When shopping for skin care products, many beauty consumers can be confused about which products to try and which to toss. With so many choices, it’s easy to fall for clever packaging and marketing terminology. According to Houston, TX Dermatologist Dr. Paul Friedman, “the skin care market is full of products that can help improve challenged skin, but many of my patients experience frustration with an oversaturated beauty market.”
Below Dr. Friedman notes some of the most common “beauty blunders” when it comes to buying and using consumer skin care products:
1. If you have acne-prone skin, avoid buying lotions that come in a jar or pot, says Dr. Friedman. Dipping your fingers into lotions every day introduces bacteria to the entire jar, and that can translate onto your skin, causing breakouts or infections.
2. The old adage went, if you see a woman with great hair; ask where she had it done. The same can be applied to skin care – ask a friend what kind of moisturizer she likes and you might find your new favorite product, but keep in mind skin care is a unique experience: what works for some does not work for all.
3. If you are buying environmentally friendly products, watch out for those that are “paraben free.” Parabens have been singled out as potentially dangerous chemicals, but what most consumers don’t know is they are included in skincare items for a reason – to help them last longer. Most paraben-free products will spoil after a certain timeframe, which is usually listed on the package. Pay attention to this date and treat it almost like a food item, says Dr. Friedman.
4. You don’t need an “arsenal” of products to look your best. Many skin care companies sell their products in a series or grouping. According to Dr. Friedman, most women only need a gentle cleanser, daily moisturizer with SPF of 15 or higher, and a moisture-rich night cream to maintain a healthy complexion.
5. Read the (back of the) labels. Many products contain irritants like added fragrances or alcohols that can dry the skin. No matter what a package promises on the front, read the back carefully to ensure you are getting what’s advertised. If you have skin sensitivities towards certain foods, it is also important to look for essential oils, which are often derived from foods that can cause allergies in some people.
6. Don’t be fooled by clever marketing terminology. Product packaging is usually designed to do one thing: sell the product. Dr. Friedman says the last thing you should look for in a product is an appealing design. Be wary of claims like “dermatologist tested” or “allergy tested.” These phrases often carry little meaning.
7. Watch where you store your skin care. Different types of products, such as gels, may have temperature requirements in order to stay effective, notes Dr. Friedman. Leaving products in direct sunlight, in extreme heat or cold could also affect their performance. If there are no directions, Dr. Friedman notes products should be kept in cool, dry areas.
According to Dr. Friedman, the more you educate yourself, the better your chances are of finding a skin care routine that works for you.
About Dr. Paul Friedman
Paul M. Friedman, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, specializing in dermatologic laser surgery and Mohs micrographic surgery. Dr. Friedman is the director of the DermSurgery Laser Center in Houston, Texas and also practices at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York in Manhattan. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical School, Department of Dermatology, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. For more information, please visit www.friedmanmd.net