Useless Beauty ProductsFrom expensive anti-aging creams and lotions that target specific areas of your body, here are eight of the most useless beauty products on the market.
1. Bust, elbow and foot lotions
Unless you have a skin condition, the same body moisturizer can be used on your entire body -- so forget specific creams designed for the décolletage, elbows or feet. "The same moisturizing cream that works on one area of the body should work on another area -- you don't need to have different creams for different areas. It's fine if you don't mind and have the money to spend on different creams but in the end you can get by with a good moisturizer," says Dr. Arash Akhavan, a NY-based dermatologist specializing in general and cosmetic dermatology.
2. Neck cream
Most doctors agree that neck cream is a waste of money. However, that doesn't mean you should apply body lotion to your neck. "Face, neck and eye creams are similar," Akhavan says. "Treat the skin on the neck the same as the face. It's all very delicate, thin skin." Similarly, body moisturizer is too thick for the face and neck and may clog pores, he says; so only use body moisturizer on the body -- or below the neck.
3. Expensive anti-aging creams
Spending big bucks does not guarantee better results with anti-aging creams. The most important thing here is to make sure your anti-aging topical cream contains proven ingredients like retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, alpha hydroxy acids or antioxidants. "These are active ingredients that will leave you with lasting benefits," Akhavan says. "Some of the most popular creams you buy in department stores are nothing more than fancy repackaged moisturizers. You have to be careful what you buy and make sure there's some data behind what you're using."
Many beauty companies tout toners as necessary to clean the skin and prepare it for moisturizer. The reality? "Most people don't need toners," Akhavan says. "Toners don't accomplish much more than what you get from a good decent cleanser. It's a useless product. Cleanse and then use a moisturizer with a sunscreen during the day. Keeping it simple is often the best thing you can do."
5. High-number sun protection
A sun protection factor, or SPF, over 30 does not guarantee that much more sun protection. The key to an effective sunscreen is to look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, Akhavan says. "The most important things with sunscreen is putting on enough and remembering to reapply once every hour or two and after sweating or getting wet," he says. "But the SPF number itself is not the thing to obsess over."
6. Body scrub
Contrary to what spas and beauty companies may want you to believe, body scrubs are unnecessary for most people. "The body is designed to naturally exfoliate itself," Akhavan says. "There are certain [skin] conditions when I recommend buying special exfoliators. You would know if you have this, like bumps or some sort of skin abnormality. I recommend seeing a dermatologist to find the right way to exfoliate."
7. Cellulite cream
Drugstores and department stores sell a lot of sculpting body lotions that claim to reduce cellulite. The truth? There is no miracle cure for these cottage cheese-like bumps. However if you're looking for temporary relief -- say for a beach getaway -- you may be happy with the slight improvement these creams provide. "[Cellulite creams] often contain ingredients that cause a minor swelling in the skin so they mask the appearance of cellulite while you're using them," Akhavan says. "Once you stop using the cream, do the benefits last? No way. There is no true reduction in cellulite unfortunately. There are certain surgical procedures that can help improve the appearance but there is no solution to get rid of cellulite as of yet."
8. Lip exfoliator
Beauty companies make lip exfoliators, often made with sugar and oil, to slough away dry skin on the mouth. The doctor's take? Totally pointless. "The lip has been designed to exfoliate itself," Akhavan says. "The most important thing is to maintain moisture on your lips and not forget UVA/UVB protection. People in general get obsessed with exfoliating. It's a step the body takes care of on its own."
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