the area between your eyebrows, were frown lines appear. Brush in circles, clockwise and counterclockwise. If you have lines higher on the forehead above, from lifting your eyebrows, brush in circles over those lines and also up and down.
5. Do the eyes last. And be very very gentle in this area. If you’ve used a drying cleanser, wash it off the brush before you do the eyes and use something more moisturizing. You can even brush with moisturizer in the eye area. Put the brush on the outer part of the eye closest to your hairline, where you may have crows feet, and brush GENTLY in toward the bridge of the nose. When you begin, use just a few brush strokes. Not more than four to start. As you do it more often, you use more pressure and more strokes, but begin slowly.
6. Even with light pressure, your skin is likely going to look red, depending on your skin tone. Don’t worry. The redness will subside within several minutes. If it has not subsided after an hour, either you’ve brushed too vigorously, or this procedure is not appropriate for your skin. Start out with very little pressure and build up over time if you’re seeing good results. If your face becomes inflamed or irritated your skin may simply be too sensitive for this.
7. Always, always, always, without exception, follow this with some sort of moisturizer. Use one you’ve already been using that you know works well for your skin. If you’re brushing in the daytime, use a moisturizer with sunscreen, preferably one that has an SPF of 30 or higher. If you’re brushing at night, follow with a great night cream.
Nighttime is when the skin repairs itself, so if you do the brushing, following with a night cream designed to replenish and repair, and you sleep, you’re going to get an added benefit. This is because the brushing and exfoliating prepares the skin for products to penetrate more effectively.
Do this regularly, a few time as week and you’ll soon notice that your skin looks clearer, younger, less lined and more vibrant.
Why is this? A few reasons:
1. Brushing brings blood to the surface of the skin. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells. So, you are helping to “feed,” your skin when you brush it. As you do this regularly, you nourish your skin on a regular basis. If your nutrition is good, that further enhances the quality of the blood being sent to your skin tissues. So, eat a good diet and the results will be further enhanced.
2. The exfoliating helps to slough off dead skin cells. When we’re young, our skin cells turn over regularly without assistance. As we age, however, that process slows down and old cells cling to the surface longer, resulting in a dulling of the complexion. Regular exfoliating assists the skin in this cell turnover, allowing older skin to look more like its younger self.
3. Exfoliating also draws out impurities from the pores, helping to keep them cleaner and smaller. As we age, our pores begin to look larger. Clearing the pores helps the skin look smoother and tighter.
4. Brushing stimulates the muscles under the surface of the skin, similarly to how they would be stimulated by a face massage. As you’re going over the skin, brushing in circles and up and down in certain areas, the tiny muscles under the skin’s surface are being stimulated. Blood flow to the muscle is occurring. This stimulation helps to keep these muscles conditioned in a way that they would otherwise not be. If the muscles below the surface of the skin remain conditioned, your face holds up better over time and there is less sagging.
When I began skin brushing, I limited it to a few times a week. This is what I recommend for you as you begin. Each person’s skin is different, so you’ll find what works best for you. When you start, be sure to use a SOFT BRISTLE toothbrush. Build up slowly. If your skin responds well to the procedure (you can tell by how it looks and feels) it’s okay to do it daily or every other day. When I began, years ago, I brushed only a few times a week. Now I can brush every day and my skin loves it.