I’ve given hours of advice to my patients and my Perfect Skin Code tribe about what to do and what to buy to crush skin care goals. I am so focused on telling folks what to do, I often forget to advise what NOT to do.
Disclaimer: These are products that I simply do not recommend based on my years of experience in Dermatology. If one of these is your fav and it has never bothered you, by all means keep using it. However, if you are using it out of habit, I encourage you keep an open mind and rethink it.
- Witch Hazel
Before you panic, I am not totally against witch hazel. Take a deep breath and keep reading, I promise I will explain.
The witch hazel plant, Latin name Hammamelis virginiana, is a flowering shrub that grows wild throughout a good portion of North America and Asia. Many people like it for its drying affect which is not all bad in the short term but is problematic for long term use. Why? Most formulations contain tannins and alcohols. The tannins in which hazel can be sensitizing (irritating). Alcohols are never a good idea because they cause free radical damage and disrupts the delicate skin balance.
There have been studies that suggest this ingredient is good for hemorrhoids, poison ivy, and even bug bites but remember, these are generally acute problems and short-term use is usually well tolerated.
This is unpopular opinion in the Dermatology world. Many Dermatologists recommend Cetaphil and I understand why. Cetaphil cleansers are non-alkaline (pH 6.3-6.8), lipid-free, non-comedogenic, and mild enough for sensitive skin. Sounds great, right? Wrong. Other than water, cetaphil contains nothing that really has any benefit to skin and some ingredients can be harmful.
The ingredients include 3 different parabens (known to cause endocrine disruption and linked to breast cancer), propylene glycol (increases chemical penetration into your skin and bloodstream) and sodium lauryl sulfate (known to cause skin irritation).
I think there are so many better alternatives, I just never recommend it.
People use this popular over the counter ointment on everything from cuts and scrapes to acne. As a result, the rate of allergy to the ingredients is on the rise. This is what commonly happens, you get a cut, grab the Neosporin and despite regular use, the cut gets worse and worse. What do you do? Apply more Neosporin because it must be infected, right? Wrong. Chances are that redness and blistering is due to an allergic reaction. My advice, stop using it and see what happens. If things get better, it was probably a reaction to the ointment. If not, time to see a medical professional. All a cut needs is to be cleaned with a gentle cleanser daily and covered with plain Vaseline. Really, that is all you need.
- Apricot scrubs
These popular scrubs have been around for decades. I used to keep a bottle on hand and I thought I was really doing something. What I was doing was creating little microtears in my skin. Those little cuts give bacteria a way to enter your skin. Trust me, you don’t need crushed shells, rocks, or harsh sugar scrubs to exfoliate.
- DIY treatments
I’m not 100% against treatments from home. Some can be very effective. I don’t recommend them in general because most people don’t do their research before trying them then wind up in my office with a raging rash. Ask yourself a few questions before trying one. 1. Is it solving a problem you have? 2. Does it contain ingredients you have used before? 3. Do the instructions contain specific amounts? “a little of this and a handful of that” is a sign that you should skip it.
Keep in mind that natural does not equal safe. Poison Ivy is natural, right?
Did one of your favs make this list? Don’t worry I have your back! Click here to schedule a Zoom video consultation and we will break down your current skin care routine and discuss your goals. Based on our 20 min discussion, I will create a custom designed skin care routine and include product recommendations that will point you in the right direction. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!