The Clarisonic Review
I became interested in the Clarisonic after hearing people rave about it. People love it! Turns out this sonic skin cleaning brush is made by the same people who developed the original Sonicare toothbrush. Now if you're like me, hearing that makes you worry about build quality. My experience with the Philips Sonicare made me skeptical.
My first Sonicare toothbrush, made by a company called Optiva Corporation, lasted about 8 years and I LOVED it. After it finally died, I bought another and was horribly disappointed. That one died in about a year. Thinking it was a fluke, I bought another. It was awful also. After doing some investigation, I found that Sonicare was acquired by Philips. And my favorite toothbrush EVER, was never the same.
David Giuliani, co-founder of Optiva - the original maker of the GREAT Sonicare - started Clarisonic in 2000. In 2011, it was sold to L'Oreal. Unlike the Philips Sonicare, the quality of the Clarisonic continues to be excellent.
How does the Clarisonic work?
The patented cleansing brushes oscillate at a sonic frequency, producing over 300 movements per second. It creates a flexing action between the outer and inner brushes to loosen dirt and oil, remove impurities from pores, and enable skin to better absorb topical treatments.
What happens to skin when you don't get all your makeup off?
Occasionally, we all leave makeup on - even though we know we shouldn't. Anna Pursglove, a reporter at the DailyMail.com, wondered what would happen to her skin if she left her makeup on for an entire month. She did do a quick face wash each morning, but didn't use any of her usual cleansing creams. Each day she reapplied new makeup over the last day's make up remnants. After the month was over, she went to see Dr. Stefanie Williams, Medical Director of the European Dermatology London Clinic. Here is how Dr. Williams explained the results.
Anna's skin got dryer and the texture was less elastic. Her wrinkles became more noticeable. The layer of make up prevented normal skin shedding, slowed down the skin renewal process, and created uneven, dull skin. The dryness was compounded by environmental pollutants that stuck to the make up. Anna's skin experienced oxidative stress because it was attacked by harmful free radicals.
"These molecule-sized compounds cause damage to various cellular structures in the skin and can actually decrease production of collagen - the substance that gives skin its plumpness - compounding the wrinkle issue," she explained. They also contribute to the breakdown of elastin, which gives skin it's elasticity. Both collagen and elastin naturally deteriorate with age, but "you don't want to do anything to speed up that process," added Dr. Williams.
When Anna slept in her make up, the make up formed a barrier on her skin. It kept irritants locked in and exacerbated allergies. Moisturizers were locked out. Dirt in Anna's pores made them more noticeable and they got about 5% larger.
The experts estimated that Anna's skin had aged about 10 years during her month without washing. Dr. Williams felt that Anna's skin was most affected by the accumulation of environmental pollutants which generated free radicals.
Anna's month sabbatical from washing is an extreme example of how important good skin cleansing is. Without effective cleaning, skin is exposed to oil, perspiration, debris, makeup, and pollutants. When combined, they make a sticky, pore-clogging film that is a barrier to skin care products. Skin becomes unhealthy, irritated, and feels rough.
5 Reasons You Should Be Using the Clarisonic:
1. The Clarisonic cleanses 6 x better than using your hands alone. A study was done to check the effectiveness of the Clarisonic in removing mineral make up. One side was cleansed with the Clarisonic using cleanser and water and the other side was cleansed by hand with a cleanser and water. The Clarisonic was more than 6 times better at removing mineral makeup than manual cleansing. These results were confirmed in another study with fluorescent make up.
2. The Clarisonic Removes 30 x more pollutants than manual cleansing. 90% of visible aging is caused by sun exposure and pollution. Exposure to air pollution for long periods of time causes skin damage. And in turn, that damage limits your body’s ability to protect itself from the environment. Sonic cleaning removes 30 x more pollution from skin than manual cleansing. If you'll recall from Anna's story, Dr. Williams felt that Anna's skin was most affected by environmental pollutants which generated free radicals.
