Time to spring-clean your skincare routine — here are 5 products you can toss right now, according to dermatologists

Time to spring-clean your skincare routine — here are 5 products you can toss right now, according to dermatologists
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  • Not all skincare products are actually necessary or hugely effective.
  • We asked two dermatologists which items they think are overrated and not worth the money.

Go on TikTok or Instagram, and you're sure to find claims of skincare "must-haves" — the alleged secret sauces to achieving glowy, bouncy skin.

But lately, many users are abandoning extraneous routines for simpler ones, following dermatologists' advice to keep regimens to 3-5 high-quality items. If anything, piling on products can cause breakouts or irritation, especially if you're trying to make the most out of an expensive (but now expired) impulse eye cream purchase.

So, in the spirit of skincare spring cleaning, we asked Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, a board-certified dermatologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, what we need to let go of.

Chuck creams that claim to be "skin tightening"

Beyond any other product, Rokhsar expressed the most skepticism towards any skincare products that promise instantaneous "tightening" effects, whether for your face, neck, hands, or chest.

According to Rokhsar, the concept is "complete nonsense" because even prescription-based retinoids take years of consistent use to give your skin a younger, tighter look. That's why, if you're looking for tighter-feeling skin, playing the long game and applying retinoids (while also doing the basics of using sunscreen and moisturizer) is your best bet.


Reduce the number of serums you use

While serums like niacinamide (vitamin B3) and hyaluronic acid have rejuvenating benefits, they're a bit overhyped, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Associate Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital.

He told Insider that products like hyaluronic acid can plump the skin, but are not necessary parts of a solid skincare routine. "A traditional moisturizer certainly gets the job done," he added. Plus, the more products you use, the more likely you are to experience breakouts and irritation.

According to him, the must-have anti-aging ingredients are vitamin C and retinol, which already increase cell turnover and boost collagen on their own.

Skip toner if you don't have oily skin

Toners and face mists are often incorporated into daily routines because they can instantly make skin less shiny.

"I stand by toners only if you have oily skin," Rokhsar said. "Otherwise, I don't think there's a reason to use toners." According to him, those with very oily, acne-prone skin can benefit from the drying effects of a toner. Everyone else won't feel much of a difference in the long run.


If you have normal or dry skin, you can still use toners if you want — facial sprays can feel refreshing and pleasant! — but if you're looking to vote one daily item off the island, start here.

Ditch mechanical exfoliants for chemical ones

Mechanical cleansers tend to have a gritty texture and physically scrape off dead skin cells, which can feel satisfying and effective for some people, Rokhsar noted. Zeicher said that they're most useful "if you have to remove heavy makeup or soiling from the skin," but are unnecessary in most cases.

The biggest risk of using mechanical cleansers is the damage they can do to many different skin types.

Those with sensitive skin or rosacea can feel greater irritation, and those with darker skin tones can experience hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. For that reason, chemical exfoliants are preferred because they use acids to naturally unclog pores.

Trade your derma roller for a microneedling session if you have deep acne scars

Derma rollers feature tiny needles that create micro wounds, ushering in the growth of new skin cells. Many see them as an affordable alternative to in-office microneedling sessions (which can cost hundreds of dollars), but for safety reasons, the needles won't penetrate your skin that deeply.


According to Zeichner, derma rollers can still "improve skin radiance and even skin tone." However, if you want to address issues like raised acne scars or deep wrinkles, only a professional session (and likely multiple) will make a difference.