Why You Should Work Your Body Products In An Upward Motion (Trust Us, It's Worth It)

When it comes to applying lotion or scrub, we are usually the most concerned with the quantity of the product we're using, the order in which we layer our products, and how often we use them. We tend to not pay as much attention to the way we massage products into our skin, not even noticing if it's horizontally, vertically, or in a circular motion. 


While skincare application is a personal preference, and you should apply it in a way that feels natural to you, the motion with which you apply each product might play a significant role in determining your skin's capacity to absorb it. In the grand scheme of things, skincare application should be viewed as a form of lymphatic drainage massage, a self-care process that involves circulating lymph fluids around your body to encourage blood flow and spread nutrients throughout the skin, per MedicalNewsToday

Keeping in mind the benefits of lymphatic drainage, there's a superior way to work body products into your skin, and that way is upward. Massaging your lotions and scrubs in an upward motion is how you clear toxins out of the lymphatic system to maintain fresh and firm skin. 


Up is the way of the lymph nodes

The Better Health Channel defines the lymphatic system as "a network of delicate tubes throughout the body." By eliminating fluid from the blood vessels and sending it back to the bloodstream, it removes toxins and allows for the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells. When the lymphatic system isn't running smoothly, problems such as infection and swelling can occur. Crohn's disease and tonsilitis, in particular, have been linked to poor lymphatic health. In terms of effects on the skin, fluid buildup can result in swelling, premature aging, acne, and dull or inflamed skin (via The Skin Studio).


To get the lymphatic system going efficiently, we must regularly stimulate the lymph nodes to enhance lymph flow. The Brazilian lymphatic drainage massages, which celebrities like Selena Gomez and Alessandra Ambrosio swear by, are also based on this tenet. 

"When applying a cream or using a body scrub, do everything upwards and with purpose to get the fluid moving," therapist Flavia Morellato tells Net-a-Porter. It's important to work up because the fluid that the lymphatic system carries around only travels in one direction, which is up, and is not pumped by the heart, per Lymph Notes. Instead, drainage relies on massaging upwards. 

How to give yourself a lymphatic drainage massage

The areas that need a good lymphatic drainage massage are your arms, legs, and stomach. To begin, apply body lotion or body scrub to your palm. 

MedicalNewsToday advises placing your hand on your ribs and taking a slow, deep breath in and out, five times. Then, massage your neck by stretching and releasing the skin in gentle strokes. Repeat the gentle movement on the underarms — though not in areas where you have been treated for cancer — and behind the knees. 


Next, apply slow, gentle pressure to your chest using upward strokes and then release. After that, move your upward strokes to your arms and the outer sides of your body, pulling from the hip bones all the way up to the shoulders. When massaging the stomach, put your hands on top of each other and rub around your belly button in a big clockwise circle using light pressure. For your legs, knees, feet, and toes, apply the same motion using smaller strokes. Once you're done massaging your body, take a shower to rinse off all the product.

Weekly lymphatic drainage massages are a good way to boost blood circulation while lessening excess fluid. Even when you don't have time for a meticulous lymphatic massage, just remember to always use an upward motion when massaging a product over your body.