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Dermatologists Share the Worst Products for Your Facial Skin


This amazing guest post was written by Jeriann Watkins Ireland, a writer and wellness enthusiast. We encourage you to check out more from Jeriann at her website.

Winter is known for being hard on people’s skin, particularly facial skin, since the face is the only part of the body regularly exposed to the season’s harsh winds and cold air. Unfortunately, many of the products marketed toward remedying skin conditions, brought on by weather or other causes, contain ingredients that only exacerbate the issue or cause other skin issues.

Facial skin in particular is very sensitive, and top dermatologists have some tips for what to avoid including in your facial routine. The recommendations will surprise you if you’ve seen and believed any mainstream skincare marketing recently. Here’s what the experts have to say:


We all know someone who uses shampoo to wash their face and body because “it’s all soap, no matter how it’s marketed.” But shampoo strips the natural oils from your skin, which is especially harmful to the sensitive skin on your face.

In fact, it’s best not to wash your face in the shower at all. The high-pressure hot water dries out your skin way too much. Instead, use tepid water from the sink, cupping it to splash on your face. Use a gentle cleanser made specifically for facial skin, and be sure to moisturize after patting your skin dry.



Many facial toners and makeup removers have alcohol in them, as this does a great job of clearing your skin of topical debris and removing oils. Unfortunately, it goes too far and dries out your skin. Any products with alcohol as a main ingredient should be avoided for facial use.

Of course, there’s always an exception. Many products use fatty alcohols such as cetearyl, stearyl, and glycol. These alcohols are used in skincare products as emulsifiers, emollients, and thickeners. Some can slow down water loss and can be beneficial if used in small amounts in facial creams and other products.

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Those with sensitive skin may experience irritation even from fatty alcohols. As always, when trying new products, it’s best to test out a small patch of skin for a few days to make sure it doesn’t cause a reaction.

Fragranced Products

Fragrance is added to a lot of beauty products purely to boost sales. Companies assume people want products that smell nice, and they sell items based on this surface-level appeal rather than actual effectiveness.

For the most part, fragrance dries out your skin, often because it’s mixed with alcohol. Of course you don’t want products that smell bad, but unscented skincare products often have a neutral or mild odor, if any at all. For best results, seek out natural grooming products with no added artificial fragrances.

Home Chemical Peels

Chemical peels have been used since ancient Egypt, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with risks. These peels are an effective way to remove dead cells and trigger new cell growth. However, the whole concept is that you’re putting acid on your face.

Chemical peels must be done evenly and carefully, at the proper dilution. This can be complicated for a beginner to determine, especially with the availability of high-concentration chemical peels online.It’s best to leave a precise procedure like that to the professionals. If you’re looking for a gentle way to remove dead skin at home, here are some fun, natural face mask recipes!

Home Microneedles


Microneedling has gotten a lot of attention as a trendy facial treatment. What looks like a paint roller with small needles pointing out is rolled across your face vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. This opens up your pores and allows your skin to better absorb healing and moisturizing products. The downside?

All these holes open your skin up to a high risk of infection. Also, you have to be careful about what products you use after microneedling and what length of needles you use. The longer the needles, the higher risk you have of some pain, as well as infection.

Dermatologists recommend having microneedling procedures performed in a sterile, professional environment. If you’re interested in trying a home treatment, it’s best to see a professional first so they can recommend the best products for your skin and teach you proper technique. They can also recommend alternative home treatments that pose less risk of infection. When it comes to inflicting wounds on your face, it’s much better to have someone trained in dermatology handling the tools.

Harsh Face Scrubs and Exfoliants

Despite what people selling makeup and skincare products may tell you, exfoliation isn’t always a magical solution for your skincare woes. Exfoliants are by nature harsh. If you have sensitive skin at all, exfoliation will likely cause redness and irritation.

Gentle peels are better for stripping away dead skin. If you do use facial scrubs, you’ll want small granules, and something formulated specifically for facial skin. Don’t use salt scrubs, as it is way too abrasive!

Bar Soap


Like shampoo, bar soap strips your skin of too many natural oils. In fact, most dermatologists recommend only using bar soap in areas that get lots of build-up, like your armpits, thighs, and feet. For your arms and legs, water is usually enough to cleanse. When a “soap” is necessary, it’s best to use a gentle cleanser that removes debris without drying out your skin.

Since your facial skin is even more sensitive than the rest of your body, bar soap is way too harsh. Some people find that simply rinsing with water is enough, especially if they don’t use many products. If you wear makeup, your makeup remover could also function as a cleanser.

Finding the right ingredients for your skin can be difficult, but it can be fun to experiment with different natural items to find the best option. You’d be surprised what affordable ingredients you already have that could be used as face wash! Try these 14 natural face cleanser alternatives, ranging from oils to fruit to clay, and more!

Mineral Oil

It’s hard to believe that mineral oil can be bad for you. After all, minerals are natural and healthy, right? Well, think of what happens when you have mineral build-up in your tap water. It becomes hard and dry. Mineral oil does the same thing to your facial skin. It is also pretty viscous, so it clogs your pores and aggravates acne.

If you’re using oils on your face to keep moisture in, you should use lighter oils like almond, argan, or jojoba, and only in small amounts. Again, test new oils on a small patch of skin and gauge the reaction for a couple days before adding to your regular routine!

In the winter, we might be so concerned with preventing dry skin that we forget other aspects of facial skin care. Even in overcast weather, your skin gets exposure to the sun, so be sure to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine, and as always, stay hydrated! Keeping your body healthy with plenty of water and nutrients will go a long way to keeping healthy, beautiful skin!

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Jeriann Watkins Ireland

Jeriann Watkins Ireland

Jeriann blogs about books, crafts, and pretty much everything else at She loves sharing her experiences with conventional and alternative health and wellness strategies. Her favorite way to manage her health is with weekly meal planning and supporting local producers for her food, body care, and house cleaning product needs.
Jeriann Watkins Ireland