As I was flipping through the channels the other night, I noticed a commercial for Neutrogena's new facial brush, called the Wave.
Marketed as a "power-cleanser," the brush uses disposable textured pads and a battery-operated motor to exfoliate skin as it's cleansed.
The Wave is primarily marketed to a younger audience, which did concern me for one reason: That tends to be a demographic that overwashes and overscrubs in an attempt to "clean away" acne and blemishes. But anyone with sensitive skin - and acne-prone skin is indeed sensitive - should actually avoid these vigorous scrubbing products, which can exacerbate inflammation.
Rosacea and the tendency to experience skin allergies are further indications that you should not be using an abrasive exfoliant or a vigorous cleansing brush. Similarly, anyone with very dry skin should avoid exfoliating, which may compromise an already impaired skin barrier and worsen dryness.
That is not to say, though, that facial brushes are universally bad. Resistant types in particular can benefit from more intensive exfoliation. Remember, in my skin-typing system, "resistant" is the opposite of "sensitive" - but resistant types have their own set of concerns:
Because their skin is literally thicker, they have to work a little harder to get beneficial ingredients to penetrate. And one great way to do that is by sloughing off dead skin cells before applying other products.
So if you have skin that can tolerate facial brushes, there's no reason not to use them. Just be aware that they offer no more benefits than a good facial scrub (I love the Alchimie Forever Excimer Plus Gentle Antioxidant Refining Scrub, for example), although they may be a little more fun! When you consider some of the brushes out there, though - like Clarisonic's Skincare Brush, the gold standard of facial brushes that retails for almost $200 - fun might not be worth the premium.