Fifteen Skincare Myths Debunked

This month we’re talking about skincare, which can be ultra-confusing since there’s so much unverified info floating around out there. And sometimes what you don’t know can lead you to do some pretty silly, or worse, damaging, things to your skin. Here are some common skincare myths, debunked.

 

1. Tingling means a product is working.

 

Actually, no. Tingling (especially if it’s uncomfortable), stinging, or burning mean a product is irritating your skin, and it’s not the right product for you.

 

2. Moisturizer will break you out.

 

All skin needs moisturizer, but different skin types need different moisturizers. If you have oily skin, try a water-based moisturizer.

 

3. The higher the SPF, the longer you can stay in the sun.

 

SPF is about the percent of harmful rays that are blocked, not about the length of time you can stay in the sun—and 30 is the magic number here. Nothing over 30 is really going to give you much greater benefit, but anything under 30 is going to leave you vulnerable to cancer-causing, skin-damaging rays.

 

4. Acne comes from greasy food.

 

There is no scientific data to prove this, although there’s plenty of data to show that greasy food can cause other health concerns. However, sugar is inflammatory, which can aggravate acne, and there is actual data to show that dairy can contribute to breakouts.

 

5. Dermaplaning causes hair to grow back thicker.

 

It doesn’t, and it’s an excellent exfoliant.

 

6. You don’t need sunscreen on cloudy days/indoors.

 

Harmful rays can breach clouds and windows. You should wear sunscreen every day, and don’t skip your lips. Lips are vulnerable to damage and cancer, just like your other skin.

 

7.The more expensive, the better the product.

 

Sometimes the most expensive products contain the most harmful ingredients, like mineral oil, parabens or sulfates. Always read labels and reviews or run new products by your dermatologist or esthetician.

8. You don’t need to wash your face in the morning.

 

If you use a heavy night cream, it’s probably a good idea to wash. And at night, our skin excretes toxins, so it’s a good idea to get rid of those, too. A morning wash gives you a clean slate for makeup and daytime products. Just make sure you’re using a gentle cleanser.

 

9. Botox is only for people who already have wrinkles.

 

Botox can actually stop wrinkles before they start. Plenty of younger women are choosing to get regular treatments as a preventative.

 

10. Light from the sun causes brown spots and freckles.

 

Okay, so this “myth” is actually true. But did you know that heat is also a culprit? This means that even if you’ve got sunscreen, a hat, and long sleeves, sometimes the heat of the sun is enough to make brown spots or hyper-pigmentation appear. To cool down quickly, try applying a soothing face gel (kept in your fridge!) directly after being in the sun.

 

11. DIY food-based skin products are just as beneficial as the products you get in the store—and often, more natural.

 

Yes, there are amazing enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins in fruits and oils, but often they can’t penetrate your skin without being further broken down. Your digestive system does this for you, to get these goodies into your blood stream when you eat them. But your skin doesn’t have a digestive system, so it often needs a more tailored version of the good stuff. Sorry, but rubbing orange slices on your face isn’t going to deliver the same anti-aging punch as a great Vitamin C serum.

 

12. Unpronounceable ingredients and all “alcohols” should be avoided.

 

The FDA requires that labels list the Latin name of ingredients, so some of those unpronounceable words may be the Latin name of a totally natural ingredient. When in doubt, google!

 

And did you know that Vitamin E (tocopherol) is actually an alcohol? Some alcohols, such as cetyl alcohol (a thickener) or stearyl alcohol (an emollient) are neutral or beneficial to your skin. What you want to avoid (and what’s often found in toners and serums, so read your labels!) are evaporative alcohols, such as ethyl or SD alcohol.

 

13. You should use an acne product if you have break-outs.

 

Not all acne products are created equal, and some can be super-harsh. If you’re in your late 20s or your 30s or 40s, you probably shouldn’t use an acne product targeted for teens. Acne products are drying and can cause dead cells to build up, which actually make breakouts worse. Talk to your doctor or esthetician about the right products for your skin type. The key to reducing breakouts is in exfoliation, spot disinfection, and hydration.

 

14. Hot water opens up your pores for a deeper clean.

 

Pores don’t actually open and close, and while hot water may loosen oil from your pores, it can also dry out your skin. The right cleanser and lukewarm water should do the trick.

 

15.Pore strips will clear your pores of blackheads.

 

As satisfying as they can be, pore strips aren’t actually getting deep enough to pull out anything substantial. You may nab the top layer of a blackhead, but the deep, problem-causing pocket of excess oil is still there, which means the visible part of the blackhead will be back soon. Plus, those strips often use a chemical called polyquaternium-37, that can irritate your skin.

Posted in: Elizabeth Adams MD, Hydration, Injectables, Mindfulness, Skin Health

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