Are electronic cleansing devices safe?

A good electronic facial cleansing device can be a very useful adjunct to cleansers – given that you are the right skin type and use it sensibly.

There are clinical studies to confirm that the Clarisonic brush for example removes harmful pollution left-overs (which are of course contributing to premature skin ageing and various other skin problems!) from the skin much better than manual cleansing. The Clarisonic brush also helps active ingredients in skincare to penetrate better when applied afterwards. So for those reasons I like the Clarisonic brush, recommend it to certain patients and also use it myself a couple of times per week.

However, there is a tendency these days to overuse electronic cleansing devices and personally I would recommend using them not on a daily basis, but only 2-3 times per week. Also, my advice is to avoid them in sensitive skin, eczema prone skin and definitely also in skin with any inflamed lesions such as in acne or rosacea (i.e. spots and pimples!).

You also have to be careful, as highly active skincare ingredients such as vitamin A derivatives (e.g. retinol or retinaldehyde) will have a stronger effect when used after cleansing with an electronic cleansing aid. The same goes for exfoliants (such as mechanical scrubs or chemical exfoliants such as alpha glycolic acid) – you might have to reduce their frequency of use once you start using an electronic cleansing aid. Best to get advice from your dermatologist, who might want to adjust your daily skincare regime when you start using an electronic cleansing aid.

Also, while good devices such as the Clarisonic brush have scientific studies behind them to support their effectiveness (and more importantly their safety!), there are many cheap copy-cat devices available these days and using a not so well tested device would worry me personally, as our skin is such a delicate, yet extremely important organ that we really don’t want to mess with. (I am not on commission by Clarisonic by the way…)

So in summary – electronic cleansing brushes can be very useful. However, overusing these cleansing devices, using the wrong types of device or combining them with the wrong type of cleansers and/or skincare may impair your skin’s barrier function, possibly leading to irritation and inflammation.