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Notes on Cleansing Brushes

Should you be using a cleansing brush? Despite their popularity, facial cleansing brushes can actually cause more harm than good. 

Said to deeply clean and exfoliate the skin, and marketed especially towards those with acne and congestion, these electrical devices rely on a circular motion to physically buff the skin. While they can certainly cause the skin to feel squeaky clean, facial cleansing brushes can disrupt the skin’s barrier function and pH levels, provoking the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and produce even more oil to overcompensate.

The issue with facial cleansing brushes is that they’re simply too harsh for the daily use they’ve been designed for. The bristles are often stiff and over-stimulating, which can cause microdamage to the skin’s surface, showing up as redness and irritation. In the long term, this sort of frequent aggressive exfoliation can result in chronic inflammation and an impaired acid mantle (the fine film of oil, sweat and amino acids which naturally sits on the outermost layer of the skin and acts as an important antibacterial barrier). 

My personal preference is to go back to basics. Instead, I suggest double cleansing in the evenings to ensure a deep clean, starting with an oil or balm to shift any makeup and SPF followed by a gel or milk, preferably with active acids or enzymes. 

Using a muslin cloth with your facial cleanse can encourage a very delicate exfoliation, or, alternatively, I recommend using a gentle chemical exfoliant two to three times a week to shift any impurities from the pores and encourage cell turnover. Both a light physical exfoliation via the muslin cloth, or something stronger via a product, will buff out your skin nicely and not wreck havoc on your skin’s precious barrier.