CBSN

Home Skin Treatments Have Risks

Women looking for ways to get rid of wrinkles, pimples or unwanted hair are turning to do-it-yourself skin-care treatments. They are cheaper than procedures performed in doctor's offices or spas. But are they safe?

Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist and author of, "Forget the Facelift," tells The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen consumers have to be aware of the risks involved.

She explains, "If you're doing products at home that may leave you with marks or take longer, you may end up spending more time to repair that and get to that goal, and that may cost you more money."

The following is her advice regarding common treatments and over-the-counter products:

Microdermabrasion – Day says scarring is the biggest risk with microdermabrasion.

She explains, "These kits are capitalizing on what has become a popular professional service, but really what you are getting is just what the product says: "micro" meaning small; "derma" meaning skin; and "abrasion" meaning to agitate or rub. These products are simply tools that rub off your skin. And that is where the problem lies. People tend to press too hard and bruise their skin. They may not even realize that their skin is too sensitive for a product like this.

"You have to remember these things are regulated to some degree. A lot of people who take these things home think that if they do more of the treatment, than they'll get more or better results. It doesn't work that way. Always, remember to read the instructions and don't do more than what is recommended."

Exfoliators – Like microdermabrasion kits, they capitalize on the name but it is a different process than what you get from a dermatologist, Day explains. "These over-the-counter kits are just exfoliators, but you won't have the same results because the professional microdermabrasion doesn't just push against the skin, it also pulls stuff away. It isn't the same process, so the results are different."

Skin Peel Kits - Day says, "Some skin peels are too harsh. If you leave them on too long or if your skin is too sensitive, you will have chemical burns. In general, it is best to get these types of products from a reputable company. Typically, larger, established cosmetic companies are not desperate to make a quick buck. Beware of a company you've never heard of. But even then, some products aren't good for you. I recommend ones that use citric acid and have a neutralizer. But once again, don't do more than what is recommended, and if you are unsure about a product, ask your doctor."

Day notes peels are designed to create the appearance of younger looking skin. But the real key to younger skin is more than creams and artificial light. She says, "These are probably the least effective products. The real key is diet and lifestyle changes - like, stress reduction. Staying away from harmful UV rays, that is now people look younger and avoid being wrinkled."

Hair Removal – A product that requires holding it against the skin and yanking the hairs out can result in ingrown hair and irritated skin.

"Those little gadgets usually break the hair off and starts a cascade of events like itching, plucking and then you end up having scarring," Day says. "Going to a professional is really ideal because many people don't know how a product will interact with their skin type. A lot of products may work well on one person and totally irritate another. A professional can spot signs of trouble."