The Most Overrated Skincare Products, According to Dermatologists
Stop wasting your money. You can totally ditch these nine items from your skincare routine.
If you’re anything like me, the sheer number of skincare products that TikTokers and celebs have declared you must have is overwhelming, not to mention expensive. For a year, I dutifully followed a multi-step nighttime routine with all sorts of cleansers, toners, serums, and anti-aging creams. Daily sheet masks were just a given.
But, as it turns out, dermatologists recommend a “less is more” approach when it comes to your skincare regimen. I spoke to experts about the most overrated skincare products. They broke down how, at best, these items do nothing for your skin and, at worst, they can actually cause harm and irritation, and interfere with its natural barriers.
Here are nine skincare products that you totally don’t need in your routine.
RELATED: 30 Best Zodiac Tattoo Ideas
“While they may appear to be useful, some wipes might really cause more harm than good,” says Dr. Alpana Mohta, a dermatologist. She explains that the wipes contain harsh chemicals and preservatives that can strip the skin of its natural oils and disturb its natural barrier function. This can cause dryness, irritation, and even acne outbreaks.
Instead, Dr. Mohta emphasizes the importance of a gentle and effective cleansing routine.
“A basic cleansing routine using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser and lukewarm water is often sufficient for removing makeup and daily grime,” she says. If you wear heavy or waterproof makeup, Dr. Mohta says double cleansing is effective. “This involves using an oil-based cleanser to dissolve makeup, followed by a gentle water-based cleanser to remove any remaining residue,” she explains.
Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed, MBChB, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Power Your Curls, says that although facial oils can be beneficial for dry skin, they’re not for everyone.
“Oils can clog pores and cause breakouts, especially for those with acne-prone or oily skin,” Dr. Hamed explains. Instead, he recommends using a non-comedogenic moisturizer.
Although sheet masks are a fun and relaxing addition to your skincare routine, Dr. Hamed says they don’t provide any long-term benefits. “In my experience, sheet masks can be overpriced and don’t offer any advantages over traditional masks or serums,” he says.
“Many eye creams claim to reduce the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles, but most of them don’t deliver significant results,” says Dr. Hamed. “These products are often overpriced, and the same benefits can be achieved with a good-quality moisturizer or sunscreen.”
Nose strips are popular for eliminating blackheads, but Dr. Mohta says they may also be overused. She explains that although they can provide temporary relief by eliminating surface-level debris and oil from the nose, “they do not address the underlying causes of blackheads, which are usually associated with increased oil production and plugged pores.”
Dr. Mohta adds that repeated use of nose strips can cause skin irritation and even injury, especially if they’re not applied properly or are left on for extended periods of time. “Instead of using nose strips, I recommend introducing a moderate, non-abrasive exfoliating product into your skincare routine, such as a salicylic acid or glycolic acid-based cleanser,” she advises.
Dr. HariKiran Chekuri, dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and the medical head of ClinicSpots, says that despite their popularity, “skin cleansing brushes really don’t do much more than regular washing can do.”
Dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara says that, although charcoal masks may look cool on Instagram, they’re not doing much else in terms of skincare. “Charcoal has no special powers when it comes to deep cleansing or treating acne — the same goes for any other mask claiming it can draw out dirt or impurities,” Dr. Gohara explains.
Dr. Mohta says that expensive moisturizers claiming to offer anti-aging properties are another overblown product she frequently encounters. “While moisturizers are vital for keeping the skin hydrated, many high-end creams contain chemicals that are not supported by scientific study and are merely marketing ploys,” she says.
Instead, Dr. Mohta recommends using a basic, inexpensive moisturizer that contains components like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to help preserve the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
“While physical exfoliants like scrubs and brushes can help to remove dead skin cells, they can also be harsh on the skin and cause irritation or inflammation,” says Dr. Hamed.
Instead, he recommends chemical exfoliants including AHAs (like glycolic or lactic acid) and BHAs (such as salicylic acid), explaining that they’re a better option because they’re gentler and more effective at promoting skin renewal.