Here's The One Thing Dermatologists Wish You Would Stop Doing

We asked eight of the top derms in the country to let us in on the one thing they wish their patients would stop doing when it comes to caring for their skin. And some of their answers might surprise you.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

By Renee Jacques, Allure

(Photo: Delphine Achard/WWD)

You follow your skin-care routine with religious dedication but still don't have the Neutrogena-commercial-perfect complexion of your dreams. That could be because you're still making one of the mistakes dermatologists dread most. We asked eight of the top derms in the country to let us in on the one thing they wish their patients would stop doing when it comes to caring for their skin. And some of their answers might surprise you.

Being lazy about cleansing. "Many patients don't make it a habit to cleanse twice a day and think they can get by with just rinsing their faces in the morning and that they can get away with sleeping with their makeup on. I always advise thorough, gentle cleansing both in the morning and evening. I particularly like wipe-off cleansers, such as Avène Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover. "--Jeanette Graf, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City

Using so many different products. "I wish patients would stop overdoing it. Dedication to one or two products with proven efficacy is much better than trying to use everything. Using too many products often leads to irritation and can potentially cause ingredients to inactivate, since certain ones are not meant to be combined. A good morning antioxidant, along with sunscreen and an evening retinoid, is a great place to start. If you consistently stick to this simple regimen, you will see a difference in your skin. Just give it a few weeks." --Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor in the dermatology department at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City

Picking your pimples. "It's a surefire way to take something from minor to major. So often we see benign things that, if left alone, would heal and leave only minimal scarring, if anything. When you pick, or squeeze, or scratch, you introduce bacteria. Suddenly the issues multiply, and infection and other issues become part of the picture. And it's always a shame to have to deal with completely avoidable problems." --Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston who serves on the editorial board of Dermatology Times

Overwashing your face. "Squeaky-clean skin is overcleansed, meaning it's stripped of its priceless lipids. Your skin should feel supple, not like plastic. Use gentle cleansers with a low lather for the healthiest skin barrier." --Ellen Marmur, an associate clinical professor in the department of dermatology and the department of genetics and genomic research at the Mount Sinai Medical Center

Overdoing it with a cleansing brush. "For people who have sensitive skin, cleansing brushes can cause irritation. I'm not a fan of the majority of them, unless you have very oily, thick sebaceous skin." --Jason Emer, a cosmetic dermatologist and aesthetic surgeon in Mountain View, California

Skipping conditioner (yes, this relates to your skin). "Your scalp is skin, and many people forget that. Many thin or oily-haired women skip conditioner because of concerns that it will weigh down their hair. Big mistake. That's like skipping moisturizer on your skin. Scalp nourishment is critical to beautiful hair." --Francesca Fusco, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and assistant attending dermatologist at Mount Sinai

Exfoliating the wrong way. "Patients have in their heads that they need to exfoliate to have healthy skin. Unfortunately, that's only one part of the process of getting soft, supple skin. After exfoliating chemically [with a peel] or physically [with a scrub], it's critical to apply a moisturizer to seal and heal the skin barrier. Keeping the skin barrier well-hydrated not only improves the feel and look of skin but it also feeds back to improve the way the skin cells turn over. In an ideal world, healthy skin exfoliates on its own. So as your skin becomes healthier, you need to exfoliate less often." --Heidi Waldorf, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Being rough with your skin. "I watch patients touch and point to areas of concern on their face, and I'm often taken aback at how rough they are on their skin when they touch it. They rub hard and pick and pull, rather than gently patting it. I see the marks left behind from picking, and I see the skin stretched for no reason in directions it doesn't necessarily naturally move. Part of the problem may be magnified mirrors that make everything seem bigger and closer and can distort the way the skin looks and how much pressure is safe to apply. I'd love for everyone to be more thoughtful and gentle when touching their skin." --Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City

Also on HuffPost:

1. Keep It Simple

Face Washing Tips

Support HuffPost

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

Go to Homepage

Popular in the Community


Gift Guides