It's not a sin to go all-out and extra with your skincare routine. You can have five, 10, or heck, even 15 steps—as long as they work for you and your skin is thriving, that's your business. Thing is, that doesn't mean you actually need them to have healthy skin. There are a ton of gimmicky, overpromising products out there, and the last thing you want is to confuse your true essentials with them.
Below, we name a few skincare items that dermatologists Dr. Muneeb Shah and Dr. LJ Maxfield deem overhyped. Spoiler: Some of them are products you're probably still using!
Skincare Products You Don't Need, According to Dermatologists
1. Cleansing Devices
Dr. Shah points out that the problem with devices such as cleansing brushes is they harbor a lot of bacteria. "They don't have anything that keeps bacteria away like silicone," he adds. However, he notes that cleansing brushes can be beneficial when used every once in a while. Say, for example, during your monthly facial. But if you use them every day at home, the abrasive scrubbing and vibrations can do more harm than good in the long run.
That said, not all cleansing devices aren't bad. If you like the sensation of cleansing brushes, for example, Dr. Shah recommends antibacterial silicone cleansing devices instead. "They have gentle vibration, some pulsation that help break up makeup on the skin and get your pores clear," he says. "But at the end of the day, you can just use your hands. You don't need [cleansing devices]—they're a nice addition if you have time to use them."
2. Blackhead Pore Strips
Dr. Shah and Dr. Maxfield reminds us that not all blackheads are the same, so pore strips aren't the solution to all your blackhead woes. (FYI: these are!) "If you're treating sebaceous filaments with these, you aren't treating the underlying cause," says Dr. Shah. You're basically just removing the blackheads from your pores temporarily.
While it's not harmful to use pore strips once a month of every other month, the derms recommend treating your blackheads with products with retinoids, salicylic acid, and niacinamide instead. These actives are more effective against blackheads, and could even stop the issue from coming back.
3. Jade Rollers
Jade rollers aren't bad for your skin, although the dermatologists think that brands tend to overpromise its benefits. "It's not gonna build collagen. It's not gonna cure acne. It's not gonna help with rosacea," states Dr. Shah. Dr. Maxfield adds that using jade rollers are basically just a massage tool that helps with depuffing and lymphatic drainage.
Dr. Shah continues, "They're not the worst thing in the world, especially if you're the kind of a person that finds the skincare experience to be very important for you." But do you need it in your routine? Not really.
4. Vitamin E
Dr. Maxfield admits he isn't the biggest fan of vitamin E. "It's the epitome of something with a lot of hype, a lot of name recognition, but not only does it underperform, it performs poorly and harmfully," explains the derm. "There are actually studies out there saying that it just doesn't work."
In fact, Dr. Shah says that even vitamin E's most popular perks like treating stretchmarks and acne scars are not true. Perhaps the saving grace of vitamin E is that it's an antioxidant, but Dr. Maxfield thinks there are a ton of other antioxidants out there that perform better for the skin. "Vitamin E is not stable. It needs helps from vitamin C [and] ferulic acid just to function," he adds.
5. Pore Vacuums
You know those "pore cleaning" devices you see online? Well, the derms don't think you need those either. "They're basically lifting out all the junk that's in your pores, [like] oil, dead skin cells," says Dr. Shah, which sounds good and all, but the issue with that is similar to why pore strips aren't necessary—they don't solve the problem for long. All the gunk in your pores that you removed will reaccumulate eventually, and the derm even warns that they could come back faster since your skin has already been irritated.
"When used in high settings, [pore vacuums] could lead to bruising and telangiectasias or red vessels on the skin," adds the doctor. These side effects would need to be treated by a laser, or could even cause permanent damage. Again, you'll be much better off using retinoids, saliyclic acid, and niacinamide to "clear" your pores.
6. Toners with Alcohol or Astringents
"Toners are something that historically have been used to strip the skin. They're supposed to be used after cleansing to remove residue from the skin," Dr. Maxfield explains. But now that cleansers are more elegant and are effective in getting everything off, he thinks it's unnecessary to follow up with a toner filled with alcohol or astringents.
Dr. Shah thinks we don't need toners or astringents either, although he makes an exception for ones that contain beneficial actives. As long as that product is helping you address your skin concerns (like a salicylic acid toner for acne, or a soothing one with green tea), then go ahead and use it! But if you're using a toner and you're unsure about its benefits, the doctor thinks that maybe it's best to just skip it.
Watch the full video on Dr. Shah and Dr. Maxfield's channel below:
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