10 popular skin-care trends dermatologists say you should avoid

Charley Gallay/GettySome DIY face masks contain potentially harmful ingredients.
  • Some viral skin-care trends can do more harm than good
  • Popular fads like peel-off masks, charcoal masks, and DIY skin-care recipes can actually do more harm than good for your skin.
  • “Natural” and “organic” skin-care products aren’t always better.

When it comes to skin-care, it seems like there’s always a new trend. But from charcoal masks that claim to clean out your pores and DIY face masks that claim to clear your acne, not every fad is safe.

Of course, not all skin care trends are bad news, said Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York. “I don’t think people should ignore trends, but they should always proceed with caution,” he told INSIDER. “Just because something worked for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for another. You have to be careful.”

That being said, here are 10 skin-care trends that dermatologists say you should be cautious about.


Cosmetic procedures aren’t always safe.

ShutterstockSometimes an unqualified person could be performing a skin-care procedure.

Bhanusali told INSIDER that lately cosmetic procedures have become widely available and so they’re oftentimes offered by a variety of different people – but not all of these people are qualified. Receiving cosmetic procedures from individuals who aren’t qualified can sometimes result in complications.

If you’re looking to get a cosmetic procedure done, it’s always best to see a trusted professional or board-certified dermatologist.


DIY skin-care can be dangerous.

Flickr/katalopolisBaking soda can irritate your skin.

Whatever your reason, it’s understandable why the idea of making homemade masks, serums, or moisturizers is tempting, but Bhanusali says that these concoctions usually do more harm than good. And he said they can oftentimes cause chemical burns.

“I’m seeing more complications from DIY masks and at-home treatments, particularly with darker skin types,” he said. “It’s always important to consult with experts before doing something that can harm your skin.”

Read More: 9 things you should never use to treat a pimple, and 2 you should


Peel-off masks can be damaging.

Skeyndor/Flickr/Generic 2.0There can be better ways to cleanse your skin.

It’s easy to understand the allure of peel-off masks. After using one, it can feel like you’ve removed any and all impurities from your skin, which is totally satisfying.

But Holly Hanson, a dermatologist in Minnesota, said that they can actually damage your skin. “Oftentimes these masks are abrasive and work by removing the outer layer of the skin,” she told INSIDER. “There are more effective ways to cleanse the skin without damaging it.”


Soap bars aren’t the best thing to use in the shower.

iStockThey may be irritating your skin.

“One skin-care trend that has been popular with men for years is using soaps in the shower,” Hanson told INSIDER. “Although people enjoy the scent, these soaps are over-drying and can lead to rashes, especially in the winter.”

Looking for a better option? She suggests using something unscented that is also moisturizing that will cleanse and replenish your skin instead of stripping it dry.


Not all advice from the internet is legitimate.

Junko Kimura/Getty ImagesThey’re not all dermatologist-approved.

Hanson added that there’s a downside to the online popularity of skin-care. “Anyone can claim to be an expert in skin-care without any training,” she said. “My advice would be to only trust a board-certified dermatologist when it comes to your skin. We go through years of training solely on skin.”

So before following skin-care recipes or “hacks,” be sure to check your source’s credibility.


Charcoal masks aren’t all created equally.

iStockSometimes they can contain not-so-great ingredients.

Charcoal face masks seem to be everywhere, but New York-based dermatologist Ritu Saini suggests checking the ingredients before you apply it to your face.

“Charcoal itself isn’t the problem but more so the glue used to apply the mask can peel off normal skin cells and cause damage,” she said. “Overuse of these masks can cause the skin to get very dry and irritated.”


Natural oils aren’t always the best moisturizer.

BSIP/Getty ImagesOils aren’t always meant to be applied to your face.

It may be tempting to skip store-bought moisturizer and use the natural oil in your pantry but using oil on your face can cause some skin issues,Marisa Garshick, a dermatologist in New York, told INSIDER.

“Be cautious when using oil on your skin as it can clog pores, which is especially important in those with acne prone skin,” she said. “Other natural oils can contain fragrance which can irritate those with sensitive skin. I typically recommend a facial moisturizer in the form of a cream or lotion to provide the best hydration, especially for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.”


“Natural” and “organic” doesn’t always mean what you think it does.

Voyagerix/ShutterstockIt’s not always cleaner or safer.

Words like “organic” and “natural” have flooded the skin-care scene, and some might thing that means products are cleaner and safer, but that’s not always the case, Virginia-based dermatologist Stephanie Daniel, told INSIDER.

“Somehow, organic has translated to safer and hypoallergenic,” she said. “I have to remind many of my sensitive-skinned patients that ‘organic’ usually equates to greater potential for allergy.”


Online prescriptions aren’t always safe.

iStockYou can’t always be sure what you’re getting.

Ordering prescriptions online might mean you’re not receiving information about all of the important instructions or potential side effects.

“Online prescription subscriptions also worry me,” Daniel told INSIDER. “They often put the right diagnosis in the patient’s hands and the medication consequences don’t get fully discussed.”


Toners can be irritating or drying for the skin.

PixabayThey’re not the best for every skin type.

A popular product that some dermatologists don’t particularly love? Toner.

“A lot of patients love toners because of the tight, clean feeling it gives when first applied,” Lauren Meshkov Bonati, a dermatologist in Colorado, told INSIDER. “However, I often discourage patients from using them because most toners contain alcohol, which is very drying for the skin and can cause irritation, particularly in the dry winter months and for patients with sensitive skin. For those who absolutely can’t give it up, I recommend alcohol-free products.”

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