What is a konjac sponge, you ask? It’s a fun little skincare product hailing from Asia that cleanses the skin and unclogs pores. In short, a konjac sponge is a more effective K-beauty alternative to a washcloth. And since konjac sponges also work as gentle exfoliators, they are a must for any sensitive skin or acne-prone individual.
If the idea of swapping your tried-and-true cleanser for a sponge seems a little strange, bear with us, as we reached out to Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, dermatologist and director of clinical research at Marmur Medical and clinical instructor attending at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, to learn more about this little squishy skincare tool.
Here's everything you need to know about konjac sponges and why you should add them to your skincare routine. Keep reading for Levin's expert advice.
How Would You Describe a Konjac Sponge?
“A konjac sponge is a cleansing sponge that is made up of natural rubbery fibers from the root of a vegetable called konjac, which is found in eastern Asia,” says Levin. She describes the sponge as “quite unique since [it] is softer than a loofah and has a finer texture than a washcloth.”
What Is the Purpose of a Konjac Sponge?
The main use of a konjac sponge is to “remove dirt, pollutants, and oil,” says Levin. While she regularly recommends using your hands instead of a tool to cleanse, she notes that the konjac sponge “can not only effectively cleanse the skin, but [it can] also exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells.”
What Skin Types Should Use a Konjac Sponge?
Levin recommends the konjac sponge for many skin types, from “acne-prone, blackhead-prone, and oily skin to help unclog pores” and “sensitive, dry, and sun-damaged skin to gently remove dry skin cells and flakes.” She also suggests the konjac sponge “for patients who wear heavy makeup or thicker sunscreens,” as “konjac sponges can remove makeup and thicker creams more easily than your hands alone.”
While the konjac sponge is great for many different skin types, Levin cautions those with “skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis on your face, or [if you] are using any medicated creams or retinoids/retinols.” In short, you should “check with your dermatologist before using or starting to use a konjac sponge” says Levin.
Is a Konjac Sponge Better Than a Washcloth?
Being that “konjac sponges dry faster than a wash cloth and therefore are less likely to harbor bacteria, Levin prefers a konjac sponge to a wash rag. She notes, “The sponge is less irritating [than a washcloth] due to the softer rubbery texture.” Yet another reason as to why sensitive skin individuals might prefer this sponge to other cleansing tools.
What Is the Proper Way to Use a Konjac Sponge?
If you are using a konjac sponge or plan to try one, Levin recommends “soaking the sponge in warm water for several minutes” and “apply[ing] a few drops of your cleanser onto the sponge.” Then “gently wash your face with warm water.” If you have any infections, open pimples, or abrasions on your face, Levin recommends avoiding those areas altogether.
How Should You Clean a Konjac Sponge?
“Rinse out the konjac sponge with warm water, and squeeze out all the water. Ensure that the konjac sponge is fully air dried out between use, and do not keep the konjac sponge in the shower but rather store in a cool, dry place” says Levin. And since the sponge is “not self-cleaning," don’t forget to “replace [your konjac sponge] every four weeks.”
Now that you know everything about the konjac sponge, scroll down to shop some of our favorites.
If you are looking for an extra gentle cleanser to exfoliate and remove makeup, Boscia's sponge is a great pick to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
This rose clay sponge is a great exfoliant for rosacea-ridden and sensitive skin ladies; I should know, as I regularly use this sponge to cleanse my irritable and pale skin.
This konjac sponge is infused with green tea to reduce redness and soften skin.
If you struggle with acne or oily skin, try this konjac sponge, which is infused with bamboo charcoal to detoxify pores. This gentle exfoliant works to brighten skin like a charm.
Want more sensitive skin cleansing tips? Check out these dermatologist approved cleansers for sensitive skin.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.