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4 Common Skin Care Products to Avoid for Great Skin Forever

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:44pm

Dear FutureDerm,

How come you never write negative reviews about products anymore? I enjoyed those.

-A fan from St. Louis

Indeed, Fan from St. Louis, you are correct: I have been really fortunate to come into contact with only the best products lately. And with limited time, I have been trying to feature the positive on my blog.

But not today! Here are four skin care products that should be avoided at all costs:

1. Apricot scrub.

A number of skin experts, including Barbara Close, author of Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics and renowned spa expert, note that apricot scrub is harsh for the skin. The reason is that the apricot granules tend to have rough edges, being more angular than round. When apricot scrub is applied roughly, it can actually rip, or at the very least stretch, the pores. For this reason, it is best to stick with dermatologist-administered microdermabrasion or a different scrub, like my personal favorite, NIA 24 Physical Cleansing Scrub ($26.50, ).

2. Benzoyl peroxide as anything but an on-the-spot treatment.

Benzoyl peroxide is often applied topically to the skin to kill P. acnes, the form of bacteria associated with approximately 40 percent of acne. Benzoyl peroxide has been found by Nacht et. al. to kill bacteria by generating reactive oxygen species in the sebaceous follicle. However, because benzoyl triggers free radical formation, its use should be limited to the spot of the comedone as much as possible. Therefore, facial cleansers and moisturizers containing benzoyl peroxide should be avoided, unless recommended otherwise for some reason by your personal dermatologist.

3. Lip gloss without SPF.

According to Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, “These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface.” Which, at worst, can lead to “…the degeneration of collagen and elastin — which leads to a loss of lip fullness and increased lines — and an increased risk of skin cancer,” according to Dr. Leslie Baumann, Chief of the Department of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University of Miami and author of The Skin Type Solution. In other words, for better lips tomorrow, stick to a lipstick or gloss with SPF today. My favorites include Clinique Moisture Surge Lipstick SPF 15 and Neutrogena Moisture Surge Lipgloss with SPF 20 ($12.00 for two, ).

4. Self-tanning treatments.

Most self-tanners work by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient. According to a report from The Danish Ministry of the Environment, DHA reacts with amino acids and amino groups during the formation of melanoids (pigments), on the outermost layer of the skin (stratum corneum); the next stages involve amine reaction with keto- (i.e, a compound with a C=O group) and aldo (i.e., a compound with an H-C=O group) compounds to form ketoimines and aldoimine. Which all sounds fine and good (and probably exciting to you organic chemists out there, haha).

Unfortunately, if you use self-tanner and then go out into the sun, you could be causing more damage: According to a 2007 study published in Germany, for 24 hours after applying a self-tanner containing DHA, the skin is more susceptible to free-radical damage once being exposed to the sun. And, as we know, free radical damage leads to premature wrinkling, sagging due to loss of collagen, and potentially age spots (amongst other forms of cellular damage). Although, to be honest, if you were seriously baking yourself in the sun, why would you need a self-tanner in the first place? :-)

Therefore, for your best skin ever, in some cases, you may need to pay attention to what you are using as much as what you are not. :-) Feel free to comment on your best - and worst - experiences with products below! :-) And for more “worst” reviews, please click here.

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