January 12, 2021

What’s the Worst Thing You’ve Used On Your Face?

We’re all guilty of using bad skincare or at least I am! I’ve definitely used products with alcohol, essential oils, and fragrance just to name a few. I think most of the worst skincare I’ve used on my face stemmed from not educating myself enough on what I was putting on my face. As they say, with age comes experience. As I get older I pay more and more attention to what’s in my skincare! Something I wish I had done when I was younger. I’ve definitely used stuff on my face in my youth that was simply horrible.

Here’s some of the worst things I’ve used on my face.

Yes, I’ve used St Ives Apricot Scrub. Guilty as charged. I actually had a weird love hate relationship with it well into my adulthood. It’s always been such a great scrub but I realized later in life that it was harsh AF and I shouldn’t be using it on my face. We broke up some years ago and I haven’t used in a long time!

Yes, I’ve used Clean & Clear products. One in particular that always made an appearance in my shower was Clean & Clear Deep Cream Cleanser. Why was I using this on my face? Oh I know why! Because it reminded me Nozema another horrifying product I used to use on my face in my late teens and early twenties.

And of course, they legendary Sea Breeze Astringent possibly one of thee worst products I used on my skin. Alcohol? On this dry skin? What was I thinking.

I still make poor skincare choices to be honest especially when it comes to fragrance. I do love fragrance in my skincare but I know how bad it is!

But I am much more conscious of what goes onto my face in my older age.

What’s the worst thing you’ve used on your face?

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • kjh

    Oy, BITD no one knew what is common knowledge now. Sea Breeze. Ten-O-Six, which has resurged as a bunch of products, known as 10.0.6, making it sound like the update it is! The biggest, and HE offender was Charles of the Ritz Dual Lotion, with alcohol and menthol…and i adored it. Noxema, but that was ok for shaving…legs only, not armpits. Shouldn’t that have given me a clue? Scrubs galore from Woolworth’s through Bonwit’s. It’s a wonder anyone my age has any skin left.

    • Isabella Muse

      Girl my cousin would slather herself in noxema head to foot and sleep in it. SLEEP IN IT! WHAT! LOL 🙂 I never heard of the Charles Ritz stuff! Gotta go google!

  • Swoozy

    Clean and Clear Deep Cream Cleanser changed my life in a good way. My first salicylic wash and totally changed my teen acne into no big deal. No regrets, no hate 😉

    As for St. Ives scrub . . .I guess I have rhino skin, because it never bothered me. I use fancier scrubs now, but my eyes roll deeply into my skull when someone references “micro-tears” due to St. Ives almost as much as when I hear “sebaceous filaments” for what I knew to be blackheads all of my life.

    • Isabella Muse

      I used it for a long time until I realized it wasn’t for my dry skin!!!!!!!!! I can honestly say St Ives never bothered me either! I stopped using it because it was drying but I never experienced microtearing but I can see it happening on someone that has sensitive skin!

  • Frozendiva

    I’m old, so grew up with all the bad stuff for your face. That is all there was at the drugstore at the time. Seabreeze was a daily staple, as was Ten-0-Six. Plus Noxema. Also guilty of St. Ives scrub. There was a better apricot one when I was younger, but don’t remember what it was.

    There was what there was in the 80s, and very little education of what to not put on your face. I didn’t learn about decent skincare til my late 20s or early 30s.

    • Dee

      Same! That’s all there was and my friends and I were obsessed with Ten-O-Six. I also loved using a Buf Puf and just scrubbing and scrubbing as hard as I could. I’m surprised I have any skin left.

    • FrugalCat

      Was the apricot scrub called Aapri? I remember it now that I am in “wayback” mode!

