The Pros and Cons of Using a Cleansing Brush

Because it can be addictive.

Design by Betsy Farrell

There are few things more satisfying than going over your winter-ravaged skin with a cleansing brush. What was once rough and dull is now silky-soft and glowy. But as is the case with Pinot Grigio and Vanderpump Rules, sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. With this in mind, we looked to celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau to guide us through the pros and cons of using a cleansing brush.

The Pros

Skin trauma is good…occasionally. "When you give the skin trauma, the skin goes into repair mode and stimulates cellular regeneration," says Rouleau. "This can be very beneficial to the skin."

(Editors' Note: Cate Blanchett swears by a Clarisonic. If that's not a ringing look-young-forever endorsement, we don't know what is.)

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The Cons

It can cause dryness. "Exfoliating too aggressively and too often can cause dryness and disrupt the skin's lipid barrier," she explains. "This allows moisture to seep out of the cells more easily, causing them to get dehydrated."

It can cause chronic inflammation. Again, if you're using a cleansing brush too often, it can create inflammation—even the kind that's not visible. "It's continually setting up a cascade of free radical damage that triggers premature aging," she says.

It can stimulate melanin activity. Which could ultimately result in increased skin discoloration. "You must use caution with all physical exfoliants including cleansing brushes, wash cloths, and facial scrubs," explains Rouleau. "For skin that is extremely reactive to stimulation, you need to it gently to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation."

The Bottom Line

Clean skin is good…to a certain point. "You do want your skin hygienically clean, but not clean like you want your kitchen floor," she cautions. "There is a certain amount of good bacteria that the skin needs to keep it healthy and functioning well, so you don't want to strip it by overusing a cleansing brush." Rouleau suggests using your cleansing brush *2-3 times a week* to lift off the dry skin cells.

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