We all definitely do skin care things we shouldn’t. Not in the “Whoops, I didn’t wash my face” way, either—but in the “Oh, no, I’ve made a horrible mistake” way, when you accidentally destine yourself to long-lasting disaster. Two very different experiences, but if you’ve ever started picking a zit and come away with a gushing wound, you get it. The problem is, thanks to our one true love, the Internet, and our second true love, Sephora’s skin care section, it’s harder than ever to tell what’s within our quasifacialist capabilities.
We ask you: Who among us hasn’t watched a Dr. Pimple Popper video and thought, Yeah, I could express a juicy sucker? Who hasn’t stuck their face over boiling pasta water, in the grand tradition of opening your pores to have some fun? It’s human nature to want some control. But ugh, the repercussions when things go awry—not good. So we set out to learn our limits. Here, the top skin techniques you should really, truly leave to derms.
1. Picking Your Skin
We all knew this was coming but play it again, Hadley King, M.D.. “The biggest mistake I see is people picking at their acne. It really does create more problems than anything else,” says Dr. King, a dermatologist at New York’s Skinney Medspa. Alas, the hope that you’re maybe, potentially speeding up the healing process is a ruse.
According to Dr. King, picking almost always makes your zits worse, causing more inflammation and increasing the risk that they’ll get infected. And anytime there’s more inflammation, you also up the chances of scarring and discoloration—even if you think it’s small enough to sneak by, Dr. King says. “Even tiny blackhead and whiteheads, which you can sometimes get away with picking without causing big problems, you’re still traumatizing your skin.”