How could this miracle cleansing tool that leaves you with baby soft skin be back biting you?! How completely satisfying is it to get in the hot steamy shower with your sonic cleansing brush and step out with the smoothest skin of your life? There is no denying the outright allure of that little device. Some companies recommend using the brush to cleanse your delicate little face two times a day, and many of my clients are at least avid once a day users. But there is an ugly and dark side to the sonic addiction. I have clients that come to me with red irritated skin, acne flair ups and cystic pimples. After investigating for culprits, the one common factor is that they all are having a dangerous love affair with their cleansing brush! Here is why my clients are forbidden from using any cleansing brush more than 1-2 times a week:
You know me; there will be an anatomy lesson to be sure!
The top layer of skin, (aka Stratum Corneum) is made up of fats, cholesterol, water and protein. It retains moisture for you and protects you from bacteria, elements, and shriveling up like a prune. We call it the lipid barrier.
Once that lipid barrier breaks down, you start losing moisture (trans epidermal water loss aka. TEWL), your skin gets inflamed and red, bacteria can fight its way into the skin, and you may develop a rash or acne flair up. This is EXACTLY what happens when many people use their sonic brush every single day.
The beloved sonic brush is day after day breaking down that lipid barrier and causing water loss. While I have noticed that there are some skin types that can tolerate the brush (thick and very oily skin types), most can only afford to use the brush once or twice a week.
So, my friends, I encourage you to break up with your sonic brush. Bring it out only once or twice a week at most, and be sure to replace the lipid barrier with great emollient (replaces lipids) moisturizer.
So what do I tell my suffering folks that have already messed up their lipid barrier with overzealous sonic cleansing?
1. Stop using the tawdry sonic brush altogether for at least 2 weeks
2. Stop using all actives (retinoids, glycolics etc.)…on a side note if you are using tretinoin (renova, retin a) please throw away the sonic brush it will eat your face off.
2. Use a gentle creamy cleanser that is free of my most hated ingredient SLS (sodium laureth sulfate)
3. For two weeks switch your moisturizer to an emollient cream that will replace the lipid barrier such as Oxygenetix moisturizer (my personal go to) or CeraVe over the counter
4. Lactic acid has been shown to help barrier function and increase fatty acids so use a gentle lactic acid toner or serum like PCA’s Nutrient Toner once daily.