6 Beauty Treatments Experts Say You Should Never Do Yourself
As much as we may want to take it upon ourselves, the fact of the matter is there are some ventures worth waiting for. Here's what you shouldn't do yourself, no questions asked:
This is the big one: "Please, do not do any facial surgery," pleads board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD. (Meaning, extractions on blackheads, whiteheads, or major cystic pimples.) There's a very good reason extractions remain an in-office procedure; when they're not performed correctly, you can unknowingly transfer the bacteria in your blemishes to other parts of the face, causing even more pimples to pop up, according to licensed esthetician Samantha Proano, regional educator at BABOR. And if they're performed too aggressively, it can lead to pigmentation, acne scars, even skin infections if you aren't careful.
There are plenty of other remedies to try before attacking a pimple; Ciraldo suggests using exfoliating products, like ones with glycolic acid, to clear blemishes. It might not be as instantaneous, but it'll likely fare better for your skin in the long run. And who cares? You're not seeing anyone in the interim.
Trimming your cuticles
Cuticle care is important: Leave them frayed, and you can expect cracked, dry nail beds, not to mention a risk of infection if any inflammation is left untreated. However, the answer isn't to simply uproot them: "These represent the root of the nail," says Ciraldo. "If you're not a professional manicurist, trimming can cause the nail to grow out with a defect."
Instead of reaching for the cuticle cutters, opt for a moisturizing oil instead—even a proper carrier oil or fast-absorbing hair oil will do the trick. It'll condition your nail beds and leave them nourished without causing any more damage.
Dyeing your hair with henna
Henna is a popular all-natural hair dye option, but hairstylists actually recommend avoiding this permanent dye altogether. Why? Because the emphasis is definitely on permanent. It's incredibly difficult to lift out of your hair, and you can't layer any chemical dyes over it later on (it can cause a chemical reaction where your hair may literally start to smoke).
"I wouldn't attempt it if you ever want to change your color again, unless you're willing to cut it out," mentions hairstylist Sal Misseri, owner of Chicago's Reverie Salon. If you want to touch up your roots or play with at-home hair color, you'll be better off trying some of the cleaner options on the market or waiting for the salon chair if you can.
Similar to extracting pimples on your face, trying to squeeze an ingrown hair can result in infection if not done properly. Instead, tend to the ingrown with a gentle exfoliant; BHA or AHAs, may be useful. "It helps dry out the angry bump and exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin to open the blocked pore," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., tells us about treating ingrown hairs.
And on the nail front, don't try to extract ingrown toenails, either. Like facial surgery, you should avoid "bathroom surgery" at all costs: "This can lead to infection and even more serious complications if the person has underlying medical issues, such as diabetes or poor circulation," podiatrist Greg Cohen, DPM, FACFAS, warns about removing ingrown toenails.
Too many chemical peels
Exfoliating is great but to an extent: "I think overexfoliating is the worst mistake I see repeatedly," says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care. "We really need to understand that the skin can only take so much of that stuff."
You don't have to run to a professional every time you want to apply an exfoliating serum or mask, but know your limits. "I see time and again women who come in with red, inflamed skin who think they need more peels and microdermabrasion," Vargas explains. "The skin thins over time with all of that, and once you reach the point of inflammation, you really can't expect anything good to result."
Even if you're itching to become an impromptu stylist or esthetician for the day, steer clear of any "surgeries" or treatments that cannot be easily reversed, as these may do more harm than good in the long run. That's not to say you can't have fun with beauty during this time: To satisfy your beauty itch, perhaps play around with some of the more low-stakes projects. You'll have fun with your look and keep your derms and stylists happy.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.