Product Types and Ingredients I Refuse to Purchase

There’s a whole lot of variety when it comes to skincare in Asian countries. A plethora of different steps and purposes, ranging from utilitarian to gimicky-yet-fun skincaretainment. Asia tends to walk on the wild side with ingredients as well, featuring snail mucus, horse oil, bee venom, and too many fruits, vegetables, and flowers to count.

I like to try a lot of things, and I love having a lot of steps in my routines. That said, there a few things you will probably never see me write about on this blog, and I thought it would be worth talking about what those things are and why I won’t buy them. Not everything here is strictly K-beauty territory, though, as Western products still have their no-nos.

Benzoyl Peroxide


Benzoyl peroxide is the only ingredient so far (touch wood) that has ever given me a bad reaction. Back when I still knew very little about my skin and its issues, I purchased a Clean&Clear Persagel 5, which is a 5% benzoyl peroxide spot treatment. I thought it would help with the little bumps I got constantly, because nothing else was working. I plan on talking more about this in an upcoming series about the variety of rosacea treatments that I’ve tried, but the gist of it is this: The morning after, every area where I had applied the spot treatment was bright red. No peeling, no irritation, no inflammation or swelling or breaking out or anything like that. It just flushed my skin like nothing else ever has, and only in the places where I used it. Like, there was a hard and distinct border around the flushed spots.

I washed the BP off and my skin returned to normal within the day, no lasting effects. I applied the cream to my inner elbow to see if it was an allergic reaction, and there was no flushing on my arm so it wasn’t that. My only guess is that it had some interaction with my rosacea that my skin wasn’t liking. I’ve thought about trying out BP again as a wash-off product, because maybe that would allow my skin to reap the benefits without the flushing reaction. The problem is that I don’t really have any benefits to reap from BP anymore: I never really had issues with acne, and the rosacea bumps I do have are now under control. So yeah. Bad reaction, and no reason to give any other BP product a try.

Mint/Menthol in Facial Products

Image result for queen helene

I used to have the well-loved Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque in my skincare arsenal, and I ended up throwing it away. I really hate the feeling on mint on my skin, as it feels a whole lot like burning. I much prefer a ‘cooling’ feeling to come from using layers of hydrating and moisturizing products, and using sheet masks to lower the temperature of my skin. It’s much more beneficial to my rosacea, as actual skin-cooling reduces my flushing.

Note that this only applies to products that go on my face. I like the smell of mint, and I don’t mind a minty feeling elsewhere, such as in a scalp or body product.

Pore Strips

I’ve used a few of these in the past as an attempt to reduce the pore size/visibility on my nose. Then I learned that using pore strips can actually damage the pores and worsen their appearance over time. They can stretch and pull the skin around the pores, making them bigger, more visible, and more easily gunked up. On top of that, the harshness of peeling them off can cause broken capillaries which can only be fixed with laser treatment.

Therefore, as satisfying as it is to see all the stuff they can pull out, pore strips are a no-go. That means anything that clears pores by essentially gluing to your skin and physically yanking crap out when you peel them off. There are far more gentle ways of cleaning your tiny face pockets.

Modelling Masks

Modeling Rubber Mask Sets

I’m a fan of masks in general, but holy jeez modelling masks look like exactly the opposite of fun for me.

You open up a tub of powder that you then have to mix carefully with a certain amount of water. Too much and the mask is too watery and impossible to apply. Too little and the mask will harden before you can use it. This is the biggest strike against this product for me. I in no way shy away from being lengthy and extravagant with my skincare routine, but really? A product I have to mix myself before I can use it? UGH. No thanks, $skincarecompany, YOU be the chemist.

Then, after you mix the water, you have to apply it in a thick layer with a spatula while it drips all over everything. Then wait for it to harden enough so you can peel it off. Woe is you if you got any of it in your eyebrows. Oh, and there’s also all the tiny bits that are left around the edges where the mask wasn’t applied thickly enough to be peeled off. Good lord, these seem like such a messy chore. I get exhausted just thinking about them.

Warming Masks

Ginger oil warming mask

With these I’m referring to any wash-off type mask that has a self-heating effect, such as the Innisfree Ginger Oil Warming Mask, or the Innisfree Real Rose Mask. The reasons for this should be obvious, but I’ll explain them anyway.

I have rosacea, which means sometimes my face flushes. Cooling down my skin temperature = constricting the vessels in my face = less flushing and redness. Heating up my skin would therefore = expanding the vessels in my face, which would of course = I’m just begging for a flush.

Fucking around with the heat in my face sounds like a stupendously bad idea. I’ve never tried a heating mask, and I doubt I ever will. Even though I don’t flush that often, and my flushes are not that bad, I’m just not willing to risk a product that could trigger one.

Is there anything in the skincare universe you refuse to buy? Let me know!


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