  • Violet

    Omg, I am guilty of using all of the above in my youth, lol! I started using Noxema at the age of 12 & didn’t stop until my 30s. I was blessed with very smooth skin (people said I had porcelain skin) & rarely any acne, so this influenced many people, including my MIL & SIL to use it too.
    I can’t think of anything else that was bad, except I was one of those ignorant people who put a mixture of iodine & baby oil on my skin when I was at the beach, which was nearly every weekend. Seeing signs of sun damage in my 30s is what prompted me into researching & implementing good skin care. I think I did a good job, cos my dermatologist told me that I reversed most of the damage. When I was 46, he said that my skin was that of a typical 32 yr old.

  • Dot

    Ohhh boy. St. Ives apricot scrub comes to mind, and a bunch of alcohol-based toners and astringents (Clinique, Clean and Clear, etc.). Also guilty of using Noxzema as a teenager, but I loved that tingle!

    More generally, I always thought my skin was oily so I used a bunch of really stripping products, when in reality, my skin was dry (which was causing the oil production). Realizing that was a total lightbulb moment.

  • Jen R

    Straight rubbing alcohol as a toner – yes really! As an oily skinned, acne prone teen I was desperate. Luckily my skin has always been pretty much indestructible, so there were no ill effects, but it makes me shudder to think about now!

      • Jen R

        No one, I just thought it would be a good idea for some reason! I figured if the toners I was using were mostly alcohol, then straight alcohol would be even better, LOLOL. Ah, teenagers!

    • Kimkats

      Me too! I was an oil well in my teens and twenties, and used straight rubbing alcohol on my face. And it never seemed to do it any harm: cleaned like a mutha too! My skin got dry about 25 years ago, and I changed everything, but I hadn’t used rubbing alcohol as a toner in many years. Which is probably good…. I shudder to think of it now too!

  • TropicalChrome

    Pond’s Face Cream with alpha hydroxy acids.. It was a sample from some beauty box or another and it *burned*. I kept using it because AHAs are supposed to do all these wonderful things for your skin and maybe they do for some, but not for me. With some experimentation I discovered my skin absolutely does not like AHAs, and there are other products that work far better. But I still shake my head when I think of it and that I didn’t listen to my skin telling me “ow! no! Stop!”

  • Mariah

    Prep H. Yes! The hemorrhoid cream! I over did it and burned my under eye area pretty bad. They were red and sensitive for about 1 week. Lesson learned.

  • Nicole

    I’m not gonna lie…..I have a small tub of Noxema in my cabinet right now. If I absolutely have to have my makeup matte and not melt off, I use Noxema to cleanse then go straight for the makeup. No moisturizer, no sunscreen…nada. Noxema (for me) is the best primer for oily skin (after you wash it off). I don’t no why, but my makeup is almost flawless and lasts all day after using Noxema. I use it maybe 3 times year for special occasions only.

  • Claudia

    I tried Seabreeze but it stung too much. My mom bought me the amber colored Neutrogena bar and it was too drying and smelly for me. I’ve used St.Ives apricot scrub and the really fine grit one from Clinique whose name I don’t remember. But, nothing will ever come close to a girl I knew in high school who used to go to the restroom every two hours to wash her face with dish soap, as in Dawn or Joy because she hated how greasy her skin felt. My MIL said by adding ground up birth control pills in her shampoo she could stop her menopausal hair loss.

  • StellaDiva

    10-0-6 toner. What the heck was in that? They sold a bonus size just in time for back to school. Would leave skin sticky so I watered down a bit.

  • DiDi

    I had oily skin and lots of break outs as a teen and Sea Breeze helped to dry up the pimples but it also dried up my skin and it would flake. I also used Noxema but it really did not seem to help my acne much

  • FrugalCat

    OMG Muse, Noxema! I used it too- what were we thinking? I’m older than you so let me tell you, back in the 70’s and 80’s this was the height of skincare. I also loved Sea Breeze. I was so glad when the “sensitive skin” version came out as I thought it was gentler. Ironically, I still use it today- but not on my face. It is great for preventing ingrown hairs in my underarms.

