Loyal readers of Misumi Skincare’s Blog know well that we tend to tackle all sorts of topics when it comes to skincare, and often even controversial ones. That’s because our aim is to create better products for you, and do so with honesty and integrity, which means offering you all the knowledge at our disposal.
Ideally, the information we provide will help you make informed choices. And when it comes to making informed choices, when was the last time you bought a skincare product that just… sits there? Last month? A week ago? Don’t worry, you’re not alone - I have a ton of those too.
So let’s look at some rather well-known categories of skincare products that we rarely use, and answer the question - are they really necessary?
But, the effects often aren’t. Just like with politics, the beauty industry often relies on aggressive, and even clever marketing, to sell its products. But just because a product is everywhere and you keep hearing amazing things about it, it doesn’t mean that it actually works. And even if it does work for some people, it may still not work for you.
To make matters even worse, a lot of these products are often overpriced to begin with. Whatever discount you get is just intended to make you more inclined to buy it, and then… Well, then you try it, see no results, and put it back on the shelf. But you’ve still spent your money, and the company has turned a profit.
So, we’ll make the bold assumption that you would like to avoid this scenario in the future. In this article, we will go over some skincare products whose effectiveness is… Well, debatable, at best. Some may just be overpriced for what they offer, others may actually harm and irritate your skin, and others yet may be completely useless for you. So here’s which skincare products to avoid - or think twice before you buy - and save yourself some extra money.
You’ve undoubtedly bought a toner, or been sorely tempted to do so. Sure, toners have their benefits - but they also look nice, make you feel refreshed, and can dry your skin a bit too much after the “honeymoon” day is over.
In truth, toners don’t really work that well. Dermatologists suggest that if you really need something more refreshing, then you need not look any further than serums. Serums are some of the most beneficial products in skincare, due to the virtue of their formula and design. A serum contains the highest number of active ingredients, while leaving out all the “filler” substances, like abrasive alcohols, heavy oils and so on.
To be sure, toners are not all that bad, and they definitely serve a purpose. However, their purposes are sometimes a tad too specific, and people often misuse or misunderstand the purpose of a toner. Which, as you can imagine, leads to less than ideal effects.
The main thing to remember is that if you’re getting an expensive toner to get a “flawless complexion” or that magical, overused “radiant skin”, it won’t work. You’ll only end up a bit poorer and a bit more disappointed in life. To avoid that scenario, you need to be very specific about what exactly your skin needs, and pick a toner designed specifically for that. For example, a toner that offers some extra, quick moisture isn’t going to work well for your mild exfoliation needs, and vice versa.
And did we mention that toners are hardly a necessary part of skincare routines? You’ll do just fine with a cleanser, a moisturizer, the occasional exfoliation and some sunscreen.
In short - if your skin ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
But what if you really wanted to use toners? As we said, toners contain strong ingredients, like alcohols or heavy oils, that can prove troublesome for people with sensitive skin. If you really want to use a toner, you should do some homework, and learn about its ingredients. It is then, and only then, that you will be able to put skin toners to good use.
In the meantime, why not get yourself a quality serum? Especially so if you’re looking into anti-aging effects, which some serums excel at. Anti-aging serums usually pack a huge, and diverse amount of antioxidants, making your skin repair itself faster, and gaining a healthy, youthful look.
But besides anti-aging serums, the market offers a lot more variety when it comes to skincare. For example, if you’re interested in evening out your skin tone, you’ll find the appropriate serums that will help with that too.
You’ve seen all the advertisements, and the tons of “experts” praising this new product, or that new product. But the reality is that every expert who’s involved in advertising a skincare product will be very motivated to skew things a bit and contribute to the hype. After all, they are getting paid, and the company is in it (well, mostly) for the money. But you know all those super pricey moisturizers, sunscreens, washes, retinoids and so on and on?
They’re not worth it. Because most of their formula is actually identical to your ordinary, affordable, over-the-counter skincare product that you can get in your local drugstore for cheap. In fact, if you visit an honest dermatologist, they will almost always discourage you from going for the most expensive brands and products.
Because? Because there are tons of cheaper skincare products that can do the same that elitist face wash can do, but at a fraction of the cost. If you want a rich, and effective skincare product, then go for a serum. Serums, as we mentioned, contain high concentrations of active ingredients that help the skin like peptides, antioxidants, and other growth factors. Additionally, one thing you should never skip on is a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen. Cloudy or not, the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays damage our skin cells, which makes sunscreen a “must” when it comes to skincare products.
Collagen is one of the most prevalent protein types in our body. According to some estimates, a full one-third of our entire body protein consists of collagen. And yes, a huge amount of that is stored inside your skin.
So the question then needs to be asked - if a third of my body’s protein amount is made up of collagen… What’s the use if I rub some collagen over my skin?
If you’ve raised your eyebrows and the question gave you pause, we can’t blame you. The truth is that collagen… cannot be resorbed by our skin. It will just sit there, and in time, dissipate. But your skin can’t make use of collagen even if you took a swim inside a collagen ocean. Sure, the slick, oily nature of the ingredient will make your skin smoother and slicker for a while, but it won’t actually repair your skin or be used by your body.
