9 Beauty Practices That Are a Waste of Time

26 Mar 2012 at 9:35am

Guest post by Neal Schultz, MD

In the spirit of "you can't make this kind of stuff up," these myths (as either questions or allegations) are part of the daily misinformation that I hear from my patients or DermTV viewers. And my commitment to disseminating correct and useful info just gets deeper and more important the more these are repeated. If accepted as true and used to guide your behavior they'll not only mislead you, but they could actually hurt you!

water dry skin"You need to drink 8 glasses of water/day to have healthy and beautiful skin"

You need to drink water when you're thirsty, and that's to make you feel better and for other health reasons…. not for your skin. If you don't drink water when you're thirsty, your very clever body will conserve water and prevent your skin from suffering any consequences from mild or even moderate dehydration. 

Your skin will suffer when your body is SEVERLY hydrated. The best way to insure you maintain the hydration of your skin is with regular use of a good moisturizer.

“Picking pimples causes scars.”

Usually picking does not cause scars. You’d have to pick really deep to cause a scar. A scar is a depression in the skin, underneath the surface, or a bump above the surface of the skin, but what picking pimples does do, it causes flat tan to brown stains, discolorations, dark spots on and around the pimple, and these stains are even more difficult to treat than the actual pimples themselves.

So the reason not to pick pimples is so that you don’t get these dark stains which are so annoying and so hard to get rid of.


washing face cold water“Cold rinses after washing are good for your skin.”

If you’re referring to rinsing off cleanser or soap after washing, then cold rinses are not good because cold water does not dissolve off the cleanser or soap as well as warm water does. 

If you’re referring to an attempt to reduce pore size after washing, then cold rinses can temporarily, very slightly reduce the appearance of pore size, but it is temporary and within an hour to two hours, the pores will then return to their former state.


under eye fillers“Dark under eye circles can be helped with filler injections.”

Dark under eye circles are caused by at least 7 different problems, including a depressed curved area below the eye called the tear trough. If that’s what’s causing your dark circles, then filler can help by restoring the volume of the depressed trough so the bulge of skin above doesn’t cause cast a shadow from over head light.

But if your dark circles are caused by brown discoloration on the skin or under the skin, or by red, blue or purple enlarged blood vessels of the lower lids, or lots of very thin horizontal parallel fines lines on the lower lid, then filler won’t help.

tanning skin cancer"Skin cancer is not as dangerous as other forms of cancer."

Sadly, one American dies from a melanoma skin cancer every hour in this country, and once melanoma spreads to different parts of your body, there really is no consistently effective treatment for those skin cancers.

In 2011 two new drugs were approved for the treatment of metastatic melanome, but we all hope we never have to be treated with them. Melanomas are very dangerous and just as virulent and potentially lethal as any type of cancer.

face wash after exercise“The most important time of the day to wash my face is after I’ve perspired from sports or exercise.”

The reality is the most important time to wash is right before you do activities that make you sweat. When you perspire, you tend to wipe the sweat off your face with your hand or a towel. That rubs in the grime, dirt, oils and debris that are there if you haven’t washed, and that aggravates acne.

After you’ve perspired, you’ve only made water and salt, and water and salt is harmless on the skin and won’t aggravate your acne.


avocado face mask“Eating avocados helps your skin.”

A good source of biotin, avocados help to prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. When applied topically, they can hydrate parched skin. The problem is, to get enough biotin you may have to eat an awful lot of avocados.




milk bath“Milk baths are good for your skin.”

If your skin is inflamed, milk baths are very soothing and help relieve the inflammation. The reason Cleopatra took milk baths was to make her skin more beautiful, but in her time refrigeration was not adequate so her milk was slightly turning which meant it had high levels of lactic acid -- a (weakly) therapeutic alpha hydroxy acid. The turning milk weakly exfoliated her skin to make it smoother.

Before you jump in the tub with just any cow, think about how bathing in turning milk must smell. If you want beautifully exfoliated body skin, I suggest BeautyRx Daily Exfoliating Body Therapy Lotion -- works better, smells better and cost much less than a bathtub full of milk!

sugar scrub“The glycolic acid in sugar - and the rough texture - makes it ideal for exfoliating skin.”

Although it is derived from sugar cane, there is no glycolic in sugar. The homemade pastes made from sugar and then used as a physical exfoliant are not effective, predictable or reliable.




Neal Shultz, MDNew York Dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz is the creator and innovator of the world's first daily skincare video show on the Internet (www.DermTV.com); the founder and Medical Director of Park Avenue Skin Care, his cosmetic dermatology private practice; the developer of BeautyRx Skincare; the celebrated author of "It's Not Just About Wrinkles"; and, the Senior Vice President and Clinical Medical Director of Dermatologic Cosmetic Labs (the largest manufacturer of skincare products in the US for dermatologists, plastic surgeons and their patients).