Just about every dermatologist I meet seems gifted with a preternaturally glowing, wrinkle-free complexion, and I don’t think that’s just because they get Botox at cost. Sure, dermatologists probably wear sunscreen and slather themselves with high-end moisturizers -- but could it be that what goes on their skin is just as important as what doesn’t?
We rounded up dermatologists to find out which products and ingredients they ban from their medicine cabinets, lest their secret fountains of youth become contaminated.
Sandalwood and tea tree oil
"If there’s one set of ingredients that dermatologists dislike, it’s those that are ‘natural’ but lead to allergies. Sandalwood is one of these, and tea tree oil, interestingly enough, is another. This doesn't mean that they are undesirable as a whole, but they do cause more than their share of mayhem in people who use them." -- Dr. Joel Schlessinger for RealSelf
Neosporin and Polysporin
"I hate Neosporin. It can cause severe allergic contact dermatitis in many people, and it can cause anaphylaxis in a small percentage of people. For most cuts and scrapes, all we need is soap and water and something to keep the area moisturized, like Vaseline, to help it heal. Patients should really only use topical antibiotic ointment if they have a skin injury that suddenly starts to get worse and has redness, pain, oozing, and pus." -- Dr. Kate Holcomb, board-certified dermatologist at Lupo Center
"I don’t keep Polysporin, or any over-the-counter microbial cream, in my medicine cabinet or house. Two of its main ingredients, bacitracin zinc and gramicidin, are highly allergenic... Our skin is very sensitive, and people can develop an allergy to bacitracin zinc and gramicidin slowly, over time, and they might not even notice. The initial allergic reaction is often delayed, sometimes up to a week, so patients don’t make the connection. Next time they use the product, symptoms such as red, itchy skin, eczematous, and weepy, swollen eyes set in faster and worse than before." -- Dr. Jillian Macdonald, dermatologist and co-founder of The Ottawa Clinic.