Why loofahs aren't recommended
Taking a shower rids the body of surface level germs and bacteria. The squeaky-clean feeling, however, isn’t thanks to harsh loofahs. In fact, most dermatologists don’t recommend them – and would definitely not use them on their face.
Loofahs are harsh on your skin
If you’re making the mistake of washing your face in the shower, you might not know that loofahs aren’t the best option for clean skin. “You should avoid rubbing with a loofah or washcloth as these are too irritating and will damage the skin,” says Benjamin Garden, MD, a dermatologist practicing in Chicago. “Gently use your fingers to rub the face wash on and gently wash off.” Over-washing depletes the skin of the natural lipids that are an important part of its protective barrier, which is why Peter O’Neill, MD, the Chief of the Division of Dermatology at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island, also suggests using gentle cleansers and avoiding vigorous scrubbing.
Loofahs and bacteria go hand-in-hand
On a germier note, Joel Schlessinger, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, says it’s one of the things dermatologists never put on their faces because of bacteria. “I wouldn’t recommend using a buff puff or loofah,” Schlessinger says. “Loofah sponges are intimate with many unclean areas of the body and then sit around allowing bacteria to multiply within the nooks and crannies of the sponge.” Organisms colonise in these spaces, particularly in the warm, moist environment of a shower, per Dr O’Neill. This creates the potential for serious infections, particularly in patients with weak immune systems thanks to disease or medication, he adds. But bacteria on loofahs isn’t a new discovery. Research dating as far back as 1994 shows loofahs can transmit species of bacteria that may cause infection.