With all the back-and-forth, wishy-washy advice in the world, sometimes it feels good to have a concrete answer. In fact, when it comes to my skin, I feel like a rebellious teenager who's subconsciously yearning for structure. I want rules: Do this, and don't ever do that. Use this product, and stay away from that one. But the fact of the matter is that everyone's skin is different, and every skincare expert has varied advice.
So, while it's not always cut and dry, there are a few things dermatologists and estheticians wouldn't do to their skin (under any circumstances). I posed that question to two of my most trusted beauty gurus and recorded their reasoning. Below, find six practices they would never be caught dead doing, and why you should stay away as well.
I never… sit in a middle seat on a plane.
"When you're on an airplane, you're closer to the sun. This means that your skin is coming into contact with even more harmful UV rays through the window," explains celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. "I always book a window seat so I can control the shade (by closing it) so my skin stays protected. And, of course, I still wear sunscreen when flying during daytime hours."
I never… leave my skin bare for longer than 60 seconds.
"You have approximately 60 seconds after cleansing your skin to seal in moisture (and prevent dehydration)," says Rouleau. "Particularly, when the air is dry, your skin is at its most vulnerable after cleansing. If you don't apply a product while your skin is still damp, it'll leave your skin feeling tight and dry. I always immediately apply an alcohol-free toner, serum, and moisturizer quickly so my skin stays moist and hydrated."
I never… wear sunscreen with SPF higher than 50.
"Mainly, there is no evidence showing that anything above SPF 50 gives the skin any more protection," says Rouleau. "I would rather not subject my skin to any unnecessary chemicals that offer my skin no benefit. In fact, the FDA has put in a ban to eliminate companies that promote these because they are inherently misleading."
I never… use a scrub brush or loofah.
"… on my face," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. "Facial skin is quite delicate, and harsh physical exfoliating tools can irritate and inflame it. I'd much rather use a light chemical exfoliant (like glycolic acid) to exfoliate and keep skin cells renewed."
I never… pick my face.
"Picking causes far more damage than whatever the initial issue was with your skin," says Nazarian. "Whether it be a pimple, bug bite, what have you. And picking triggers a release of color and darkening of the skin, which means the scars and blemishes last much longer. Use ice if you're itchy, use a topical spot treatment, or get a quick cortisone injection if you have a pimple—but never pick."
I never… get a base tan.
"For obvious reasons, no tan is a safe tan," asserts Nazarian. "Even a little color is a sign of sun damage. So, rather than exposing myself to even a tiny bit of radiation before my vacation, I become even more vigilant about my sunscreen. That's the right way to prevent a burn."