I don't know about you, but I feel vulnerable walking the aisles of CVS or perusing the beauty counters at Macy's. With over 10,000 skin care companies trying to convince me that I need a different cream for every body part and that if I have a wrinkle here, or a stretch mark there then I am doomed to some sort of ugly-hell (friends stop calling, I get fired and my boyfriend cheats on me), it's easy to feel like a sitting duck. So how can I know what I actually need and which skin care products are totally useless?
To help us weed through the hype, I went to dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer to figure out which skin care products (general product types, not necessarily specific ones) for our face or body are totally pointless.
Here are some of the 9 unnecessary products he says can be left on the shelf:
1. Separate creams for the face, neck and chest
The skin care products you use on your face work for your neck and décolleté as well, says Lancer. So if you have an excellent facial moisturizer that boasts some anti-aging benefits, then just be sure to apply it below your chin A.M. and P.M. as well.
2. Super expensive skin care products
When it comes to skin care, expensive doesn't necessarily equal better, says Lancer. Oftentimes these super fancy-schmancy products are loaded with snazzy ingredients (stem cells, anyone?), which can yield allergic reactions and/or are typically way more than your skin needs, he adds. A good analogy for this is vitamins: If you're a generally healthy person, a daily vitamin should suffice, right? For example, you don't need thousands and thousands of extra units of vitamin D per day, unless you know for a fact that you are deficient in it -- which is often not the case. So basic moisturizers, cleansers and SPF products should work just fine for everyone.
Check out the 9 most expensive skin care creams -- your jaw will literally drop.
The average woman who is interested in anti-aging benefits can take or leave toner, says Lancer. In general, toner is best for people with enlarged pores and excessive oil production; and for those with Rosacea-prone skin, a gentle toner is worth using, he adds. Otherwise, it's just an extra step and more money out of your pocket.
4. Hydrating serum
When we ask Lancer about hydrating serums, he says, "for daily use, it's fluff." Basically it's "fluff" because alone it doesn't do too much. He explains that serum seals skin after an invasive procedure, so it is best used post-treatment. However, if you have sensitive, reactive skin all of the time, then using a serum will help soothe your skin.
5. Age-reversing products
Anti-aging prevention is one thing, but trying to reverse signs of aging with a product is another story. People who already have fine lines and wrinkles will see minimal improvement (about 2-5 percent), by using over-the-counter anti-aging products, says Lancer, and will only see a drastic improvement in their lines and wrinkles via a surgical procedure or by using a prescription like a retinoic acid for something specific.
6. Body firming products
You know those dimply, jiggle-prone places on your body that like 99.9 percent of all women have? There are currently no products on the market that alone can make those places firmer and less cellulitic, Lancer says. Sorry to break it to you, but we have to reiterate that watching your carbohydrate intake and working out regularly is still the only natural way to get a firmer bod (but you can fake a toned body with these tips 1 until your gym visits pay off). As for all those body firming products that you already bought? "I hope you can get a refund," he adds.
See the rest of the 9 Unnecessary Skin Care Products here. Also, see what you actually DO need to use for great skin.