10 Popular Beauty Hacks Dermatologists Want You To Avoid

Read this before you try that new beauty hack.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Thanks to social media, it's never been easier to discover a new beauty tip. But before you go ahead and copy your favorite beauty influencer's new skincare routine, it's smart to consult a dermatologist. Why? Just because a beauty trick works for one person doesn't necessarily mean success will translate for everyone. In fact, some of today's emerging beauty trends are risky, according to dermatologists. Here are a few top beauty hacks dermatologists say are best to avoid and what to do instead for similar results.

Skip the Sunscreen Cocktail

Skincare layering, or applying multiple products one after the other, has become a popular skincare routine method. However, when applying SPF, David Kim, board-certified dermatologist at IDRISS Dermatology and founder of LIGHTSAVER skincare, says special consideration is needed. "In order for sunscreen to provide its indicated SPF protection, it needs to be evenly distributed and applied to the skin," he explains. When mixed with serums and moisturizers, Kim says it prevents the sunscreen from providing the proper UV protection and won't be as effective. If you're applying a chemical sunscreen, apply it before your moisturizer and wait until it's completely dry before applying anything else. If you're using a mineral sunscreen, which acts as a physical block, it should be the last product applied after your skin completely dries. "Look for sunscreen with broad spectrum UV protection that provides SPF 30 or higher," says Kim.

Related: The 15 Best Face Sunscreens of 2023, Tested & Reviewed

Break Up With Your Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serums have blown up recently, and though many dermatologists praise and recommend them for daily use, Blair Murphy-Rose, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skincare Junkie, says they can cause breakouts. "Most Vitamin C serums contain pore-clogging vitamin E," she explains. Murphy-Rose recommends that anyone prone to breakouts use non-comedogenic products containing potent antioxidants rather than a Vitamin C serum.

Related: The Best Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serums That Will Brighten, Firm, and Protect Skin

Leave Microneedling To The Professionals

At-home microneedling kits gained popularity during the pandemic. However, dermatologists agree they can be more harmful than beneficial. "At-home microneedling may not penetrate deep enough to achieve a significant benefit, and if not done properly, can lead to increased risk of scarring, hyperpigmentation, and infection," says Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. If you're interested in the benefits of microneedling, the safest, most effective way to achieve them is by making an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

Related: 4 At-Home Skin-Care Devices That Are Actually Worth the Hype

Ditch The Pore Vacuum

Pore vacuums are suction devices often used by estheticians or dermatologists to remove dirt and debris from pores. Though these devices are available for at-home use, Howard Sobel, MD, clinical attending dermatologic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, cautions against trying this hack at home. "[Pore vacuums] can be damaging, break blood vessels, and cause marks on the skin with misuse," he explains. "The suctioning action can worsen sensitive skin conditions and cause irritation and flare-ups." Sobel recommends using serums and skincare products that contain exfoliating acids and niacinamide if you're looking for an at-home method for minimizing pores.

Related: The 9 Best Pore Cleansers That Actually Remove Dirt, Oil, and Build-Up

Put The At-Home Injections Away

At-home lip fillers and hyaluronic acid serum injections may look easy and painless enough when you see influencers using them on social media. But Lyle Leipziger, Chief of Plastic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center, says this beauty hack can be dangerous. "Participating in any procedure involving self-injection is risky and should never be performed," he cautions. "Doing so may lead to significant infection, scarring, and possibly irreversible damage to the skin." If you're considering an injectable procedure, it should be performed by a board-certified cosmetic doctor with significant experience.

Stop Slugging

Slugging, or using emollients like Vaseline or Aquaphor to moisturize the skin, is not only entertaining to watch but can be effective. "It does a great job of hydrating the skin during fall and winter if you have extremely dry and eczema-prone skin," says Kim. However, it can also have adverse effects. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, Kim says slugging will exacerbate the acne. If you have textured skin with many black and whiteheads, slugging may also worsen this. Instead, he recommends opting for a thicker moisturizer. "The goal is to hydrate the skin, not to incorporate emollients into your skincare routine," he says. "Thicker moisturizers packed with lipids and ceramides, such as CeraVe, are great at keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized without overwhelming the skin."

Don't Top That Zit With Toothpaste

Possibly the oldest beauty hack in the book, using toothpaste to dry out a pimple is quick and convenient. However, it can also be drying and irritating to the skin. "Instead, it's best to opt for evidence-based acne-fighting ingredients like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid to help prevent and treat breakouts," says Garshick. "A good alternative is to use a spot treatment containing salicylic acid or sulfur as the active ingredient," adds Murphy-Rose.

Related: The Best Acne Spot Treatments of 2023

Stay Away From Salt And Sugar Scrubs

Though they sound natural and luxurious, Murphy-Rose says salt and sugar scrubs are not without risks. "The problem is these abrasive products can cause microtears in the skin, with increased risk of infection and inflammation," she says. "A safer alternative is to use a chemical exfoliant in the form of a moisturizer containing hydroxy acids to exfoliate while better protecting the skin barrier."

Stay Away From Deep Skin Peels

Deep skin peels that require recovery time should always be left to the professionals. "If not done properly under professional application and supervision, you can burn the skin, damage the skin barrier, and worsen acne or skin sensitivity," says Sobel. If you're looking to lighten brown spots, improve skin tone, and promote an overall glow, Sobel suggests using glycolic acid pads and serums. "Glycolic Acid helps to purify the skin and remove dead skin cells that dull the complexion," he explains.

Turn Off At-Home Hair Removal Devices

While at-home hair removal devices are undoubtedly convenient, most dermatologists recommend against using them. "If done incorrectly, at-home hair removal can cause bruising, scarring, and hyperpigmentation of the skin or spotting removal," says Sobel. "If you want long-term, safe results, seek a professional dermatologist or laser expert for hair removal."

Related: The 2023 Shape Beauty Awards

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