3. Skin care products are more easily absorbed by your skin. A study compared the absorption of vitamin C. Equal volumes were applied to both sides of the same person's forehead. The study showed that there was up to 61% greater absorption of vitamin C after using the Clarisonic when compared to manual cleansing.
4. The Clarisonic reduces the appearance of photoaging. A study tested the effectiveness of the Clarisonic when used in conjunction with topical products for photoaging. One side of the face was cleansed using the Clarisonic and the other was cleansed manually with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. After cleansing, subjects applied topical antioxidants. Use of the Clarisonic was shown to reduce the appearance of photoaging.
5. The Clarisonic is safe and effective for cleansing skin with acne. In a study by K.M. Ortblad, Z. Draelos, G. Peterson, and R. Akridge, the Clarisonic was found to be safe and effective on skin with acne. There was significant improvement in acne at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks.
How do you use the Clarisonic?
How often should I use the Clarisonic? Frequency varies by skin type and lifestyle. The product packaging recommends using the product twice a day.
Dermatologist, Ellen Marmur of Marmur Medical in New York City disagrees.
“Unless you have really oily skin, there’s no reason to exfoliate it every day,” She feels three days a week is sufficient. “Dead skin will slough off naturally anyway, although this cell turnover does slow down with age. Using chemical exfoliators (retinoids, alpha or beta hydroxy acids) or mechanical ones like a scrub, washcloth, or a face brush (like the Clarisonic) just help that process along.”
Oily, acne-prone skin types may get good results with daily exfoliation; however, people with sensitive skin should build up to daily use gradually (or just stick with 3 days a week).
Dr. Marmur likes the Clarisonic. It boosts blood circulation to the skin, and its non-abrasive bristles gently exfoliate. When used too often though, even a soft brush can cause irritation. This is especially true when you are using a retinoid or acid product. Over exfoliating removes the skin's protective oil barrier. When this happens, skin gets red and inflamed. It burns and flakes. It may take days or weeks for skin to return to normal.
In an interview with TheCut.com, Dr. Marmur said,
“You can definitely incorporate both a brush and a glycolic into your weekly regimen to brighten your complexion - just stagger it.” Try using your Clarisonic on Mondays and Thursdays. Use an acid or retinoid on Saturday. “Chill out the other four days, allow your skin to exfoliate on its own, and give it a rest."
How much cleanser should you use? Dr. Robb Akridge, Clarisonic co-founder and V.P. of Clinical Affairs, answered this question in an interview with Makeup.com.
“I find that many only put a dab or a dime-sized amount of cleanser, which is not enough. You should wet your brush and face, and apply a quarter-sized amount to the side of the brush - not the center.”
What is the best brushing method? Use a gentle, circular motion. Don't press hard.
Can I use any cleanser? Use your favorite cleanser. You don't have to use the Clarisonic cleansers.
Which model should I use? Choose the model and brush made for your skin type. If you answer questions on "Find Your Clarisonic," the website will give recommendations based on your answers. Your brush head will also affect how often you use your Clarisonic. If you exercise and wash your face often, try the Sensitive or Cashmere brush head.
My personal Experience with the Clarisonic Mia 2 mirrors everything Dr. Marmur said. I use a sensitive brush with SkinCeuticals Replenishing Cleanser. But my skin hurts if I use the brush too often. To be fair, I haven't tried the Cashmere brush head.
I use retinol daily and am sure it affects my skin's ability to tolerate frequent use of my Mia 2. That said, when I use the brush, my skin feels really clean and invigorated. It does feel like skin care products are easily absorbed and more potent.
Better yet, Clarisonic stands behind their product. They offer a 90 day, 100% money-back guarantee on their sonic cleansing brushes so you can feel confident in your purchase. I must say, I am very happy with my purchase! I highly recommend the Clarisonic!
Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery. Amy loves research and constantly watches for new products and treatments to help you improve your skin’s health – because healthy skin is beautiful! To reach Amy, visit our contact page.
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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology | 2008; 58: AB25 P225
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