Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

All the Rage: Konjac Sponges February 26, 2014

konjac-sponge-opener

Chances are you’ve probably already heard of or even tried a konjac sponge.  I’m a little late to the game in explaining and reviewing these cleansing sponges.  But better late than never, correct?

What Is A Konjac Sponge and How Do You Use It?

Dr. Jessica Wu explains what a konjac sponge is and how to use it:

What is a konjac sponge? A konjac sponge is made of plant starch that’s extracted from a type of potato plant. The sponge absorb a lot of water, so it has a unique texture, kind of like a thick piece of squishy felt. It’s more nubby than a dish sponge, but softer than a loofah and has a finer texture than a washcloth so it’s safe to use on your face. Because of its bouncy, rubbery texture, it makes a rich lather and requires less cleanser that you would normally need. It dries quickly, so it’s more hygienic than a washcloth. Plus they are affordable (I get mine for less than $2 each), so you can change them frequently without having to worry about ruining your washcloths with makeup.

How do konjac sponges help your skin? They dislodge dirt, oil, makeup, and impurities to deep clean your skin, so they’re helpful for those with acne and large pores. They can help slough off dead, dry skin flakes that are a sign of sun damage. They can also help remove stubborn, water resistant sunscreen.

How do you use a konjac sponge? First, soak your sponge in warm water for at least five minutes to soften the fibers and avoid injuring your skin. Splash your face with warm water and squeeze a few drops of cleanser onto the sponge. Massage in a circular motion, concentrating on trouble areas and avoiding areas with healing pimples, infections, or abrasions. Rinse face with warm water and pat dry. Thoroughly rinse the sponge with warm water, squeeze out excess, and let air dry.

Personal Experience

First off, what Dr. Wu writes above about the sponge only costing about $2 is completely correct.  Buy your konjac sponge on eBay; most sellers also offer free shipping.  I bought a regular konjac sponge via eBay though the next time I buy one I’ll be trying a charcoal one since charcoal has acne fighting properties.  I did not find that I had to soak my sponge in warm water for five minutes in order to soften it; it took me about a minute to soften the sponge in the shower.  It is definitely true that you need less cleanser when using a konjac sponge; a little bit of your cleanser will foam up brilliantly on the sponge.  For me the most interesting thing about the konjac sponge was how much the texture changed once it was wet.  Dry the sponge is rough and hard, but once you’ve soaked it the sponge becomes incredibly soft.  I liked using the sponge and the price can’t be beat, but I didn’t see a difference in the appearance of my skin when using the sponge.  I think for someone like me who has tough, acne prone skin konjac sponges are a lovely addition to my skincare routine but not a necessity.  I do think that a konjac sponge can be an excellent way for someone with sensitive skin to exfoliate their skin without any irritation.  Plus, these sponges are just fun (and cheap).  I will definitely be buying another one and recommending them to clients with sensitive skin or to clients who are exfoliation phobic (unfortunately I meet a lot of those) since by using a konjac sponge you can definitely gently exfoliate while you cleanse.

Sources and Further Reading:

Photo from Refinery29

 

Pore Strips – Ok to Use? November 3, 2011

Filed under: Acne,Skincare products — askanesthetician @ 5:49 am
Tags: , , , ,

Pore strips are irresistible if you have blackheads on your nose.  Simply apply to your nose, press, and remove.  Viola!  Your blackheads are gone.  But is this really the best solution for removing blackheads?

According to FutureDerm pore strips are among 4 common beauty products to stop using Now:

The pore strip was my original skin sin: I applied it to my face, thinking I would have clear pores. One box of pore strips later, and I have been succumbed to a lifetime of needing to clean out my pores.

The reason?  Pore strips contain a hairspray-like substance on one side. It sticks to the material within your pores, but when you rip the strip off, it stretches the pore. Over time, this leads to enlarged pores, in which material collects, leaving you with a nose filled with blackheads

Paula Begoun has even harsher words for pore strips (pages 256-257 in The Beauty Bible, 2nd edition):

 Pore strips in all their varying incarnations are meant to remove blackheads.  You place a piece of cloth with a sticky substance on it over your face, as you might do with a Band-Aid, wait a bit for it to dry, and then rip it off.  Along with some amount of skin, blackheads are supposed to stick to it and come right out of your nose.  There is nothing miraculous about these products, nor do they work all that well.  The main ingredient on these strips is a hairspray-type ingredient.  If the instructions are followed closely you can see some benefit in removing the very surface of a blackhead.  In fact, you may at first be very impressed with what comes off your nose.

Unfortunately, that leaves the majority of the problem deep in the pores.  What has me most concerned about pore strips is they are accompanied by a strong warning not to use them over any area other than the intended area (nose, chin, or forehead) and not to use them over inflamed, swollen, sunburned, or excessively dry skin.  It also states that if the strip is too painful to remove, you should wet it and then carefully remove it.  What a warning!

On the flip side listen to what Dr. Jessica Wu has to say about pore strips in her book Feed Your Face (page 71):

 Go Ahead, Try It

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips, the popular “blackhead removers” that look a bit like nose bandages, do work.  When you pull off the strip, you’re removing the top layers of dead skin cells as well as oxidized (“black”) oil.  They won’t prevent blackheads because they have nothing to do with your skin’s oil production, but they can temporarily make your pores look smaller.

So whose advice should you follow?  Personally I would recommend staying clear of pore strips.  They are a temporary fix at best so it is better to invest in a salicylic acid product or a retinoid for a long-term solution.  For more tips on how to get rid of blackheads see my post (aptly titled) How to Get Rid of Blackheads.

Further Reading:

 

 

 
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