A few of us at The Huffington Post rely heavily on face cleansing brushes to remove a day’s worth of makeup and environmental debris. They’re lifesavers when you feel too tired to wash your face before bed.
But there’s been a couple of instances when we’ve noticed that our freshly-buffed faces started to break out or turn really red. Curious as to whether the face cleansing brush was doing more harm than good, we asked two dermatologists to explain what exactly was going on with our skin.
“Too much of anything is never a good thing,” according to skincare line creator Dr. Dennis Gross. “Overuse [of face cleansing brushes] can lead to broken capillaries, excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and sensitivity. If these warning signs occur, it is important to stop or alter your usage immediately.”
New York City-based dermatologist Ariel Ostad echoes this warning, saying, “Facial cleansing brushes do work, but you must be careful. Any exfoliation treatments performed at home should always be prescribed by your doctor or practitioner to avoid side effects or reactions.”
But are these brushes so bad that we need to shelve them indefinitely? What exactly can we do differently?
Because breakouts can occur as a result of the tool not being maintained properly, Dr. Gross recommends cleansing the brush with soap and water or alcohol to avoid acne-causing build-up. Another way to kill bacteria? After cleaning off the brush, Dr. Ostad says to place it into the microwave for a few seconds.
Three other face cleansing brush sins we — and you — might be committing: Using it too frequently (nighttime cleansing is ideal to rid the skin of debris and sebum from the day), sharing it with your family and friends, or using it in combination with a manual or chemical exfoliant.
In order to treat problem skin, Dr. Gross suggests using calming products that contain green-tea extract. “It soothes the skin and studies show it can help prevent skin cancer. Bisabolol is another effective anti-inflammatory ingredient derived from chamomile, which will alleviate redness and reduce inflammation. Licorice root extract and cucumber extract also work.”