6 Things A Dermatologist Wouldn’t Buy (And One Multi-Tasking Must)

Have you ever wondered what a dermatologist thinks when they walk into a Sephora? What would someone with years of skin care knowledge and experience spend their money on - and what would they definitely skip when they had endless rows of serums and creams to choose from?
We have Dr. Claire Chang, a board certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York, and Dr. Mona Gohara of the Dermatology Physicians in Connecticut asked to share the things they would never buy and the one product they always hand carry.
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1. Physical scrubs and peels
"I don't buy (and actually discourage my patients from using) physical peels and harsh peels that can do more harm than good to the skin," says Chang. “It can cause too much irritation, inflammation, and trauma, which can lead to dry, red skin and exacerbated breakouts. Instead, I recommend chemical peels that contain glycolic acid or lactic acid to exfoliate the skin and increase skin cell turnover without causing irritation. "
Shop for the items: Versed Skincare The Shortcut Overnight Facial ($ 20); REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic ($ 38); Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($ 88)
2. Alcohol based toner
"Alcohol-based toners can dry out the skin and feel tight," explains Chang. "Instead, I look for toners that are alcohol-free, have a balanced pH, and contain soothing, moisturizing ingredients like niacinamide and aloe vera, or those with lightening ingredients like AHAs and BHAs."
Buy the items: Pixi Glow Tonic ($ 18); Avéne Gentle Toning Lotion ($ 20); Renée Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner ($ 37)
3. Expensive moisturizers
"There's no need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive facial moisturizers," says Chang. "I buy Drogerie brand moisturizers and focus on whether or not they contain essential moisturizing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid," she explains. "I would rather spend more money on products that are packed with higher concentrations of active ingredients, such as antioxidant serums or a high-quality retinol."
Shop the Products: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA ($ 8); Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer ($ 13); CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM ($ 16)
4. Neck cream
"Why use a separate neck cream? I use the same products that I use on my face on the back of my neck - including the antioxidant serums, retinols and moisturizers I just mentioned, "explains Chang.
5. Face mist
"Facial mist may feel refreshing, but it's not an essential step in my skin care routine," says Chang. "It doesn't add anything I can't get from my serums and moisturizers," she adds. "The only exception I'll make is during a long flight."
6. "Pore-reducing" products
"Pores are a natural part of our skin anatomy and cannot be removed or reduced with skin care products," explains Chang. “Products that claim to shrink pores actually help remove the contents of blackheads, including oil and other contaminants, which can make them appear smaller temporarily. However, it cannot reduce the size of your pores and consumers should not expect these results. "
The one must-have
"I like to use a retinoid that can be applied to my entire face (including my eyelids), my neck, and the back of my hands," says Gohara. "A retinoid eliminates the need to buy special eye and neck creams," she adds. "I'm looking for products that are specifically designed for 'sensitive' skin so that they can be used in more reactive areas like the eyes and throat without causing irritation."
Buy Dr. Gohara's top pick: Avène Retrinal 0.1 Intensive Cream ($ 70)
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