7 Best Skin Scrubbers of 2023, Tested by Skincare Experts

Add this skincare gadget to your at-home facial routine and your skin will benefit.

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When it comes to exfoliating your face, there are a lot of skincare tools and products out there to reach the same end goal. While there are numerous top-rated face scrubs, facial cleansing brushes and exfoliating gloves on the market, some can be too harsh for more sensitive skin. That's why many turn to skin scrubbers (or face spatulas) to get the job done without disrupting their skin barrier.

We relied on dermatologist input as well as customer feedback on popular brands to find the best skin scrubbers.

According to board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., a skin scrubber is a form of gentle exfoliation. "Ultrasonic metal spatulas use sound waves to create vibrations to help loosen, dislodge and remove dead skin cells, sebum and other debris," she explains. You can also use a skin scrubber to message product into skin after cleansing.

After you find the right skin scrubber for your skin, learn more about how to use the gadget at the end of this guide. Looking for more tools to upgrade your routine? Check out our roundup of the best facial steamers to help open your pores even more.

A cult favorite for a reason, the Ultrasonic Pore Extractor by Dermaflash has a stainless steel spatula with two modes to help unclog pores and improve absorption of active ingredients found in skincare products.

We appreciate its gentle ultrasonic vibrations and the rounded head that makes it more comfortable to move across the skin, especially around the nose area. Simply press the power button once for extract mode and twice to switch to infuse mode which uses the flat portion of the spatula to massage in your moisturizer, serum or oil. The manufacturer claims that the tool will refine pores, extract blackheads and even boost circulation.

It has a four-out-of-five star rating from Dermstore customers, and one glowing review says, "Easy tool to use! It leaves my skin smooth and soft! You can see the gunk being expressed from your pores which is super satisfying too." One GH editor, who uses the scrubber on a weekly basis, can confirm the satisfaction of seeing the gunk leave her pores. Given the price, she wishes the face spatula had more modes, but her skin still glows after each session.

Beauty tools can run a high bill sometimes, which is why we recommend this face spatula by GUGUG if you’re looking for a way to gently exfoliate for under $20. A smaller price tag doesn't mean you'll have to compromise on functionality, though. Similar to other picks on our list, this skin scrubber has four modes and comes with two silicone covers — plus it has over 27,000 Amazon ratings that come together to form a four-star rating out of five.

One verified purchase and five-star review says, "I’m an esthetician and have always purchased another brand that is close to $200. I bought this for my sister and so far works great!" While this particular review notes how the spatula holds a long charge, other customers say the opposite.

You can choose from four modes including cleansing, lifting, ion+ for removing leftover dirt and ion- for helping product sink into the skin. To turn on, hold down on the power button for three seconds and then click the same button again to toggle between the different modes.

We appreciate that the skin scrubber has a timing function so it automatically turns off after five minutes, a helpful detail not all face spatulas include. Similar to our pick by GUGUG, it's an affordable pick and comes with two textured silicone cases that you can slide on to clean your skin. We appreciate the lower price tag, but some customers note that the product may not have a super long battery life. You'll get a USB charging cord and user manual in the package with your purchase.

Dr. King recommends this ultrasonic face spatula by Skin Gym, and a perfect five-star rating on the brand's website reflects its popularity among consumers. Effective for every skin type, according to the manufacturer, vibrations loosen up blackheads and help product penetrate deeper.

Skin Gym recommends applying a serum or oil prior to use and notes that it's best to use the spatula for 5 to 10 minutes. One satisfied customer calls this skin scrubber "magic" and multiple reviews comment on how great it is at removing blackheads. "I have blackheads on my nose that are TERRIBLE and old and deep and that refill no matter what I do, but this does pull them out better than anything else I've tried," says one five-star review.

Designed to be water-resistant, this professional skin scrubber has a durable alloy construction, a stainless steel applicator and "industry leading ultrasonic power," per the Bio-Therapeutic's website. That distinction comes at a high price at $195 for consumers and $125 for professionals.

