When it comes to skin care, there are things you absolutely should do, like putting on sunscreen and washing your face. But there are also a fair number of things you shouldn’t do your skin, hair, and nails. Everything from old habits (like fussing with a fresh pimple) to new trends (think testing novel ingredients) can end up doing more harm than good.
Here are nine habits board-certified dermatologists say to give up now.
Using oil products
The idea of melting away the dirt or makeup on your face with oil sounds luxurious, but Dr. Caren Campbell, a dermatologist in California, told INSIDER it can cause breakouts. She’s even seen a surge of acne from patients using these trendy products.
“One of the major reasons we get acne when we hit puberty is our bodies’ hormones cause more oil production, which creates a hospitable environment for acne bacteria,” she said. “Putting oils on the face only aids in creating that ideal environment for acne.”
Picking at acne
We get it: You see a pimple on your face and you just want to pick it off. It’s a tempting thought, but Dr. Robert Finney, a dermatologist in New York, said that it will only make the issue worse. “Not only does it make the breakout worse by further rupturing the follicle beneath the surface of the skin, but you can also create scars,” he said. Translation: Hands off.
Applying apple cider vinegar to your face
One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about skin care? That natural is always better, said Dr. Brenda Dintiman, a dermatologist in Virginia. Turns out, some natural ingredients can end up causing some serious problems, and apple cider vinegar is one of the biggest offenders. “The apple cider vinegar acts as a harsh remover of the skin’s protective layer, leaving it vulnerable and red,” Dintiman said.
Seeing unqualified providers
Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York, has treated a lot of patients with complications from complex procedures done by unqualified providers. “It’s turned into the wild wild west unfortunately, and it’s terrifying,” he told INSIDER.
Bhanusali has seen side effects including scars and nodules, but they can be worse. His advice? See a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon if you’re considering a cosmetic procedure.
Relying on social media for skin advice
You may love turning to your favorite beauty blogger for skin care tips, but remember her skin isn’t yours. “There are a lot of great products people recommend, but they may not be best for your skin type,” Bhanusali said. One of his recent patients used an exfoliating alpha hydroxy peel she saw on Instagram, which left her with raw skin and dark spots. “Unfortunately, the concentration was too strong for her skin type,” Bhanusali said. Again, see a board-certified dermatologist for skin advice.
Consistently putting your hair in tight braids
You may love putting your hair into tight braids before you hit the gym, go to a music festival, or go to work on mornings you don’t have time to shower. But Dr. Anand Haryani, a dermatologist in Florida, told INSIDER that consistently sporting plaits is one of the worst things you can do to your hair. “It may be fashionable, but it can lead to permanent hair loss,” he said.
Using black salve
Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Laura Haygood wishes patients would steer clear of black salve, which is touted as a skin cancer remedy. In reality, Haygood said, “it’s a highly destructive chemical that creates large wounds and is a completely ineffective for treatment of suspected skin cancers.”
On top of the fact that it causes wounds, black salve fools patients into thinking they are taking care of their undiagnosed skin cancer. If you’re worried you may have skin cancer, see a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible.
Using too many products
You don’t need dozens of steps in your skin care routine to get a glowing complexion. “There’s no need to buy 1,000 products,” Bhanusali said. “A good base has three to five products or so and is consistent.”
Scrubbing your face too hard
There are two different kinds of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical, said Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum, a dermatologist in New York. Mechanical exfoliation involves physically removing your dead skin cells with a brush or scrub. That “can be too harsh on the skin and can actually lead to redness, dark spots, and acne breakouts — the exact opposite of what we want,” Birnbaum said. If you really want to exfoliate your face effectively and safely, use a chemical exfoliant instead.