Do Face Brushes Help With Acne?

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For those who suffer from acne, finding an effective solution to their problem can seem like a needle in a haystack. With new cleansers, scrubs, toners, masks, and serums constantly emerging onto the market, it can be hard to make an informed decision. Add intriguing new gadgets and the hottest clinical procedures into the mix and suddenly your head is spinning.

We all want to invest in products that are effective, safe, and affordable. Let’s take a look at one of the skincare industry’s big faves – facial cleansing brushes – and break it down. What types of brushes are there, how do we use them, and most importantly, do face brushes help with acne? 


Face Brush Basics

Facial Cleansing Brush

One of the biggest musts according to epidermal experts, besides sun protection, is exfoliation. And that’s just what the face brush does for us.

In fact, its most important job is to speed up the natural skin cell cycle.

Its soft bristles gently remove the top layer of dead cells from your face, while unclogging makeup, oil, and dirt from pores. 

Benefits of Exfoliation

Not only does regular exfoliating turn a tired, grey tone into a brighter, fresher, more youthful appearance, but it can have real epidermal benefits. These include:

  • Reducing blemishes 
  • Increasing absorption of skin products
  • Maintaining firmness and elasticity with collagen stimulation
  • Removing toxins through lymphatic drainage 

Types of Facial Cleansing Brushes

As with many products, there are different kinds of brushes you can choose from. 

Manual Face Brushes

Traditional Facial Cleansing Brush

If you’re starting out and looking for an inexpensive option, you should consider a manual face brush. It might not have all the bells and whistles, but it is smaller, simpler, and will get the job done.

This category of brush is a gentle option, as you can control how vigorously you use it.

These are pretty easy to find for as little as $10.

Electric Face Brushes

PMD Facial Cleansing Brush

If you’re willing to spend a bit more and want something with more pizzazz, try a sonic facial brush. It will emit small sonic pulses to aid with exfoliating and stimulating the skin.

Many actually rotate or oscillate to increase cleansing potential, but beware of the harsh effect that might have. Most brushes have rechargeable batteries and varying speed settings. 

If you desire even more luxury, seek out models with ergonomic design, charcoal infusion, and accompanying apps! 

These can vary in price from the mid $20 up toward $200, depending on if you want a cheap product or a higher end one like the Foreo Luna .

Bristle vs. Silicone Face Brushes

Manual and electric brushes come with either soft bristles or textured silicone pads. Silicone is not abrasive and might be the best choice for sensitive skin. It is easier to keep clean and doesn’t have to be replaced as often.

Bristles boast higher gunk removal capabilities but carry the risk of over scrubbing the skin. Brushes with bristles must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly to avoid bacteria build-up.

Replacement heads also need to be purchased every few months. 

One type does not fit all, so here’s a list of dermatologist-recommended face cleansing brushes to help you choose one that suits your needs.

How do you use a face brush?

It’s best to use a face brush at the end of the day. Be sure to remove your makeup first using a cleaner or wipe. Once this is done, wet your brush and apply your usual cleaner directly onto it. Gently rub the brush on your face, never pushing down too hard.

One or two minutes should suffice. Some electric products have a built-in timer that tells you when to stop.  

How often should you use a facial brush?

Especially in the beginning, and particularly for those with sensitive skin, do not use your face brush more than a couple of times a week. Gradually increase to no more than once per day.

If you brush too often (or too vigorously), your skin can become red, dry, and sore. You could even do damage to your capillaries. If these problems arise, stop using the brush and consult your doctor.  

Do Face Brushes Help With Acne?

Now that we have a better picture of facial cleansing brush options, the question remains…drum roll, please… Do they assist us in our quest to eliminate acne from our faces?

The answer is yes. And no. 

Eliminating Some Types of Acne

First, the good news. Face brushes can help prevent acne from erupting on the skin. Let’s take a moment to appreciate our restored faith in hyped-up beauty trends – they do deliver after all! 

By ejecting dirt, grime, facial products, and sebum (a natural oil found on skin) from pores, face brushes literally remove the sources of most acne breakouts.

New skin cells are exposed, hair follicles are cleaned and pores are open. This is what healthy skin looks like. 

Potential for Causing Acne

You read correctly. The product whose goal is to reduce breakouts might actually cause them to increase! This should be a disclaimer that comes with the product. 

First and foremost, if you currently have a noticeable or sizable acne eruption, using a face brush will only inflame it more.

The same goes for rosacea and eczema. Resist the temptation to open that can of worms; put the brush down. Speak to a dermatologist regarding the best course of treatment for your symptoms. 

Sometimes when you begin using a facial cleansing brush, your skin’s initial reaction is one of shock. At first, the scrubbing might actually plug some pores, causing redness and pimples.

But don’t despair! As your skin adjusts to its new regimen, your pores should open up and adapt quickly. 

Finally, it’s imperative that you keep your brush clean. If you don’t, there’s a strong possibility it will collect dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria. You can probably guess where that will lead.

Rubbing a germ-laden brush onto newly opened pores will only increase your chances of experiencing new breakouts.

How do you clean a face brush?

Since we’re on the topic of cleansing your cleansing brush… A good rule of thumb is to rinse the brush very well after each usage. Just hold it under the tap for 20 seconds or so and you’re good to go. 

Every week or two, your brush will require a deep clean. And if you notice any discoloration on the bristles, it will definitely be time! Regular soap and warm water will do for both bristles and silicone. Scrub the back and sides of the brush head with a toothbrush. Then gently work the soap through the bristles with your hand. 

For very dirty or discolored brushes, soak the brush head in rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. Ten minutes for a bristle brush and one minute for silicone should do. Then rinse well and air dry. 

Make sure that if you have an electric cleaner, you remove the brush head before cleaning. Keep the brush body and handle (especially the battery and motor) away from liquid, unless it’s of the waterproof variety. Check first.  

Here are some excellent instructions for cleaning a face brush. 


Do face brushes help with acne? Yes, they do. 

If you follow our instructions and tips, in addition to your doctor’s advice, your skin might be looking clear and fresh in a very short time. Enjoy picking out a facial cleansing brush that suits your skin type and budget.

You deserve to look your best and pamper yourself at the same time.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).