Facial Cleansing Brush vs. Washing By Hand: Which Is Better?

Written by Holly Singletary, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on June 15, 2020 No Comments

tool vs hand cleansing

Technology has invaded almost every aspect of daily life including skincare. Over the last few years a new wave of tech cleansing tools washed over the beauty industry. One shining star in skin tech is automated facial cleansing brushes, touted as the next generation of skin cleansing.

But are these devices really worth the cost? Should you throw out your washcloth in favor of a brand new battery operated cleanser? Many clinical studies and consumer surveys say “yes!”

Benefits of Automated Facial Cleansing Brushes

Many automated cleansing systems promote five major benefits compared to traditional washing methods:

  • Higher efficiency cleansing
  • Increased absorption of after-cleansing skincare products like anti-aging serums or acne products
  • Increased skin hydration levels
  • Increased collagen production
  • Increased exfoliation (removal of old dead skin cells)

Manufacturers like Clarisonic and Foreo back up these claims with data from studies and consumer surveys. According to several clinical studies, users of facial cleansing systems experience 6 times better cleansing and 61% better skincare product absorption compared to their counterparts who used traditional cleansing methods. Even more impressive: 90% of automated cleansing users reported that their skin was more radiant and felt softer from use.

Early Use – What to Expect

Switching over to a facial cleansing system is definitely a big transition, both for your skincare regimen and for your skin itself. Within the first week or two of using a facial brush it’s normal for the skin to flare up with pimples and other blemishes. This occurs because your pores may become clogged from the enhanced amount of dead skin cells being removed by the cleansing system.

However many users report significant improvements in their skin by their third week of use. At that point the skin becomes used to the enhanced exfoliation aspect of automated cleansing systems and your pores will be clearer.

Tips for Cleansing System Rookies

  • Prior to starting with a new system, use a face wash and acne treatment (products containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid) to minimize breakouts from the transition period.
  • Ease automated cleansing into your current routine, using your system only once or twice per week in the first couple of weeks.
  • If you have sensitive skin you may want to limit use to once or twice a week.
  • Follow your cleansing with any topical medications you may use, then with moisturizer and sunscreen (during the day).


Holly Singletary, MD

Holly Singletary, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist with specialized training in cutaneous laser and dermatologic surgery. Dr. Singletary is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) and American Society of Laser Medicine (ASLMS). She practices medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology and enjoys the artistic nature of aesthetic injectables and enhancing one’s natural beauty.

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