Skincare Frenemies: Beauty Treatments You Shouldn't Get At the Same Time

September 1, 2016
By Meagan Morris
header image

Retinol + Waxing

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that is used in a ton of anti-aging skincare products because it quickly turns over skin cells. It's helpful, but it also thins the top layer of skin, called the stratum corneum, so it shouldn't be used before you wax your face.

"If the retinol is not stopped within about a week of a waxing appointment, the top layers of thinned skin are easily removed, leading to redness, and in extreme instances, bleeding or scabbing," says Dr. Palm.


If that happens, a dermatologist can prescribe topic steroids and the healing cream Biafine to soothe and heal your skin.

Shaving + Pedicures

Smooth, just-shaved skin is fun to touch, but you probably don't realize that even the most careful of shaves can produce tiny cuts in the skin—cuts that let in dangerous bacteria if you get a pedicure in an improperly sanitized tub.

"Legs should be shaved the day before getting your toes beautified with a pedicure," advises Dr. Palm. "If legs are shaved on the same day, the razor may cause micro-fissures in the skin that can act as an entry way to bacteria, leading to problems like folliculitis or rare bacterial infections called mycobacteria."

And it does happen: One Arkansas woman developed painful cellulitis after a recent pedicure, leaving her hospitalized. "It feels like you're sitting too close to a fire and you just cannot get away from it, that's the way it feels," she told a local news station in February.

Facial + Eyelash Extensions

This one isn't so much dangerous for your health, but it can lead to wasted money and time if you do one right after the other.

"The cream-based cleansers and emollient-based facial products used to pamper your skin during a facial—including around the eye area—can leave a residue that is great for your skin, but not at all ideal for the adhesives used in eyelash extensions," advises Dr. Palm.

Chemical Peels + Clairsonic Brush

Stubborn acne can benefit from salicylic and beta-hydroxy acid peels—and reduce scars and discoloration—but you shouldn't use your Clairsonic cleansing brush for a few days afterward.

"The skin after the peel is sensitive, and the brush, although normally great even in sensitive skin, may be irritating in the days following the peel," says Dr. Palm.

Citrus-Based Scrub + Tanning

Lemon- and orange-based body scrubs can leave the skin feeling (and smelling) amazing, but the citrus juice can cause a photosensitive reaction if you go into the sunlight right afterward. Instead, "protect your skin by seeking shade to avoid streaky hyper-pigmentation from the offending fruits or plants," says Dr. Palm.

Explore these collections: