1 Thing Skin Care Experts Never Use On Their Skin

New skin care trends, tools and “holy grail” ingredients seem to pop up daily. TikTok alone has introduced us to slugging, skin cycling and glass skin, but what do the professionals actually think about these new and innovative approaches to glowing, flawless skin?

We wanted to know if we should be testing these techniques at home or if they should be kicked to the curb, so we went to skin care experts to find out. HuffPost spoke with leading dermatologists and top plastic surgeons who specialize in the latest aesthetic procedures to find out which trends and ingredients they themselves would never consider trying.

Here’s what they avoid.


Slugging, a Korean skin care technique, has become popular in the States after it began trending on TikTok in recent years. The process for slugging is simple: Do your normal nightly skin care routine and then slather on a thick layer of petroleum jelly, like Vaseline. This is said to help seal in all those good-for-you ingredients overnight and lead to better moisturization and plumper skin.

“For myself, I would never do slugging,” said Dr. T.Y. Steven Ip, a plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic and reconstructive procedures. “Slugging has a high risk of clogging your pores and leads to facial blemishes.”

Along with petroleum-based products like Vaseline, some TikTokers opt to use plant-based oils, like coconut oil, for slugging at home.

However, Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Facet Dermatology, said she wouldn’t advise this option. “I’d highly avoid using coconut oil on your face. It’s comedogenic, meaning it’ll block the pores and result in skin congestion and possibly acne. This is especially true when you’re using unrefined coconut oil, which many people prefer due to its being more natural than other iterations.”

“Instead,” Yadav said, “use a moisturizer designed for use on your face and save coconut oil for more minor skin tasks, like treating your cuticles or nourishing cracked heels.”

At-Home Chemical Peels

“I would never do an at-home chemical peel on my face,” said Dr. David Shafer, an award-winning, double board-certified New York City plastic surgeon specializing in all aspects of aesthetic and cosmetic surgery. He explained: “I have seen too many patients who have ordered peels online and burned their face.”

Harsh Physical Exfoliators

A common concern among the skin care experts we consulted was overexfoliating the skin, which they frequently see patients do.

“I don’t recommend the use of harsh physical exfoliators, like intense scrubs or tools, to smooth skin and exfoliate buildup from pores,” said Dr. Reid Maclellan, founder of Cortina Health, an online dermatology treatment source. As he explained, “tools that are trending on social media like pore vacuums and extractors can be damaging to skin, especially sensitive skin or on areas where the skin is thin. This can lead to broken blood vessels and bruising of the skin.”

“I recommend using a chemical exfoliant with AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids] included that can gently penetrate pores and break up oil buildup and dead skin cells, without the need of damaging the skin,” Maclellan suggested. He even recommended one such product, Dr. Dennis Gross Daily Peel Pads, which are formulated with glycolic, lactic and malic acid.

If you haven’t used these chemical exfoliant products before, Maclellan said, “it’s important to remember for sensitive skin to ease into using products with exfoliating ingredients. I recommend starting with once a week and working your way up to more frequent use.”

Microneedling devices can cause injuries to the skin where bacteria can live.

At-Home Microneedling

The recent availability of derma rollers, which feature tiny spikes to encourage collagen production and elasticity of the skin, has made microneedling a part of many people’s skin care routines. Many of the professionals HuffPost spoke with said this is something they would definitely avoid.

“Although a very popular in-office treatment, the derma rollers used at home are often not sterilized and can result in the development of contact dermatitis, spread bacterial and viral infections, and cause permanent scarring,” explained Dr. Samuel Lin, a plastic surgeon in Boston.

Another professional who warned against trying this technique at home is Dr. Ari Hoschander, a New York-based aesthetic plastic surgeon. “A skin care trend I would never get behind would be at-home microneedling,” he said. “Microneedling is believed to help improve skin quality and texture by reducing pore size. However, too much pressure with the device can give an alternative effect, leading to skin blotchiness and trauma to your skin.”

Potent Skin Care Ingredients

Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, there are some skin care ingredients you should avoid. The doctors with more sensitive skin explained what they skip out on during their face-washing routine.

“I personally do not use either vitamin C or any retinol/retinoids,” said Dr. Jennifer Levine, an award-winning, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in New York City. “They all irritate my skin; I have tried so many times!”

London-based Dr. Marko Lens, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and founder of the skin care brand Zelens, said he never uses glycolic acid, an ingredient found in many skin care products. “This acid is highly irritating, particularly when used in high percentages, and it is increasing sensitivity of the skin to the sun.”

He elaborated: “I may agree that glycolic acid is very efficacious in resurfacing the skin, but considering side effects in the era when there are so many other acids which provide the same effect without irritation and without an increase in the skin sensitivity to the sun, I do not see the point of using glycolic acid — except one: It is very cheap to buy.”

