When you hear the phrase ‘ultrasonic skin scrubber,’ you likely think of one of those vibrating rubbery skincare devices that are used to elevate your cleansing experience. While those facial scrubbers are lovely in and of themselves, they’re not actually ultrasonic skin scrubbers. Instead, ultrasonic skin scrubbers (also known as ultrasonic skin spatulas) are metal devices used to deeply unclog pores and cleanse the skin, leading to what many believe to be the purest possible complexion. But the question so many people are asking is: Do they really work?

If you thought that an ultrasonic skin scrubber cleanses the skin using vibration, you’re right. But, instead of a rubber format, these scrubbers are made of metal and use high-frequency vibes via sound waves to transform skin from cell to cell. 

“Cells start ‘talking’ to each other and your pores open wide, so dirt and debris are gently vibrated and scrubbed away,” Green explains. In removing dirt and debris, she says that these ultrasonic skin spatulas are able to gently exfoliate the skin, as well as collect what’s being sloughed off. 

The Benefits

  • Deep cleanses skin
  • Exfoliates skin
  • Shrinks the appearance of pores
  • Improves skin texture and tone
  • Gentler than other forms of exfoliation

While pores can’t actually shrink in size—they’re genetically predetermined—Green says that using a deep-cleaning skin scrubber can dislodge even the most stubborn built-up dirt and debris, effectively making pores look less stretched.

Additionally, by removing all the build-up, treatment products are better able to penetrate the skin, which Green says helps to improve texture and tone, often leading to smoother, brighter skin overall. 

Skin Type Considerations

One of the biggest benefits of an ultrasonic skin scrubber is that they’re one of the most gentle forms of exfoliation on the market. As such, Paviol says that they’re especially great for those who don’t respond well to other exfoliation methods, such as scrubs, brushes, or chemical peels. “The scrubber/spatula trend is a great treatment for those with sensitive, over-reactive, rosacea-prone, or acneic skin types,” he explains. “While microdermabrasion is a cult classic for deep exfoliation, it uses crystals or a diamond tip, plus negative pressure vacuum suction which can cause redness and can dilate or break capillaries depending on how sensitive someone’s skin is.”

The Drawbacks

As gentle and exciting as ultrasonic skin scrubbers are, they’re not so gentle that they can be used incessantly. 

“Clients who have purchased skin scrubbers for home use can become so excited to see their oil lift up off their skin, that they overuse the device or use it too aggressively which can lead to unnecessary sensitization or injury to the skin,” he explains. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that skin scrubbers are, first and foremost, exfoliation devices. As such, it’s important not to use them morning and night, every day of the week, just as you wouldn’t with facial scrubs, brushes, or some chemical exfoliants.  Since skin scrubbers are still relatively new to the world of at-home dermatology, Green says that, when in doubt, it’s best to see your dermatologist for guidance. 

“There are many options and these devices are safe to use if users follow the instructions for use carefully,” she says. “The only drawback is the user’s ability to follow the instructions carefully without causing harm to the skin.”

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