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Do I Need a Cleansing Brush?

Until recently, the main methods of washing your face involved your hands, a cleanser and sometimes a face cloth (if you were a skincare junkie).

Over the last decade there have been a flood of new and innovative devices from sonic machines to hand held cleansing brushes (similar to that of an electric tooth brush) that can be used daily on your skin.

Are these creating more harm than they are good? Short answer: YES, they are.

Like everything, the marketing genius that contributes to their popularity, facial cleansing brushes can actually cause more harm than good.

The claim that they deeply clean and exfoliate the skin. Marketed directly towards oily, acne and congestion skins, 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.

Add to the mix the importance of how your use it. To ensure results the brush must be used horizontal to the skins surface with barely a need to pressure as the bristles hover over the surface spinning their little lives away. Too often we see too much pressure applied which bends the tip of the hair preventing correct penetration to the opening of the pore – meaning further damage is done to our ever so special skin barrier.  

The issue with facial cleansing brushes is that they’re simply too harsh for the daily use they’ve been designed for. Too much of one thing is never good!

The bristles are often stiff and over-stimulating, which can cause micro-damage to the skin’s surface, showing up as redness and irritation. Consumers often flag this as good as its stimulating but 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).

Let's also add a side note about the hygiene of these tools – often compacted hairs that stay moist 24/7, the amount of product, dead skin cells and water that combine together at the base of the machine is enough to make you think twice about whether this is actually causing breakouts rather than helping (if you own one do us a favour and fan out the bristles and have a look at what is going on under there… yuk)!

We bang on about this at TCC but its integral to the health and wellbeing of the skins surface. Without it you are in trouble before you even begin.

TCC’s personal preference is to go back to basics, instead double cleansing in the evenings to ensure a deep clean, starting with an oil or cream to shift any makeup and SPF, and then using a gel or milk or again the same cream, preferably with some more active acids or enzymes to provide a true and thorough cleanse. Try a Cleansing Cloth with your facial cleanser this will encourage a very delicate exfoliation and 100% a more effective cleansing process than a sonic or brush cleanser. In addition we recommend using a gentle chemical exfoliant 2-3 times a week to shift any impurities from the pores and encourage cell turnover. 

Good Skin Care starts with:

  • Thorough washing of the hands first
  • A good quality cleanser applied to the skin and massaged for 30 seconds minimum to ensure the ingredients in the product can do their thing.
  • Treat the skin with suitable and active products that match the condition of your skin
  • Breakout and congestion doesn’t get fixed with fancy machinery. It’s the consistent repetition of a skin care routine and a focus on the internal and external goings on that are contributing to the skins condition.

The Cleansing Academy Bottom Line

Clean skin is good … to a certain point. We do want our skin to be hygienically clean, but not clean like you’ve just sanitised your kitchen bench. There is a certain amount of good bacteria that the skin needs to keep it healthy and functioning well. If you over strip with product or skin tools you generate further concerns. Leave the deep cleanse to the professionals.

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