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6 Skin Care Steps You Can Totally Skip, According to Derms

Like, do we really need serums? What about exfoliation? Here, derms tell us how to chill
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Everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to maintain a healthy glow. While your mother might swear by a serum she's been using for a decade, your best friend will nag if you're not following the step-by-step regimen she recently discovered on Instagram. With so many recommended products and so-called "sanctioned" advice on skin care, how do we know what to follow and what to ignore?

Dermatologist Janet H. Prystowsky, MD, PC has a tried-and-true logic when it comes to routines: keep it simple. "I get that everyone has 12 rules for life lately. But I don't think you need 12 rules to take care of your skin," she says. Everyone's skin care needs are different, dependent on the condition of your pores, your level of sensitivity and other factors, but generally speaking, Prystowsky says it's better to minimize the number of products we use daily. For most, washing your face twice daily with a mild cleanser and wearing a solid moisturizer with SPF is the best foundation. From there, you can add on, but only if you battle skin issues or want to correct certain ailments. The best route is always to talk to your dermatologist who can offer catered care to your specific needs.

So what can you relax about? Read on for six skin care steps top dermatologists say are completely optional.

Image via Imaxtree

Cover image via Getty

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Botox, retinoids — you name it
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Papri Sarkar says sometimes patients anxiously come into her office, nervous they're already "X years old" and haven't started all of the anti-aging treatments they've read about in magazines — from Botox and retinoids and beyond. While we're lucky to live in a time of ample information, the truth is that everyone's skin is different. And while your sister might swear by injectables as early as age 26, it's more important to consider your goals for your pores before going down any route.

As Sarkar says, it's smarter to take an honest stock of your life and see how much time and energy (and, ahem, money) you have and want to spend on your skin care. "If you're someone who wants a 20-step routine and has the time for it — great. If you only have time for two things every day, no problem. You can do that too." Before you buy a shelf-full of products or sign up for that Botox party you were invited to, Sarkar suggests seeing a trusted derm who can carve out an anti-aging plan that you're comfortable with — and can afford.

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Post-summer days or during an intense breakout, plenty of Google searches will demand you exfoliate your pores... yesterday. Prystowsky says all that scrubbing could have the opposite impact, especially for folks who struggle with consistent zits. "When people have acne and blemishes, they tend to overuse soap and scrub their skin harshly, thinking they have 'dirty' skin. In reality, it's our natural oily/acidic skin barrier that protects us from skin infections, so when people overdo the cleansing and scrubbing, they end up doing much more harm than good," she explains.

The same goes for aggressively drying off with your towel and using exfoliating scrubs — both of which aggravate your indecisive pores. If using a gentle cleanser twice a day doesn't work to clear your skin, Prystowsky says it is smarter to use a spot topical acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide and allow the bumps to heal on their own timeline.

Image via Imaxtree

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Sheet masks
Unless you've boycotted Instagram, you're likely up to date on the sheet mask craze. From bubble and charcoal to K-beauty and J-beauty and others, many are not only using one mask but multimasking to solve every last beauty issue. Sarkar says that while these products are a great perk, they're definitely unnecessary in a regimen. Mostly because they are often used ineffectively compared to other options. "They take time and in order for them to be most effective should have a moisturizer or sealant applied afterward because most of them are serum-like. I wouldn't worry if you can't make this a regular part of your skin regimen," she says. Instead, stick to a mask you know works wonders for your specific skin and use it a few times a week, giving it time to build and transform your pores.

Image via Getty

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Eye creams
Of all the many questions Sarkar is asked, one of the biggest ones is about eye creams. Do they work to rid of dark circles? Keep you looking younger? Make your eyes more vibrant?

The honest answer? The verdict is still out, and even Sarkar herself doesn't use an under-the-eye formula every day. "I generally make sure that when I use my cream with an active ingredient I apply some to that area too. If I'm worried about it being too harsh for my undereye area, I apply a moisturizer first and then layer on the active ingredient-containing cream or go to using it every other day in that area. That usually takes care of it for me," she says.

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