This or That? Derms Weigh In On Common Tools, Products, and Solutions

Pore strips vs. acids, eye creams vs. eye patches, facial cleansing devices vs. traditional methods (using your hands), and more. Trusted dermatologists Dr. Vicki Belo, Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo, Dr. Windie Villarica Hayano, and Dr. Grace Beltran provide expert insights.
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Pore strips or acids? Eye creams or eye patches? Facial cleansing devices or the traditional method of using your hands? In the realm of skincare choices, these dilemmas are just the tip of the iceberg. With countless products and procedures available, it’s challenging to discern the most effective options. Fortunately, esteemed dermatologists, including Dr. Vicki Belo, Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo, Dr. Windie Villarica Hayano, and Dr. Grace Beltran, guide us through the intricacies, shedding light on their choices among these common skincare tools, products, and more.

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In the current digital landscape, beauty tips and related information abound, easily accessible with just a tap. With countless content pieces and opinions flooding our screens, we are inundated with a myriad of potential solutions in a matter of seconds. While this surge of beauty content offers inspiration and valuable insights, it’s essential to recognize that a high follower count doesn’t necessarily signify expertise. Consequently, navigating through this abundance poses a challenge for those in search of trustworthy advice. It becomes paramount to meticulously scrutinize every piece of beauty information, conducting thorough research, and seeking guidance from industry experts to ensure reliability.

In this story, we sift through the deluge of unfiltered information to tap into the insights of genuine experts. Drs. Grace Beltran, Vicki Belo, Windie Villarica-Hayano, and Aivee Aguilar-Teo lend their expertise to delve into eight ubiquitous products and procedures with a longstanding presence. These everyday staples may seem familiar, but the revelations from our experts will likely astonish you, revealing things beyond what you thought you already knew.

Manual, using hands and fingers vs mechanical, using battery-operated cleansing devices

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: During my time it was all manual scrub but nowadays, you have so many confusing choices. There is nothing really wrong with these devices as long as you know their limitations and the proper way of using each one of them. If incorrectly used one can abrade the skin and introduce infection [which] can lead to the development of unwanted scars. These devices also need maintenance cleaning. The epidermis gets attached to these devices and can be breeding places for fungi or bacterial growth.

DR. AIVEE AGUILAR-TEO: Manual scrubs, or using your hands to cleanse the skin, is more customizable in the sense that you can adjust the pressure and intensity of the exfoliation based on your skin’s sensitivity. On the other hand, mechanical devices would be preferable for you if you want to deeply cleanse the skin, as the pulsations of these devices help dislodge dirt, oil, and makeup from your pores. Ultimately, the “better” tool for at-home facial cleansing depends on your specific skin type, sensitivity, and personal preferences. Regardless of your chosen tool, always ensure proper hygiene, use gentle motions, and follow a suitable skincare routine for optimal results.

REMOVING BODY HAIR: Waxing or epilating?

DR. VICKI BELO: I would definitely just do laser hair removal. There are so many truly reasonable places that are good. Make sure the machines are good. You should be able to get most of your hair, if the hair removal place is good, in about 6 sessions.

DR. WINDIE VILLARICA-HAYANO: Lasers or IPL are best. Hand’s down. Less trauma, ingrown hair, or folliculitis.

SLOUGHING OFF DEAD SKIN: Diamond peel or exfoliating brush?

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: I would go for an exfoliating brush more than the diamond peel. In my practice, I do not use [diamond peel] anymore as there are better devices that are being used for the same problem. For me, it is already obsolete. An exfoliating brush is enough to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.

DR. WINDIE VILLARICA HAYANO: I don’t use either. Does that shock you? I find them too abrasive and damaging. I prefer a chemical or laser peel. Anything that damages and compromises the skin barrier is really a no for me.

REMOVING MAKEUP: Cleansing balms or makeup-removing wipes? 

DR. AIVEE AGUILAR TEO: If you don’t wear a lot of makeup every day, micellar water will be effective in removing the makeup and even excess dirt on your skin. However, if you are wearing heavy makeup, cleansing balm is always preferred. You may consider your specific needs, preferences, and environmental concerns when deciding between these options.

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: Those who wear chemical, water-proof sunscreens or heavy makeup will benefit from cleansing oils and balms that are gentle yet effective. Makeup wipes are commonly fiber-based cloth soaked in a makeup-removing solution or micellar water. They feel damp to the touch and can be used straight from the packaging to wipe and remove makeup. Most of the time they are still designed to just be a first cleanse and should be followed by a second step.

DR. VICKI BELO: Wipes and micellar water are not my favorites. The wipes are supposed to be the worst, most dermatologists say never use that. Micellar water I find very rough on the skin. This is a personal experience. I can’t seem to remove makeup using micellar water. My favorite would be cleansing milk or a cleansing cream or anything that would really break down the makeup and make it easier. 

ZAPPING ZITS: Pimple patch or pimple ointment or lotion?

DR. WINDIE VILLARICA HAYANO: As long as you are not allergic to benzoyl peroxide, it’s a great product. Just so you know, you don’t need high concentration for this ingredient—2.5 to 4 percent is enough. Patches are good if there’s a wound or it’s oozing. The hydrocolloid patch serves as a dressing and will absorb the plasma and protect it from UV rays.

