I Speak to Skin Experts Every Day, and I'd Never Use These 5 Products

Shannon Lawlor
·6-min read

There’s no doubt that the world of skincare is totally confusing. Something that is heralded as a skin saviour one day could be lining bathroom bins the next. The truth is, there is simply so much information out there, it’s tough to know what to believe. And although attempting to cut through the noise is my job, I must admit it’s not easy. With new ingredients and product launches basically every day, trying to find a way to consolidate all of the conflicting information and make some sense of it all can be mind-boggling.

Luckily though, whenever I’m feeling confused or overwhelmed, I have a whole directory of skin experts on hand to turn to. From dermatologists and surgeons to aestheticians and facialists, I can always rely on the best experts to deliver the cold-hard facts – because when it comes to skincare, the science doesn’t lie. And the truth is, the people that are actually working with skin, day in and day out (and have fixed mine on a number of occasions), are the ones that I trust the most.

While my go-to experts have a lot of product recommendations up their sleeves, they also have a long list of products and ingredients they urge everyone to stay away from. However, despite being told hundreds of times that certain products are downright bad, because my love for skincare knows no bounds, I must admit that it has taken me years to fully take the advice on board. And despite the fact I have to go without products that once brought me joy, my skin really is better for it. So, without further ado, keep scrolling to discover the products skincare experts always tell me to avoid (and what I use instead).

Sheet Masks

While sheet masks make for great Insta selfies and feel soothing and cooling on the skin, the truth is, they’re really terrible for the environment. Sure, seemingly eco-friendly masks are out there, but in reality, there are enough perfectly good alternatives that mean we can avoid having to use them. In fact, most skin experts I speak to say sheet masks have few skincare benefits and urge clients to reach for something more hardworking.

Traditionally soaked in hydrating serums that champion plumping, glow-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, in reality, sheet masks are only a quick fix. Instead, experts recommend incorporating hydrating ingredients into your everyday routine in the form of serums. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without masks. In fact, more intensive, weekly treatments that utilise powerful ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids are deemed much more effective at boosting glow in the long-term.

Shop Glow-Boosting Face Masks

Ren Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (£36)

Summer Fridays Overtime Mask (£39)

Oskia Renaissance Mask (£64)

Kiehl's Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energising Radiance Masque (£38)

Face Wipes

If you’re still using face wipes as your main form of cleanser, consider this to be a sign. Trust me, I really hate it when people shame you for your skincare choices (it’s all down to the individual at the end of the day), but when it comes to face wipe usage, it’s time to say goodbye. Do I still have a pack lurking in my cupboard for makeup emergencies? Sure. But that’s not to say they are to be used every day. Not only are they once again terrible for the planet, they’re also bad news for your skin. In order to properly remove makeup and acne-causing bacteria, it is absolutely essential to cleanse your face with a wash-off cleanser every morning and night. When it comes to makeup removal, opt for gentle, hardworking formulas.

Shop Makeup-Removing Cleansers

Elemis Pro-Collagen Naked Cleansing Balm (£44)

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine™ Meltaway Cleanser (£30)

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£11)

Caudalie Vinoclean Instant Foaming Cleanser (£15)

Expensive Face Oils

This is a bit more complex that others on the list, but it’s a very common theme amongst science-led skin experts that facial oils are best left untouched if you’re not totally clued up on them. A huge number of skincare products contains oils to help nourish our skin, or in the case of essential oils, give a product more of a luxurious user-experience. However, when oils are formulated within other products, dosage is significantly lower than they might be in say, a straight-up facial oil.

The truth is, the most expensive face oils are those that contain essential oils (they are extremely expensive for brands to purchase, making the mark-up on the product even larger), and essential oils in high volumes are seriously bad news for skin. They can turn skin red, dry and angry. Other non-fragrant, cheaper oils, such as rosehip, grape seed and chia seed, on the other hand, can prove great for drier skin types. The best piece of advice I have been given by an expert? Just opt for no-fuss moisturisers that contain a blend of great, skin-loving ingredients. That way, you don’t have to take the risk.

Shop Nourishing Moisturisers

Cerave Facial Moisturising Lotion (£13)

Malin+Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer (£42)

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream (£55)

Perricone Md Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturizer (£59)

Cleansing Devices

As someone that has oily, congestion-prone skin, trust me when I tell you I totally get the appeal of cleansing devices. An electronic brush or silicone device that works to unclog pores? Sign me up! But actually don't, because they’re really quite bad for your skin in the long run. When used once in a blue moon during the extraction process of a professional facial treatment, they can have their benefits, sure. However, when used regularly at home by untrained hands, any sort of electronic scrubbing (or anything that works harder and faster that your hands) is deemed too abrasive by experts. In truth, wiping away your cleanser with a muslin cloth, morning and night, is all it takes.

Shop Muslin Cloths

The Body Shop Muslin Cloth (£3)

Beauty Pie Double-Sided Organic Cleansing & Exfoliating Cloths (£15)

Eve Lom Muslin Cloths (£14)

Pore Strips

Of all the products skin experts have told me to stop using over the years, blackhead-clearing nose strips were by far the hardest to part with. My nose is covered in black, pin-prick spots and there was a time when I found nothing more satisfying that tearing them all out with a pore strip.

However, every time I visited an aesthetician, they warned me that the skin on my nose was seriously damaged, covered in broken veins and pigmentation. It turns out, it’s mostly down to overusing pore strips. Anything that has an adhesive effect will cause the skin trauma and damage the barrier, leading to dryness, redness, scarring and even (as in my case) broken veins. Instead, look for cleansers and treatments that utilise oil-sapping, pore unclogging ingredients such a clay and salicylic acid.

Shop Products for Blackheads

Niod Flavanone Mud (£29)

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask (£22)

Verso Acne Deep Cleanse (£35)

Goldfaden Md Facial Detox Clarify + Clear Mask (£58)

Next up, I'm so tired of video calls, but these products help me look more awake.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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