    Also, when my friends and I used these products, the tingle meant they were working!

    • Isabella Muse

      seriously though! I think I was convinced if something tingled that meant it was working! Actually, come to think of it, I still feel that way LOL! Interesting use of Sea Breeze!

  • MDW

    My mother had an ultra violet light wand kit that is only seen in museums these days. Not legal to use in modern times. She used it on me once. Quite effective in the short term but damaging like sun damage in the long term.

    I love the effect of rose hip oil on my skin but I may have used too much. I now have those accumulations of skin cells under the pores.

  • Kate

    I had horrible cystic acne beginning in elementary school. I had previously seen a dermatologist for other reasons, but my parents hadn’t yet brought me in for an acne consult.

    I kept hearing that acne was often caused by bacteria. I also kept seeing the bottle of anti-bacterial soap we always kept by the bathroom sink.

    Although I shudder now, it at least got me in to the dermatologist ASAP!

  • Elaine

    I’m old…I used 10-0-6 in the jug! As a reminder of what I did when I was younger, I bought a Bonne Bell ad on Ebay of the stuff, blew it up to a 24×36 poster, framed it, and it hangs proudly in my bathroom! Also, I used some Yves Rocher orange blossom moisturizer (?) that I can still smell and I’d buy it again if they still made it!

  • Iris

    I used this now discontinued scrub, which I believe was by Clean and Clear, on recommendation of a family friend who said it worked for her. It broke my skin out horribly.

    My best friend has perfect skin and used Biore. I used the same and it didn’t do a thing for my skin. Didn’t make my bad breakouts worse but didn’t help them either.

    • Holly

      Queen Helene Mint Clay Mask- burned like hell and made my eyes water. We used Noxema for sunburns, can you imagine?!

  • Caroline

    As a tween, I once put bath and body works lotion on my face. I had no idea why something good for dry hands would be bad for my face. I broke out for the first time….and never again have I had totally clear skin.

  • Jess

    As someone with oily skin and zit issues, Clean and Clear is life! Now St. Ives I dont use but my 20 year old does. Ive told her so many times to get rid of it but she thinks I’m just an old lady who doesn’t know anything ‍♀️ I guess its one of those things where she has to figure it out for herself.

  • Mariele

    Hmm… I dunno, I still clean with Noxzema and a washcloth every single day. I also use an alcohol-based toner once in awhile and it immediately perks my skin up. My skin is great. I used to use Ponds all the time, but it always made my skin feel like it was suffocating, so I eventually switched to No7’s heavily scented cream, which was OK, but still a bit suffocating. I eventually switched to a more K-beauty routine, with an essence, serum, and light moisturizer, which doesn’t make my skin look amazing or anything, but at least it doesn’t feel like it’s suffocating… I used the apricot scrub *very* briefly when I was a tween and it broke me out. I guess that’s the worst, though? Not really sure what we’re considering the “worst” skincare here, since my skin is pretty hardy and seems to love Noxzema, lol.

  • Miska

    Oh wow, I’m guilty of the St Ives Scrub, Seabreeze, toners that were full of alcohol (the tingle means t’s working!), Noxema…I’ve used them all in the past. **smacks forehead** But for me the worst thing was this Retin A gel that a derm put me on BITD for horrible cystic acne on not just my face but my chest, back and upper arms as well. Long story short I was a kid and didn’t know to use sunscreen and avoid the sun with Retin A. So I was always outside and I used this Retin A gel ON TOP of all of the other horrible crap that I was abusing my face with. I was constantly beet red and peeling everywhere. I looked like I had a constant case of road rash on my face. I cringe when I think about it. As and adult, I haven’t been able to bring myself anywhere near retinoids to this day. I got into Asian Beauty in my mid 30’s and it’s changed my skin for the better. In my teens I used to sleep with Desetin (a diaper rash cream) on my face at night to relieve redness. Stunk like hell but it took the red out, still I don’t recommend it.