But if you are looking for a splurge-worthy beauty tool, this is it. Toggle between three different modes including EXFOL mode for cleansing and exfoliating to help remove impurities; CLEAR mode for safe, at-home extractions and APPLY mode for promoting absorption of your serum and moisturizer into the skin. You can also experiment with the two power modes to personalize your skin scrubbing experience.

As previously mentioned, skin scrubbers as an overall device are designed to provide gentle exfoliation. But this one in particular has a five-star review from a customer with sensitive skin who hadn't found an at-home exfoliation method until this product. "My friend showed me how she uses it and I was so impressed with the instant results I had to get one and try it for myself. So glad I did, worth every penny!" If you have acne-prone skin, you may benefit from the blue LED light setting — although one review notes the blue light did not work long before going out. Still, you'll be able to unclog pores and remove oil buildup for glowing skin.

Blue light therapy is meant to help minimize pores and prevent acne breakouts, while red light therapy works to penetrate skin, promote blood circulation and stimulate cells. This skin scrubber also uses ultrasonic technology for a high-frequency vibration and has settings for face lifting (EMS), blackhead removal (ION+) and essence infuse (ION-).

While vibrations are critical for dislodging dirt from the pores, the intensity of this particular scrubber could be too intense if you have very sensitive skin. Anlan recommends using the skin scrubber after steaming your face, whether that's in the shower or using one of our best facial steamers. Switch between the different modes for a complete at-home facial experience that includes light therapy and deep cleaning to help unclog pores, control oil and more.

Our experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute's Beauty, Health and Sustainability Lab have not yet tested skin scrubbers, but we spoke with a board-certified dermatologist to gain medical insight regarding the benefits of using a skin scrubber. We also considered skin scrubbers from popular brands that have positive consumer feedback and looked for face spatulas that included multiple modes and power options to toggle between, an auto shut-off feature, silicone covers and more.

✔️ Skin type: When purchasing any skincare tool, it's critical to choose a tool that is designed for your specific skin type. While skin scrubbers are designed for sensitive skin in mind, some also include additional features that can benefit acne-prone skin. If you deal with breakouts, a face spatula with blue LED lighting is a great option, but if you have oil, combination or normal skin a more basic face spatula will do the trick just fine.

✔️ Modes: Most face spatulas have two to four modes you can toggle between plus two sides: one side for dislodging dirt and residue and one for messaging moisturizer or serum into the skin.

✔️ Features: In addition to blue or red LED lighting, some skin scrubbers will also come with textured silicone cases you can slip onto the applicator to cleanse or message the skin. An auto shut-off is another great feature to save battery but is not absolutely necessary.

✔️ Price: The majority of skin scrubbers on our list fall under the $100 mark, but there are some face spatulas that are closer to $200. Still, our research found that you can find a great skin scrubber for between $20 and $80.

If you've never used a skin scrubber before, follow these steps to help ensure your skin reaps the benefits:

Yes, skin scrubbers offer gentle exfoliation, explains Dr. King. "It's similar to a Clarisonic cleanser brush or a Foreo silicone cleansing brush," she says. A skin scrubber can unclog pores, remove blackheads, control oil buildup and promote better absorption of product.

"It's important to have some form of gentle exfoliation in your skincare routine — whether that is chemical or physical exfoliation, such as the skin scrubber spatula," says Dr. King. A scrubber could be worth it if you have more sensitive skin that may react to harsher forms of exfoliation. While we have included some budget-friendly picks in our list, some can be closer to $100 or more so it's important to consider how beneficial adding another step in your routine will be long-term.

Elizabeth Berry is the updates editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she ensures shopping guides reflect accurate pricing and product details. She covers a wide range of content from the best foundations for acne-prone skin to the best Vitamin D supplements. Elizabeth uses the Dermaflash Ultrasonic Pore Extractor to unclog her pores and often includes the step in her home facial routine.

To learn more about how effective skin scrubbers are, she interviewed board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.

Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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