As COVID-19 spreads across the nation, everyone’s hygiene habits have become much more thorough in an effort to avoid catching or spreading the virus. We’re diligent about cleaning surfaces and our hands, sure, but a dermatologist strongly recommends that people avoid using their cleansing devices at this time, too.
A Mintel study from five years ago found that 20 percent of people in the U.S. used a facial cleansing device, while 2019 research from Straits Research has anticipated that silicone bristle cleansing devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 percent between 2019 and 2026. In other words: A lot of people use some sort of a facial cleansing device, which is fine, but Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, says that now is not the right time to be using them.
“A lot of my patients use Clarisonic brushes, or facial cleansing devices from other brands, but I’ve been telling them not to use them right now,” she says. “Don’t use anything but your own hands to wash your face. Because we know that this COVID-19 lives on surfaces for many days after a single exposure.”
If you have a silicone-based cleanser, these are somewhat better, since the material is naturally more resistant to bacteria, viruses, and germs. But Dr. Ciraldo points out that brands that make these devices don’t advise users to clean them with alcohol (it can hurt silicone). “Because of this, I’d recommend to not use these right now either,” she says. And if you’re a jade roller or gua sha fan, that’s totally fine—just wipe it down with rubbing alcohol, wait two minutes, then use it as you normally would, according to Dr. Ciraldo… just to stay safe and sanitized.
That said, it’s not like you need to cower in fear of your facial cleansing devices. Jason Tetro, microbiologist and author of The Germ Files, points out that the virus “dies with soap and water and definitely in the presence of rubbing alcohol.” So you very well could be safe with your cleansing tool. “I’d imagine that these devices have to be cleaned somehow after every use, so if you are a little more diligent about making sure you’re giving it a wash or disinfection step, you should be good to go,” he says. It’s up to you, but there’s nothing wrong with abiding by the “rather safe than sorry” mindset at a time like this.
FWIW, here’s what a dermatologist has to say about various skin-care devices: