Why dirty makeup brushes can contribute to acne breakouts

June is Acne Awareness Month, and it’s important to remember that dirty makeup brushes can contribute to acne breakouts.

We know as working MUA’s that it’s crucial to clean and sanitise your brushes between each client to prevent cross contamination and any potential health problems, but don’t forget your own beauty tools and your own skin health.

What is acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the formation of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It can have a significant impact on any sufferer’s self-esteem and quality of life.


Dirty makeup brushes & sponges – the risks

Bacteria build-up

Dirty makeup brushes and sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria. When we use our brushes to apply makeup, we transfer bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells onto the bristles. Over time, this build-up of bacteria can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and acne breakouts.

Numerous pieces of research over the years have shown that makeup brushes and sponges can harbour a range of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria can cause skin infections and other health problems if they enter the body through cuts or open wounds.


Clogged pores

When we use dirty makeup brushes and beauty blenders, we are essentially applying a layer of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells onto our skin. This can clog our pores, which can lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Clogged pores can also make our skin appear dull and uneven. When pores become clogged with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, they can become inflamed and infected, leading to acne.

Skin sensitivity

Dirty makeup brushes can also cause skin sensitivity. The build-up of bacteria and oil can irritate our skin, making it more prone to redness, itching, and inflammation. This can be especially problematic for people with sensitive skin or those who are prone to acne breakouts. People with sensitive skin are more likely to experience skin irritation and inflammation from dirty makeup sponges and brushes which can lead to a range of skin problems including acne, rosacea, and eczema.

Poor makeup application

Unclean sponges and makeup brushes can also affect the way our makeup looks. When we use dirty beauty tools, the build-up of bacteria and oil can affect the texture and finish of our makeup. This can make our foundation appear cakey, our eyeshadow appear patchy, and our blush appear uneven.

Dirty makeup affects the way our makeup looks. The build-up of bacteria and oil can cause makeup to clump together, leading to an uneven finish. This can be especially problematic for people who want to achieve a flawless, natural look.

Prevention is key

To prevent acne breakouts caused by dirty makeup brushes and sponges is important to clean and sanitise your own personal brushes regularly – not just your professional brushes and sponges!!!

“Regularly cleaning of your personal makeup brushes and sponges is crucial for maintaining overall skin health. Dirty tools can cause bacteria build-up, clogged pores, skin irritation, and acne breakouts. By prioritising your personal beauty hygiene, you can prevent potential health problems and maintain the quality of your brushes and makeup sponges or a flawless finish and healthy, radiant skin.”  says Antonia Hawke, founder and creator of The Pro Hygiene Collection®.


Antibacterial Makeup Brush Cleaner Spray The Pro Hygiene Collection
Makeup Brush & Sponge Sanitising Wash The Pro Hygiene Collection

The professional solution

The Pro Hygiene Collection® offers a Quick-dry Antibacterial Makeup Brush Cleaning Spray that cleans and sanitises makeup brushes for cleaning between each client and for daily spot personal cleaning.

Our Antibacterial Makeup Brush & Sponge Sanitising Wash is a deep cleanse shampoo for makeup sponges and brushes and which gets deep into the brush head even on bigger brushes for a deep cleanse. Its special formula thoroughly cleans and sanitises all types of makeup sponges too.

Available in 100ml, 240 and with 1 litre refill options.



When deep cleansing your makeup brushes with shampoo there are some do’s and don’ts that will help extend the life of your makeup brushes.

  • Never leave makeup brushes to soak in water – it destorys the glue and eventually the bristles will fall out
  • Always rinse your make up brushes in clean running warm water until all suds run clear
  • Squeeze excess water out over the sink with bristles of the brush head down before squeezing in a dry clean towel as this will help drying time
  • Lay your brushes over the edge of a counter with their heads clear 360 degrees to allow air to circulate fully around the brush head
  • Never dry you brushes standing up right on the end of the handle – water will collect in the base of the bristles
  • If possible, dry brushes with the head lower than the handle so any water falls away from the ferrule. This stops water rotting the glue and the brush hairs will simply fall out
  • Never dry your makeup brushes and sponges with a hair dryer or on a radiator (you’d be suprised that some people do and it’s a fire hazard too!).
Antonia Hawke

Founder & Creator, The Pro Hygiene Collection


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