Discover beauty through professional reviews

(Available in USA only)
NOW READING These Are the 5 Things an Esthetician Never Wants You To Do
May 15, 2018

These Are the 5 Things an Esthetician Never Wants You To Do

There are certain things better left to a professional: changing the oil in your car, diagnosing that odd ache, and yes, extracting that ripe pimple. As tempting as the latter may be, take it from an esthetician — there are certain things you should never do to your skin.


There are just some things you should never do when it comes to your skin. Take it from an esthetician. We see a multitude of sins and the vast majority of them are parked right at the intersection of “I didn’t know!” and “But I thought that was OK!”


So I’m here to tell you: These 5 things are not OK. And now you know.


1. Don’t pick those spots


It is so tempting to squeeze a juicy zit — there’s even YouTube channels and subreddits dedicated to the art of popping. But please, if you can, refrain from going on a DIY Dr. Pimple Popper binge. I know you think that popping a zit will result in immediate relief of the problem, but 99.99% of the time you’re only going to make things worse. There are safer ways to do extractions, but even then it should be left to the hands and fingers of the professionals.


skincare ghost stories esthetician


Popping can make the zit worse in three distinct ways. Firstly by actually pushing the pus deeper into the skin, solidifying the infection. Secondly by causing inflammation and even burst capillaries in the surrounding skin. And thirdly you’ve now opened the door to more bacteria entering via the open hole you’ve left on your face.


If you see a whitehead, your best bet is to tackle it with a hydrocolloid dressing; it will suck the pus out with zero squeezing or skin trauma. It’s also just as satisfying to peel that sucker off in the morning and inspect all the glorious junk collected on the bandage. You might even find yourself proudly texting your bestie with a picture of it accompanied by the eyes emoji. 👀


2. Don’t “dry out” your acne


Did you know you can treat your acne without turning your face into the Atacama Desert (that’s the driest place on earth, worth a Google). While it may seem like drying your face out will help with those pesky pimples, it actually ends up causing more eruptions. Once your moisture barrier is gone, there’s nothing to protect your skin from the acne-causing bacteria proliferating. You need to keep that moisture barrier strong, to keep bacteria and any other unwanted guys out. If you’re on a particularly harsh anti-acne prescription course, take special care to keep your skin in well hydrated shape.


3. Do not tan


Ever. Not ever. Not even once. Not even “I need a base tan so I won’t burn this summer.” The hell you do! You know how you can not burn this summer? A healthy, consistent dose of sunscreen, long sleeves when you can tolerate it, hats, and quality sunglasses.




Trust me, it is so much easier to prevent sun damage than it is to treat it. Now that I’m into my 30s I am paying for my youthful ignorance about sun protection. Let me be your cautionary tale! Cover up always! Even cloudy days won’t save you from those rays.


4. Don’t scrub your face off


Look, I know you’ve been partial to that damn St Ives Apricot Scrub since high school, but it’s time to throw it in the garbage, sis. I know you think your skin is “just fine!” when you use it, but it’s really, really, not. Those sharp little nutshell bastards cause microscopic tears in the surface of your skin. Those tears are welcome mats for bacteria to enter and set up shop, like the gentrifiers in Brooklyn opening artisanal mayonnaise stores. Don’t let them in — they ruin everything!


You absolutely do not need to manually exfoliate every day. At the very absolutely most it should be once a week, and even then I don’t really recommend it. See my article on exfoliation for more.


5. Don’t sleep in your makeup


OMG. Please, please don’t! Look, I get it. You’re exhausted, you’ve just come in from a long day at work (or even just came home drunk from the club — I’ve been there), and you can’t imagine having the strength to stand at the sink and wash. Just push yourself and do it. You will not only feel a hundred times better afterward, you will be doing your skin a huge favor.

graveyard shift beauty esthetician


Sleeping in your makeup is horrible for your skin, and not for the old wives’ tale “your skin needs to breathe” reason either. It’s because it causes a proliferation of bacteria. The makeup also transfers onto your sheets and pillows, which then become a breeding ground for the same thing.


Just do a super quick version of your regular skincare if you’re running low on energy or f—ks to give. Makeup wipes, face wash, serum, lotion, bed. That’s less than three minutes! You can do it!


Have you ever done any of these esthetician no-no’s? Will you try to stop now, or is it too hard? Let’s talk about it!



Coco Park is an author, beauty journalist, blogger, podcast host, and all around oddball living in Montreal Quebec with her family. Originally from the southern USA, she worked for several years in the makeup industry as a professional makeup artist and holds a certificate in esthetics. She is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Want to know more? Check her out on the Beauty Beyond Basics podcast, on her blog, on Instagram @thebeautywolf, and in her book "Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup."



like the gentrifiers in Brooklyn opening artisanal mayonnaise stores. Don’t let them in — they ruin everything!

Hahahaha I'm dying. Also, great article. Sadly, I too was a victim of the St Ives scrub since my early teen years. Thankful to have learned better. Picking spots is SO hard not to do but those COSRX patches have been helping!

Yes, I also used that stupid St. Ives scrub for years! Getting rid of that scrub, as well as harsh, drying acne-treatment products, were the first changes I made when I started learning about proper skincare, and they made a big difference even before I started adding or replacing any other products!

The only one I have an issue with is picking spots. I know it's bad. But it's so satisfying...

Pimple patches are the best for me! Having something physically covering the spot reminds me every time I try to touch it that I need to stop lol

It's soooo hard not to pick spots. At least now I wait until I actually have a whitehead, though it's soooo hard to wait. I half satisfy my desire to pick by plying my pimple with the T'iam AHA swab in the 3-part mask. I go to town hoping to kill that pimple with that swab!

I have the same issue. It is so tempting to want to end the ugly bump, but we shouldn't, as you know. I try not to, but it sometimes overpowers me too. I use those round patches to cover them up and you really cannot see them so you can go out without someone noticing them.

My biggest problem is to "pick those spots." It's just so tempting!! But now I just use some Acne clear Invisible patches to a keep my hands away.

I have such regrets from my junior high school days of picking at these.

Guilty as charged 😓 (Except for tanning. I've always tanned super easily and I hated being in the sun, so I've always made a beeline for the shade at all costs, thank God.) Now I'm a K-beauty convert on a mission to evangelize, starting with my s/o. He just won't give up his Neutrogena grapefruit scrub! And he refuses to wear sunscreen. Send help.

I literally run from shaded spot to shaded spot all summer, I hate being in the sun for really long periods of time. I literally just nagged my s/o every day until he did it just to keep me quiet lol. THEY WILL THANK US LATER.

LOL!!! I totally do that too! When I'm waiting to cross the street, I've been known to stand in the shadow of the light pole

Literally that's my default standing area when waiting at a crosswalk even during the winter lol.

My s/o refuses to wear sunblock at all. I also spoke to my dermatologist about it and she said her s/o won't wear it either. So, if she can't get her s/o to wear it what hope is there for the rest of us? I think if there were a spray on sunblock that has no odor my s/o would use it, but he hates the process of having to put it on. So, sorry Ruth Kim, no help here.

I've thankfully gotten my s/o on board but was pretty receptive overall to my taking charge of his skincare routine. I think we're all basically in charge of our counterparts skin as well as ours lol

1, 2, 3, 4 & 5: Yup, done them all. 😭 Thank goodness for knowledge. And science. 😂

Same XD

I think the whole "dry out your pimples" thing something we need to leave behind in the 90's. Everything I've learned and read in recent years just talks about how drying out that outer layer of skin is bad news for everyone all around. Hydration and moisture people!