Popular Skin-Care Hacks a Derm Says You Shouldn’t Try

While we all love a good beauty hack, there are some popular skin-care hacks that really shouldn’t be so popular. According to our favorite TikTok dermatologist, Dr. Muneeb Shah, DO (AKA @dermdoctor), there are a lot of tricks you see on social media that don’t deserve to be repeated in our own bathrooms.. Natural beauty is all the rage right now, but natural isn’t always better, and Dr. Shah wants to clarify that. Ahead, the three natural skin-care “hacks” he says need to be put to bed—plus what you should be doing instead.

Don’t: Use honey for acne

Do: Use Benzoyl Peroxide

Honey does have antibacterial properties—it’s called liquid gold for a reason!—but its effects are limited, and you can get more done with less work. Instead, try his recommendation: benzoyl peroxide. While honey may help heal skin wounds, benzoyl peroxide has been clinically proven to be an effective first-line treatment for acne. Perhaps save the honey for your tea?

Don’t: Use lemon juice for dark spots

Do: Use tretinoin, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid

Vitamin C serum is often used for dark spots, so vitamin C-rich lemon juice should work in its stead, right…? Not so much. Dr. Shah says to avoid this citrusy solution, as it can be a massive irritant to your beautiful face. Instead of making skin-care lemonade out of life’s lemons, try his recommendations: tretinoin, hydroquinone, azelaic acid.

Tretinoin is a prescription-strength retinoid that can promote cellular turnover, thus helping to brighten the skin by inhibiting melanin production. Hydroquinone is another prescription product that bleaches the skin. And azelaic acid—which you don’t need a ‘script for—is a gentle acid that can help lighten hyperpigmentation caused by acne.

Don’t: Use tape for wrinkles

Do: Use tretinoin and SPF

So, tape can limit facial movement (sounding a bit like Botox, here!), but like with honey, Dr. Shah says that using it to smooth out your wrinkles has limited efficacy. His swap: the “much more effective” tretinoin (yet another time to use retinol), and the ultimate dermatology solution: sunscreen. Studies over time have shown that SPF has the power to slow down aging, and could even reverse signs of aging. Apply it daily and you’ll be able to stave off wrinkles over time, which means you won’t even need to think about using tape on your face in the long run.

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