This is because the molecular structure of collagen is kinda large. Being a large molecule, it cannot “squeeze itself” inside, in-between your skin cells, and make itself useful. However, despite this handicap, some scientists observe some minor beneficial effects from using topical collagen - it increases our own skin’s collagen production.
The hypothesis, for now, is that somehow, the collagen molecules that are applied over the skin, give off chemical signals to the deeper layers of our skin that make it start producing more collagen. While the exact cause behind these benefits is unknown, the collagen, on its own, doesn’t get absorbed, or used up, by our skin.
And the oral supplements of collagen aren’t much better. The reality is that while our body and skin need collagen and elastin, it creates its own. So this is what happens after you ingest collagen supplements - your body breaks it down, and builds it back again. And while taking collagen supplements will surely help some people (especially those who need bone healing and suffer from joint pains), it won’t help the skin much. Or not at all, really. Unless, that is, you just crawled back from the desert and you’re so dehydrated that your body began devouring its own collagen supplies from in between your skin cells. And that’s… Well, an unlikely scenario.
So, if you want to save money - don’t waste it on topical collagen products, or collagen supplements. Your skin just isn’t receiving the benefits, and that money can be better used elsewhere.
Exfoliating scrub brushes are all over the market, unlike the research supporting their usefulness. To be sure, what evidence there is is too scarce and tangential, but that hasn’t stop tons of beauty companies from coming up with their own “ingenious” designs for exfoliating scrubbing brushes, each more expensive than the other. Sometimes, the cost of a single exfoliating scrubbing brush can get well into the hundreds of dollars.
So what gives? Well, for one, if you’re curious and have the money, go ahead and burn it. But, if you’d like to put some money on the side and exfoliate your skin, there are hundreds of other ways to do it. Just get yourself a trusty, time-tested exfoliator, or any chemical scrub that works well for you.
If a product promises that - it’s a sham. There is no cure for stretch marks, because the factors that cause one’s skin to stretch well over it’s tolerance levels are mostly internal. Stretch marks, for all their notoriety, are exceptionally normal and natural. They occur whenever our body increases its volume too quickly, making it difficult for our skin to adapt and stretch accordingly. Often, this is due to a weight gain (if you decided to forget all about that beach body), and it’s almost always the case during pregnancy.
Now, sure, we have to be honest and admit that some creams, gels, or ointments will make your skin a tad more elastic, or a tad more tightened, thereby reducing the appearance of the stretch marks. Additionally, some products aimed at reducing stretch marks also work by bleaching the affected areas of the skin. By making your stretch marks lighter, or darker, than the surrounding area, they make them less visible, less noticeable. But, there is no skincare product that can make stretch marks go away. Be wise and use your money elsewhere - you’ll be happier for it.
You know, lately, there’s a trend that suggests that the ordinary ways to remove your makeup aren’t enough. You need a specialized makeup removal product after you’ve cleaned your makeup too. To be sure, while the benefits of specialized makeup removers aren’t completely nonexistent, the truth is that they’re not really that necessary. At least, not as necessary as going out of your way to buy them.
But what is the alternative, you may wonder? Well, coming from the perspective of dermatology, a quality cleanser can do the same - and more, than some of the most hyped-up makeup removers. This is because good cleansers are not designed to merely clean your face from random dirt, excess skin oil and whatever else stuck on your face during the day. Cleansers are designed to remove any traces of makeup from your face too.
So, instead of paying twice, for two products, your best bet is to just get your hands on a mild, quality cleanser. It will remove your makeup, and clean your face from everything else too. Unlike that expensive makeup remover product that will only remove the makeup but leave everything else in place. Not to mention that cleansers, in general, offer additional benefits for the health of your skin as well.
Welcome to the age of ubiquitous internet, where everything is a recurring service that you pay for online. Inspired by the likes of Netflix and other streaming, or even gaming services, skincare and cosmetics companies now offer “subscription lines”, where you are charged montly, or yearly, for a steady supply of a chosen assortment of skincare and beauty products.
But is it really necessary? Actually, let me rephrase that - do you watch all the movies and TV shows available on your online catalog? Do you play all the games you get for free when you subscribe to your favorite, major video games publisher? Do you read all the books you buy…?
I’ll risk it and say that no, you do not. And it’s very much the same with those subscriptions that skincare companies now offer. Sure, you will get ten bottles of your favorite cleansers, moisturizers, and whatever else you’ve ordered right at your doorstep, every month. But can you use all of that?
Will you even need to use all of that?
Our skin being what it is - i.e. the largest organ of our body - it often has a mind of its own, and is reflective of our general health and well being. Just because you needed tons of moisturizer in July, it doesn’t mean that you’ll need the same amount in October.
And don’t even get me started on getting stuck with one, or a few, pre-selected product lines. Are you sure that the products you’ve subscribed to will definitely be the ones you will want, or need to be using several months down the line? A fresh, new promotion of a brand new skincare product from a competing skincare company will disrupt any sense in your current skincare subscription program. And not to mention that these skincare subscription lines often come at a rather hefty price.
