The skincare products you're absolutely wasting your time and money on. Sorry.

When it comes to skincare, the messages regarding what we should and shouldn’t be doing with our skin are as mixed as a bag of your favourite lollies.

Do we need to be spending money? Do we need to put on 100 different creams to make sure our skin shines?

We have no freaking idea. We’re confused. We’re always confused. So, we enlisted the help of skin doctor, Dr Douglas Grose, the President of Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia and asked him, of all the products we’re buying what’s the biggest waste of time?

Dr Grose told Mamamia before we touched on the stuff that’s no good, let’s ensure we know what works.

“There are products which do benefit the skin that have been well researched. Amongst these are the vitamin A derivatives such as retinol, antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E or alpha lipoic acid, fruit acids such as glycolic and lactic acid, some minerals such as zinc and copper and some peptides.”

He also added the most simple regimes are the best, encouraging us to ensure we’re doing the following:

1. Clean the skin at least once or twice a day
2. Protect skin from the sun every day with sunscreen on all exposed skin
3. Gently remove dead skin cells and debris from the skin every day – exfoliate
4. Moisturise if the skin is dry

And now for the stuff you’re wasting your dollars on.

Listen: Zoe Foster Blake’s beauty advice for busy women. (Post continues…)

1. Toners

“Toners are generally useless. Most toners are astringents containing alcohol in one form or another which acts as a solvent and removes oil from the skin. This makes the skin feel dry and tight, encouraging the use of a moisturiser to replace the lost natural skin oils the toner removed!” Dr Grose says.


“Some toners called bracers or fresheners contain other ingredients to moisturise the skin such as glycerine but that makes them into moisturisers, not toners. If a toner is advertised as being alcohol free then it is a moisturiser, not a toner. Only people with very oily acne prone skin benefit from toners and there are quite low cost versions of alcohol based skin wipes available for that purpose.”

2. You don’t need a moisturiser if you’re using sunscreen

“Applying a skin moisturiser in the morning that does not contain a sunscreen, or first applying a moisturiser, then a sunscreen over the top, is completely unnecessary. Any cream or lotion based sunscreen will also act as a moisturiser. The ‘feel’ of a product on the skin is very important and is part of the formulation process. For sunscreens to work they must form a film on the skin which some people do not like the feel of. Keep trying different ones until you find the one you like the feel of. There are many daily use sunscreens available now which also form an excellent base for makeup.”

3. Anything that costs more than you can afford

“If the skin care product has a price tag somewhere near the monthly mortgage repayment on your home then put the money on the mortgage not on the product. Price of the product is not a reflection on whether it works but more on the packaging and marketing strategy of the manufacturer. The major cost of skin care products is generally not the ingredients but rather the packaging, advertising, distribution and retail mark-up. Something like 90 per cent of the cost comes from these ingredient unrelated areas. If possible, check if there is any proper scientific research done on the product or the active ingredient.”


4. The things that purport to be ‘natural’

“The most overused marketing word to get your hard earned dollar is the word ‘natural.’ In the USA there is no legal definition of ‘natural’ skin care products which means unscrupulous companies can use the term without any basis to actually being natural.

“Generally ‘natural’ means that the ingredients have been extracted from a natural product such as fruit, plants or vegetables. However, some of these natural products are animal sourced such as beeswax but they also contain stabilisers (emulsifiers), preservatives and other non-nature sourced chemicals. The term natural does not in any way imply either safety or effectiveness of the product.”

Dr Douglas Grose is the President of Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia.

The CPCA, which formed in 2014, is the leading representative body for medical practitioners practicing non- or minimally-invasive cosmetic medical treatments in Australasia.  The Collegeprovides education, training and ethical practice standards for its Fellows and Members who are required to have relevant training and experience as prerequisites for admission to the College.  Members are also required to keep abreast of the most up-to-date, relevant information and latest medical and scientific advances

Overall, the key role of the CPCA is to develop and maintain the highest standards in cosmetic medicine, which helps safeguard the public.