DR. AIVEE AGUILAR TEO: Drying lotion or benzoyl peroxide ointments are more targeted spot treatments that work by drying out individual pimples, while pimple patches create a protective barrier and absorb excess fluid. Of course, benzoyl peroxide is a medicine and drying agent that will really work to dry the pimple out. You may still use a pimple patch as an option if you want to have a protective barrier when wearing makeup. But in terms of the effectivity of zapping the acne you may have, benzoyl peroxide should be your best bet. When comparing two products, you can also see which one is medical grade and which is cosmeceutical or over the counter.

DR. VICKI BELO: Honestly, I like the pimple patch more. Benzoyl peroxide is good for cystic acne as a spot treatment. However, sometimes, it’s aggressive so it can cause some burning and then it can cause the pimple to be black. I noticed that when I make my patients use it. As for the pimple patch, it depends. It has to be hydrocolloid because if it’s just paper (non-hydrocolloid), then again it dries it up and it still leaves a puss inside and that’s not good for the face.

One thing you might want to consider is the bee venom pimple spot treatment. It dries up pimples quickly. You put it on the pimple, and it’s organic and natural. So, I think it’s a great alternative to using a pimple patch or benzoyl peroxide.

BLACKHEAD AND WHITEHEAD REMOVAL: Pore strips or acids like AHA and BHA?

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: A pore strip may be useful if the contents of the blackheads are already protruding but sometimes what others think are protruding from the nasal alar (sides of the nose) are actually hairs and not contents of the blackheads or whiteheads. Therefore a pore strip may be incorrectly applied to these areas. Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHA may be more helpful if there are multiple blackheads and whiteheads that concern you. The effect of BHA (also known as salicylic acid) is mainly the same as AHA but allergies and irritation may be more common for BHA than AHA.

DR. WINDIE VILLARICA HAYANO: I like the occasional pore strips but BHA/AHA or using active ingredients regularly is more effective in preventing lesions from happening.

BODY SCRUBBING: Body wash scrubs or loofah?

DR. VICKI BELO: The loofah can be good but it’s sharp and it can cause a lot of scratches on your body. Also, it should be a one-time use loofah, then throw it away. Just think about it, the environment in the bathroom is very conducive to producing bacteria in the loofah because it’s not synthetic. It’s actually natural which would support bacterial growth. So I prefer something that washes down the drain like some sort of scrub or a BHA.

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: Personally speaking, I would prefer a cream or gel scrub than a loofah. First, because no maintenance is needed. Second, you are always sure that it will be clean and no debris of skin cells from the previous scrubbing. Third, it does not change its consistency, unlike loofah, after many uses. Fourth, it is easier to use. Fifth, you could even incorporate it in massages.

UNDEREYE CARE: Eye cream or undereye patch?

DR. AIVEE AGUILAR TEO: To maximize results, some people choose to incorporate both eye creams and undereye patches into their skincare routine. They may use eye creams as a daily treatment for ongoing care and undereye patches as an occasional boost or for specific events when immediate results are desired. Ultimately, the choice between eye creams and undereye patches comes down to personal preference, the specific concerns you want to address, and your skincare routine. Experimenting with both options can help you determine which one works best for you and achieves the desired results for your undereye area

DR. WINDIE VILLARICA HAYANO: If you have the money you can do both. No harm in it. Patches are just extra and optional. Even eye creams can be skipped if you have a good moisturizer.

DR. VICKI BELO: They’re all just a way of delivering the active ingredients. Frankly, I haven’t found a good eye cream. Everything seems to be a little off because they’re using a lot of hyaluronic acid for their eye creams which is good for moisturizing. But remember that it absorbs 1,000 times its weight in water. And if it absorbs a lot of water, it would be good for the cheeks but not the eye area. If you put a lot of water in the eye area you end up with false eyebags and not real ones caused by fat protruding.

DR. GRACE BELTRAN: Depends on the component of the undereye patches. They may allow better and maximal absorption of the substances incorporated in it due to occlusion. Creams do not penetrate well compared to patches and these are the facts.

Answers were edited for clarity and brevity.

Justice scale by © Billion Photos, dreamy flower field painting by wulano, Cleansing wet wipes by © towfiqu ahamed barbhuiya, loofah by ©  Ekkapon, Soft and grainy serums by © Sandra Dans, Cosmetic bottle by © Syifa template, Cosmetic Bottles by © Изображения пользователя Oleksandr Diachenko, Young woman washing her face with water by © GlobalStock, Woman Cleaning Skin with a Special Ultrasonic Device by © RossHelen, Diamond Microdermabrasion by © StudioPeace, Woman exfoliating with brush by © Jupiterimages, Cosmetic Cream Jar Product Presentation by © photolime, Cleansing Wet Wipes on Table by © towfiqu ahamed, Round patches for acne and wrinkles on the hands on a white background by © Rabizo, on the finger squeeze cream or ointment from a small tube by © Maria Saifutdinova, Woman using deep cleansing pore nasal strips anti blackheads treatment by © fizkes, Serum for the face by © siniehinaalona, Woman Washing Her Body with Gel by © A’s Images, Female Hands with Loofah on Light Background by © pixelshot, Portrait of pretty lady applying cream under her eyes by © Prostock-Studio, Asian Beauty Teenager Woman by © Mix and Match Studio via

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