4 Ingredients You Should Never Put On Your Skin

Expert Advice

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When it comes to skincare, there are so many miracle ingredients that make a bomb addition to your skincare routine, and we hear about them constantly! But there’s less information about the ingredients that we should actually be avoiding. So, we decided to ask New York-based celeb dermatologist Dr. Doris Day for five skincare ingredients she recommends we avoid in our skincare routines. Here’s what she had to say:

1. Photosensitizers

Dr. Day explains, “Photosensitizers are ingredients that make you more sun-sensitive. The main category is the oil of bergamot. It was found in fragrance but is now mostly removed. A similar ingredient is found in lime and lemon rind, celery and parsnips. They can create a reaction in the skin called a phyto photoreaction (plant-sun reaction) that will leave your skin blistered and discolored in the areas that came into contact with the ingredient. I often see patients in the summer who squeezed a lemon into their drink and a few days later noticed a splatter-like distribution of brown spots on the back of their hand starting from the thumb-web going towards the wrist.”

2. Scrubs made with crushed nutshells

Over exfoliation is one of the most common skincare mistakes in the beauty book, and one of the main causes is using abrasive scrubs made with nutshells like walnut. Dr. Day explains the danger of abrasive scrubs; “The edges are too irregular and coarse and can lead to abrasions (scratches) in the skin, leaving it more prone to water loss and stinging and burning when you put anything on afterward.” Instead, look for products that feature gentle AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate the skin; these chemical exfoliants will exfoliate the skin at a deeper level, unbinding the glue that blocks your pores. Although, make sure you read our exfoliation guide to avoid over-exfoliation.

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3. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound most commonly used as an oxidizer or antiseptic. It’s basically a compound of oxygen and water, which is why it’s used in a ton of beauty products. However, Dr. Day insists that while “It’s fine to use it once to clean the skin, if used daily, especially on a cut or scrape, it causes the breakdown of skin cells and will slow wound healing or make the wound even worse.”

4. Rubbing alcohol on pimples

There’s a widely believed myth that applying rubbing alcohol to a pimple will dry it out and kill bacteria. Dr. Day sets the record straight, “It does nothing to kill the bacteria that cause acne, but it will dry out and irritate your skin,” Instead, as soon as you see a pimple emerging, apply a targeted spot treatment and leave it alone – no squeezing or poking. Then follow our step-by-step guide to combatting a pimple.

Now that we’ve covered ingredients you should avoid, here are five ingredients that are the holy grail of skincare.