Why Your Beauty Treatment Might Be Hurting You

You know that old cliché, "beauty is pain?" Yeah, that's not really true.

The creams, potions, and various things we drop serious cash on should be both pampering and safe; however, some of the things we do in the name of beauty can be downright dangerous to our appearance and health. We asked a few experts to weigh in on a few ways our beauty treatments are hurting us.

And yeah, you'll probably be surprised by a few of these.

Put down that peroxide

We've all seen it on Pinterest: the at-home recipe that claims a mixture of peroxide and baking soda will take your teeth from dingy to gleaming white in a few days.

"This beauty trick does more harm than good," Bryon Viechnicki, DDS, an orthodontist in Bethlehem, Penn., tells Yahoo! Shine. "The idea to use hydrogen peroxide makes sense to a lot of people because peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen) is the active ingredient in all teeth whitening systems."

However, the low concentration of peroxide -- and the short rinsing time -- limits its effectiveness.

"Even if it was effective, rinsing with peroxide exposes gums to peroxide and baking soda can be dangerous," says Dr. Viechnicki. "The gums can get red, irritated, and can even become ulcerated.

Your best bet? Get an at-home bleaching system from the store and a good whitening toothpaste.

The bad kind of Brazilian

You couldn't go to a salon a couple of years ago without a stylist trying to up-sell you on a Brazilian blowout. The expensive treatment promised -- and delivered -- silky smooth hair that lasted for several months.

However, the Brazilian blowouts achieved the smooth finish with dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde. The FDA issued a warning against the treatment in 2011.

They're not officially banned, but stylist Gad Cohen recommends keratin treatments for his clients because they provide the same effect without the carcinogens.

"Keratin treatments, Japanese straightening, and Brazilian blowouts are all popular because they last longer than the typical blow out," Cohen says.

"Keratin is the protein naturally found in hair, so these treatments enhance the natural look of hair. They can last anywhere from 3-6 months, and they won't compromise the condition of the hair," he says. "Plus, Keratin-treated hair stands up well to humidity and chlorine water. It's a procedure that can be done as needed and will free you from being a slave to your hair."

Skin cancer… from a manicure?

Shellac manicures are a miracle for busy women since it requires zero dry time and lasts for up to two weeks. But, a 2009 study found that gel manicures increase skin cancer risk.

"A shellac manicure causes similar problems as a tanning bed," says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules.

The reason: skin on the hands is exposed to cancer-causing UV light while the polish is cured.

"Each coat has to be cured with UV light at least three times," adds Dr. Jaliman. However, Shellac does sell gloves that protect the hands - and there's always sunblock. "I ask patients to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 on their hands."

Wear false eyelashes, lose your real ones

False eyelashes are a great way for women to get those long, luscious eyelashes we crave, or is it?

"Temporary eyelash extensions can cause long-lasting damage to your natural lashes, leaving women with shorter, stubbier lashes after they remove them. Some people even complain that parts of their eyelashes have fallen out altogether and do not grow back," says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.

The reason? That cheap glue doesn't come off easily.

"I see women who have loss of eyelashes from the lashes being pulled out as the false lashes come or are pulled off," Dr. Day adds. "I also see cases of irritation, allergic reaction and infection."

Dr. Day recommends using the FDA-approved Latisse to grow lashes naturally. But if you just have to use fake lashes?

"Proper cleansing is critical and don't rub your eyes or pull on the lashes," advises Dr. Day.

When your scrub attacks

It's hard not to love the feeling you get after a good exfoliating, but do it too much and you risk doing serious damage to your skin.

"A lot of people have a 'more is better' attitude. Some people get a new product that supposed to be used once a week and they end up using it every day," says Dr. Jaliman. "They find themselves in my office with bright red peeling skin and end up having to go on medication."

Instead, opt for a gentle sonic cleansing system, like the Clarisonic.

"I'm a big fan of sonic cleansing systems because it's gentle," says Dr. Jaliman. "A sonic cleaner -- and once-a-week deep exfoliation -- is more than enough for most people."

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