4 Dermatologists Share the *One* Popular Skin-Care Practice They’d Never, Ever Do To Their Own Skin

Photo: Stocksy / Nuria Seguí
There are an endless number of things that we can do to our skin. Some of them, like washing your face before bed and using actives that help you reach your skin goals, are good things. But others? Not so much.

"A lot of the beauty space is filled with influencers and celebrities who want you to feel not good enough so you'll buy their products and make them more money," says Caren Cambell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Napa and Sanfransico, California.

So we asked four dermatologists about the one thing they'd never do to their skin. With all the scary stuff floating around online, this was, undoubtedly, a hard question to answer. But nevertheless, they pulled through and some of their answers might surprise you. Keep reading to see what they flag as no-nos in their personal beauty routines.

Experts In This Article

4 skin-care "don'ts," according to dermatologists

1. Get a steam facial

"The one skin-care practice I would never do is a steam facial," says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Southern California. "I have rosacea and my skin is on the sensitive side, and steaming your face opens up your pores and allows more irritants to get in. It also increases inflammation in the skin. That, in turn, increases redness and worsens conditions like acne and rosacea.

Before I went into dermatology I used to get facials which included steam and a hot towel every month or two, and then I would wonder why my face would be red, itchy, and broken out for two weeks afterward. The aestheticians would tell me that it was a natural part of my skin healing, but now that I am a trained dermatologist I know better. Itching and burning sensations and redness in the skin is not normal. It is actually your skin crying out for help and relief. Now I do procedures such as microdermabrasion and microinfusions on my face to improve the texture and tone of my skin instead of facials."

2. Get permanent filler

When opting to get filler, you can get permanent filler that sticks around or temporary filler that uses ingredients like hyaluronic acid that break down over time and require re-injection. Ranella Hirsch, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Massachusetts won't go near the former.

"Permanent ones like certain silicones and others carry the risk of delayed and often permanent complications," says Dr. Hirsch. "While no procedure is entirely without risk, those of temporary fillers tend to be more immediate, temporary, and often reversible."

3. Use face oil

This one is super controversial because face oils are super popular right now and lots of people love them, but Dr. Campbell is not a fan.

"Acne likes to grow in oil-rich environments. When we hit puberty our hormones drive oil production on the skin which creates a great environment for the acne-causing bacteria to overgrow," she says. "Why then would you use oil-based make-up removers and moisturizers as an adult and re-create the acne-causing environment more common in teens?"

Especially if you're prone to acne, Dr. Campbell says to instead use lighter, non-comedogenic lotions without fragrance and essential oils.

4. Get in a tanning bed

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but in case you need a refresher, indoor tanning that uses ultraviolet light is not good for your skin. Just like unprotected exposure to the actual sun, indoor tanning can lead to skin damage that ups your risk of skin cancer, or melanoma.

"The one thing I would never do as a board-certified dermatologist is indoor tanning," says Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD, a derm based in Miami. "Indoor tanning significantly increases your risk of melanoma. Even occasional use can be deadly. Exposure to indoor tanning before the age of 35 is associated with a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma. Indoor tanning is dangerous, and it is not worth the risk. If you want the look of tanned skin, use a self-tanner."

Watch a derm go through her entire skin-care routine:

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