“Common ingredients that are found in many skin care products that I would stay away from are fragrances, preservatives like parabens, and phthalates,” said Dr. Wendy Long Mitchell, a New York-based dermatologist. “Fragrances can irritate your skin and should be avoided when possible. Parabens can impact your hormone balance, and phthalates can impact your endocrine system and may lead to reproductive health/fertility issues.”

Ip left readers with a final warning: “Be careful with the TikTok and [Instagram] beauty trends! Not every influencer is an expert, and your skin is your body’s barrier. Be careful with it.”

Want to know what dermatologists DO recommend? The skin care products below. Check them out.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.


A clinical ceramide treatment cream

Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, previously shared with HuffPost some of her favorite anti-aging creams and this ceramide treatment cream by SkinMedica was among them. Although it was initially formulated to heal post-procedural skin, either from laser or chemical peels, it can also do wonders for extremely dry or compromised skin. It’s been formulated with a unique collagen-promoting peptide blend aimed at targeted fine lines and, of course, ceramides, which are the essential building blocks of a healthy and hydrated skin barrier.


An omega-filled bakuchiol moisturizer

The Inkey List’s bakuchiol cream was previously suggested by Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist, as a moisturizer for those curious about this natural retinol alternative. According to her, it performs well and for under $15, it can be a good way to see if you tolerate this ingredient that can promote cellular turnover. The lightweight cream is formulated with 1% bakuchiol to target the appearance of fine lines and loss of elasticity, as well as hydrating squalane and nourishing sacha inchi oil, a plant-derived oil rich in omega-3.


A cooling gel moisturizer for acne-prone skin

Oily skin types or those prone to acne might benefit from a using gel moisturizer over rich cream formulations, and this water gel moisturizer by Neutrogena came at the previous recommendation of board-certified Miami dermatologist Dr. Annie Gonzalez. According to her, this is “a lightweight gel that gives a nice, cooling sensation when applied. It’s free of what people don’t want, such as dyes and fragrance.”

The non-comedogenic and oil-free formula contains purified hyaluronic acid, a beloved humectant that draws moisture into the skin to keep it hydrated.


A rich and protective face cream

Our pick: HuffPost Shopping writer and skin care obsessive Lourdes Avila Uribe has written about Dieux’s Instant Angel moisturizer many times. According to her, it’s the one product she keeps coming back to because it’s perfectly suited for her finicky and acne-prone skin.

“It’s nourishing, soothing, and, miraculously, doesn’t clog my pores. The best part? The longer I use it, the better my skin gets,” Uribe said, citing the thoughtfully curated collection of ingredients that aim to protect the skin barrier and promote healthy skin. “A gentle blend of phytosterols, free fatty acids, meadowestolide, ceramides, glycerin, squalane and more do all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.”


A triple-lipid peptide cream

This lipid peptide cream by Skinfix was dermatologist-recommended not once, but twice as an optimal solution for anyone with troubled, dry and sensitive skin. It contains a patented triple-lipid complex that restores ceramides in the skin along with the fatty acid levels to support a healthy skin barrier. You can also find a plumping blend of peptides and ultra-hydrating glycerin. I’ve also used this myself and I really enjoy it during the winter when treating my eczema-inflamed skin.


A regenerating retinol cream

This rapid wrinkle repair cream by Neutrogena was another recommendation from Chang. It uses an accelerated retinol complex to promote cellular turnover — a process that can lead to greater collagen production, better skin texture and a reduced appearance of fine lines. It also contains a hydrating dose of hyaluronic acid and can be suitable in treating crepey skin.

Note that if you’re new to retinols, they do have the potential to cause mild flaking and irritation in the first couple weeks of use. They can also cause skin to be more sensitive to the sun, so it’s important to wear sunscreen.


A brightening botanical moisturizer

Candace Marino, a Los Angeles-based medical aesthetician, previously touted the benefits of this nourishing and plumping moisturizer by Kora Organics, especially for people who experience dull skin and hyperpigmentation.

“Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that can visibly brighten, calm and protect the skin while the marine micro-algae provides a powerful source of proteins to the skin,” Marino said.


A shea-based moisturizer and makeup primer

This multi-purpose French pharmacy staple has earned itself quite a reputation here at HuffPost. The Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré was brought to our attention by Los Angeles-based makeup artist Susan Zeytuntsyan, who favors this emollient moisturizer for not just hydrating the skin, but for offering the perfect base for foundation and makeup. As it turns out, the timeless formula, which includes calming aloe vera, protective beeswax, nourishing soy proteins and skin-softening shea butter, has been a longtime secret weapon among makeup artists.


An ultra-soothing repair cream

According to Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in San Diego, the intense moisturizing capabilities of the Ultra Repair Cream from First Aid Beauty are “a must have for winter! It’s a rich cream formulated with colloidal oatmeal which relieves irritation, and shea butter, which protects and maintains our skin barrier. Allantoin also helps calm and soothe the skin. I recommend applying this to damp clean skin for the ultimate hydration.”