Here’s the deal - always try to equip yourself with the products you actually need. While skincare, beauty, and cosmetics companies will try to entice you with a “generous” 10% or 15% discount on all products if you purchase a subscription, it’s a marketing gimmick designed to make you pay.
You won’t be able to use all those products, and you won’t need to. And the truth is that, after a while, you probably won’t even want to. So, take stock of what your skin currently needs, and purchase that. A $20 moisturizer will serve you better than a $150 package of a dozen skincare products you will rarely ever use.
At the risk of repeating the same, tired point too many times, advertisements are often very far from the truth. Skincare companies will say whatever they need to say in order to sell their merchandise. But while a bit of embellishment is useful in regards to motivating the buyer, and grounding the product in a necessary context, going completely off the rails with extraordinary claims is a red flag.
It’s how things work. But, you don’t need to necessarily go with the flow and be taken in the flashy lights of a brand new product’s marketing campaign. If you suspect you have a problem with your skin, the wisest thing you can do is see a dermatologist first. Hell, see several dermatologists. Consulting the relevant medical professionals will provide you with the most objective information on what you’re dealing with. And objective information is what helps us make informed decisions.
In some cases, what you thought was your skin’s problem, may turn out to be something else. And in other cases, whatever the problem may be can even be remedied by introducing small changes in your hygiene routine or lifestyle habits. By heeding a dermatologist’s opinion, you won’t just save money by not buying skincare products that won’t do much for your skin, but you’ll also become equipped with some extra, precious knowledge about your skin.
Cosmetics isn’t a billion-dollar industry for nothing. It grew to that immense size thanks to, flashy advertising, overblown claims, and selling false hope, among other things. While that’s not the case with every company, or every skincare product out there, it is definitely the case with enough of the industry and your reservations are justified.
Not everything that shines is skincare gold, so, buyer beware.
But I bet you’ve already bought and tried a number of them - and even pricey ones - to know the truth. No worries though, because I’ve gone through the same. A friend in need is a friend indeed, but when it comes to skincare products, the industry, and the market, are filled with… Well, less than perfect friends.
Or just simply fake friends. The fact of the matter is that research doesn’t back up the effectiveness of any of these anti-cellulite creams. At most, they’ll do the same that a moisturizer will do, or some other skin nourishing cream. But will it get rid of cellulite? No, it won’t.
The problem with cellulite is that it’s almost exclusively the consequence of internal bodily processes. Sometimes, the root cause is the diet. But as we all know, you can follow a very healthy, even strict diet, and you can still have cellulite. Lifestyle changes can be the cause behind it too, since burning those subcutaneous layers of fat can reduce the problem and tighten your skin, but even then, some areas of your body will still have cellulite.
Why? Because it’s just how our bodies work. And there is no miracle cellulite cream that will modify our genetics, change our lifestyles, or discipline our diet. Your skin will definitely gain some benefits from those cellulite creams, but the bottom line is that the cellulite will remain mostly untouched. So, count to ten, and maybe consult a dermatologist about it. You may be surprised if you discover that following their advice may be more helpful in getting rid of cellulite than merely dishing out a large sum of money for that latest miracle cellulite cream.
Especially so if you’re a person with oily skin. See, skin types are crucial when it comes to selecting the proper products for your skin. Devising a skincare routine, and following it, will be determined by the type of skin you have. A person with oily skin needs a different skincare routine than a person with the combination skin type, sensitive skin, or dry skin. There are five skin types, and each of those requires some special care, and using the appropriate products and skincare routines for your skin.
Which brings us to cleansing oils. Just who are they appropriate for? Well, although they can be beneficial for people with dry skin, the costs can easily outweigh the benefits. See, the problem with most oils is that they are very prone to clogging your pores. And once a pore becomes clogged, it progresses to whiteheads, or blackheads, which in turn can easily turn into acne. And as we all know a bit too well, getting rid of acne can be exceptionally difficult, and the acne itself can be due to many different causes. And if you’re wondering why you’re suddenly finding yourself having to deal with an unexpected bout of acne, using a cleansing oil just might be the culprit.
Why? Well, while cleansing oils are recently a very popular trend in skincare, the fact remains that they can clog our pores. In other words, using cleansing oils can even give acne-free people with dry skin some little needed taste of acne.
This is especially bad for people who already have acne-prone skin, have to deal with the challenges of combination skin, or are trying to get their oily skin under control. Dermatologists call substances that can clog our skin “comedogenic.” The phrase comes from the word comedo, which is science-speak for a clogged pore.
So, if you want to avoid ending up with clogged pores, or the sudden onset of acne inflammation, better save your money. Or - invest them into a safer, ideally noncomedogenic, or less comedogenic skincare product.
And as is always the case - better safe than sorry. If you have any doubts about what your skin type is, or what it really needs, your best course of action is to visit your dermatologist.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne or another type of skin disorder or condition, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.