When shopping for skincare, there are many options available, and it can take effort to choose the right product with the best value that will provide actual results. This can be even trickier when shopping for a skincare gift for a loved one, especially if they have melasma or require products that are safe for melanated skin. If you’ve ever wished that you had a skincare professional guiding you through your holiday beauty shopping list – you’re in luck!

On The Skin Report podcast, Dr. Simran Sethi, an Internal Medicine doctor and the Founder and Medical Director of RenewMD medical spas, recently released her insight on the top holiday shopping picks for skincare and beauty in 2022. So whether you’re shopping for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or just because – read on to learn what skincare gifts are worth your purchase this holiday season!

Overpriced, Overrated – Over it!

The holidays are a popular time for seasonal shopping, and brand marketers and retailers know this. As a result, we see many ads and articles for beauty gift ideas this time of year, which begs the question: which products are worth your money?

To answer this question, Dr. Sethi urges listeners to address the effectiveness and safety of the products advertised. In addition, items can have different effects on melanated skin tones, so buyers must consider the impact that products may have when shopping for users with more melanated skin.

So let’s look at Amazon and Sephora’s holiday beauty shopping guides for 2022 and see which products will make your loved ones happy this holiday season!

Amazon’s Holiday Beauty Haul and Sephora’s 2022 Gift Guide

Amazon and Sephora each provided holiday beauty shopping guides with their suggested skincare products. However, some items may be less friendly for your skin than others.

Flash & Go Express IPL Laser Hair removal system

This at-home laser hair removal device is advertised as a cheaper, more convenient alternative to laser hair removal treatments offered at aesthetic medical clinics.

These at-home devices use very low energy to destroy hair follicles. Unfortunately, this means they absolutely cannot compare to professional in-office treatments.

While at-home devices are not strong enough to give results, they can lead to side effects. These products can adversely affect the skin of people with more melanated skin tones or those with melasma. Additionally, people with acne and inflammatory hyperpigmentation should avoid IPL lasers as they can stimulate melanocytes to create excess melanin.

Final Verdict
Save your money – and instead, spend it at an expert clinic that provides laser hair removal so that you can see real permanent results on your unwanted hair!

Make Up Eraser towel

This towel is claimed to enable users to rub off their makeup using only water.

Unfortunately, the idea of removing all of your makeup with just a towel and water may be too good to be true. Though there are different ways to cleanse the skin, using a towel to physically remove dead skin and debris is less effective than using ingredients such as AHA or BHA to cleanse pores and slough off buildup. Pore cleansing must occur deeply and microscopically, which cannot be done by just mechanically wiping the skin.

Failure to properly clean the skin can lead to breakouts or poor absorption of skin care products.

Furthermore, rubbing the skin with a towel is harmful on a daily basis, especially for melanated skin tones or users with dry skin, as this can lead to hyperpigmentation.

Final Verdict
These towels may be eco-friendly, but they are ineffective and unsafe for cleansing your face of daily dirt and debris or removing makeup. Instead, consider an AHA cleanser product that can effectively clean pores. For example, this Complete Resurfacing Face and Body wash is an AHA cleanser with coconut oil that cleans out pores without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Evian facial spray

This product is a water-based hydrator to spray on your skin to restore moisture.

This hydrating mist works to replenish the moisture we lose throughout the day. This can be helpful for all people regardless of skin type, especially in cold, dry weather.

While the product may be safe to use, the application process of hydrating sprays can leave our skin vulnerable. We tend to apply products like these on top of makeup and sunscreen we already have on our skin, which may rinse off sunscreen, leading to UV ray exposure.

Final Verdict
Rather than using a facial spray like this, consider applying a product under your sunscreen that will protect your skin’s moisture throughout the day.

A more effective option that can be used under the skin is the Hyaluronic Plump and Protect Serum, a proprietary combination of hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom extract that, together, locks your skin’s moisture so your skin will stay hydrated throughout the day!

Shani Darden Pro LED Light Mask

This LED light mask emits various wavelengths of visible light, especially blue and red light.

LED light masks can help destroy bacteria on acne-prone skin and stimulate collagen production. However, they are not equally beneficial for all skin tones and may be harmful to people with melasma.

These products emit visible light, which includes wavelengths close to the blue light spectrum that promote melanin production in melasma. Skin types IV and greater produce more melanin in response to blue light exposure when compared to skin types III and lighter. Therefore if you have melasma, remember to avoid Blue LED light. Red light is still in a safer wavelength range, but this has yet to be fully studied in melasma patients.

Final Verdict People with melasma should steer clear of LED masks, as they can produce adverse effects and cause flare-ups. Instead, build collagen and erase wrinkles using ingredients like retinol. Other serums, moisturizers, and dietary supplements can also help promote collagen production.

Those without melasma should consider medical-grade products as more effective options for reducing acne, fine lines, and wrinkles and building up more collagen. Treatments like micro needling or picosure laser are safe and much more effective than these LED masks.

The Bum Bum Cream

This cream claims to firm the skin.

Skin firming is a process that requires building more collagen and elastin. However, none of the Bum Bum Cream’s ingredients do that. To tighten skin, a product would, at the very least, need to contain retinol, which the cream does not.

While the cream may not be physically unsafe for the average user per se, it does not deliver any benefit. A collagen or elastin-containing cream is just a formula applied topically and does not stimulate skin collagen or protein production.

Final Verdict
The Bum Bum Cream has some very hydrating ingredients and lipids which are great for skin moisture protection and smoothening, but it does not do any tightening. So if you buy it, expect to use it just to moisturize your body, but do not expect it to tighten your skin.

To learn more about Dr. Sethi’s opinions on the popular skincare products available this holiday season, tune into Season 1, Episode 29 of The Skin Report podcast.