A nourishing prebiotic moisturizer

Our pick: Sephora’s prebiotic moisturizer is a recurringproduct in myroutine. It’s creamy, fragrance-free and my skin drinks it in like a tall glass of water. The naturally derived prebiotics in this cream work to help deeply hydrate the skin while marula oil strengthens the skin barrier, effectively boosting its ability to fight the elements. Aside from making my skin feel ultra comfy, I love that it doesn’t sit heavy on my face like some other moisturizers intended for dry, sensitive skin.


A comforting basic moisturizer

“This is a moisturizing cream with a modicum of heft that has glycerin and panthenol to hold on to moisture, macadamia seed oil to lightly coat and oat extract to soothe the skin,” Massachusetts-based dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar previously told HuffPost.

I can also report this comforting formula does wonders for my highly sensitive and eczema-prone skin.

U Beauty

A bioactive treatment cream

Our pick: This highly concentrated overnight treatment uses bioactive marine ingredients that promote skin renewal and can soften and strengthen skin. The brand claims that a patent-pending capsule technology is to thank for an effective delivery of active ingredients and a visible difference in the look and feel of the skin.


A lightweight SPF 30 moisturizer

If it’s an SPF-based moisturizer you’re after, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camppreviously suggested this sunscreen lotion by Supergoop for anyone who dislikes the feeling of heavy sunscreen on their skin. This is extremely lightweight, has a silky smooth finish and contains antioxidant-rich ingredients like vitamins E and B5 to help reduce the visible effects of free radicals.


A restorative day cream

This intensive and restorative day cream by Clarins is New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick’s pick for anyone with deeply dehydrated and menopausal skin. She said it incorporates organic harungana, which works similar to retinol while also being gentle on the skin.

“It also contains the anti-pollution complex to protect the skin from changes related to pollution and blue light,” she said.


A replenishing cellular renewal cream

Lindsay Kastuk, a New York-based makeup artist, previously told us that Augustinus Bader’s renowned moisturizer — simply called “The Cream” — is “a makeup artist’s holy grail luxury moisturizer.” This replenishing emollient formula helps support cellular renewal and improves moisture retention and skin barrier function. We, too, have sworn by The Cream’s complexion-boosting capabilities and brand’s patented Trigger Factor Complex, which encompasses over 40 ingredients as the result of decades of research and clinical study.


A luscious cream with age-defying ingredients

Garshick previously suggested Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream, which she said “works to boost moisture and improves radiance of the skin, offering both immediate and long-term improvements.” It’s a luxe formulation of hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin C and E and more, and according to Garshick it can plump skin and potentially reduce the appearance of fine lines.


A skin barrier-repairing night lotion

CeraVe’s moisturizing night lotion was recommended by New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield. She said that it was “basic and affordable and provides the necessary hydration one would need for daily use.”

Like all products from the CeraVe line, this evening treatment is formulated with their iconic blend of three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.


An affordable, no-fuss moisturizer

Our pick: I’ve been a longtime fan of The Ordinary’s simplistic, straightforward and accessible approach to skin care, and this moisturizer was one of the products that first sold me on the brand. I love the way it soaks deeply into my parched skin and contains a total of 11 tried-and-true hydrating ingredients like lipid-loving fatty acids, glycerin, barrier-restoring ceramides and hyaluronic acid. If you want a facial cream that will play nice with all of your actives, will actually do a really solid job at hydrating your skin and won’t cost an arm and a leg, then you can just stop scrolling now.


A pore-minimizing water cream

A few months ago, we chatted with TikTok star and cosmetic chemist Javon Ford to find out what skin care products he thought were worth purchasing. He said that he enjoys this pore-minimizing and nutrient-rich water cream by Tatcha for its unique texture that’s achieved by using an inverted silicone emulsion. Ford explained that most moisturizers are oil dispersed in water, whereas this one is water dispersed in silicone, giving a light moisture boost with a silky feel and blurring effect thanks to the silicone elastomers in the formula.


A plumping whipped gel cream

Our pick: This dewy and lightweight moisturizer is from Glow Recipe, a Korean skin care brand that really knows how to harness the power of fruit. The Plum Plump hyaluronic acid cream made it on our list because of its non-greasy formulation that contains brightening plum extract, polyglutamic acid and multi-weight hyaluronic acid for optimum ingredient penetration. The delightful texture is a whipped gel consistency that is suitable even for oily and acne-prone skin types.


A protective vitamin B5 cream

Products by the iconic French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay often come highly recommended to us by dermatologists, as was the case with this Cicaplast cream, a favorite of Dr. Lauren Penzi, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. This therapeutic and multi-purpose cream instantly addresses visible signs of skin irritation caused by dryness, and contains glycerin, shea butter and vitamin B5.

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