When it comes to skincare, there are so many myths, rumors and half-truths swirling around out there that most people are confused about what they should actually do to take care of their skin. This fact is made worse by advertisers who purposely skew the truth in order to promote the products they are trying to sell. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to debunk 10 common skincare myths so that you can be a little clearer with regards to how to care for your face.
Myth 1 – Everything You Apply Topically To Your Skin Gets Absorbed
Among the more recent rumors related to the all-natural health and beauty trends is the idea that everything you place on your skin is absorbed by your skin. This myth was almost certainly propagated by companies selling nutrient-infused facial products. The fact is that it is very hard for most ingredients to make it past the epidermis (top layer of skin). Small amounts of beauty product ingredients may be absorbed by the skin but the epidermis will prevent almost everything (good and bad) from penetrating to the second (dermis) layer of the skin where collagen is produced. There are some beauty treatments such as certain types of dermarolling and microdermabrasion which temporarily compromise the epidermis making it easier for skin treatments to be absorbed, but this effect is not permanent. Therefore, the truth is that it is actually very hard for your skin to absorb most nutrients included in beauty products since skin is designed to keep moisture in and outside particles out.
Myth 2 – Apple Cider Vinegar Is The Best Acne Treatment
This myth is not completely false but more so misunderstood. Apple cider vinegar is, in fact, a great exfoliator and has strong antibacterial properties as well. The fact that acne sufferers, due to the nature of the condition, have clogged pores (which exfoliation helps) and bacteria (which causes eruptions) trapped inside of those same clogged pores, means that apple cider vinegar could improve their skin. However, the false part of this myth is that apple cider vinegar is only for acne sufferers. Ordinary people can also successfully use apple cider vinegar to tone and exfoliate their skin. Apple cider vinegar is not specifically an acne treatment but it may help with certain types of non-cystic acne.
Myth 3 – Cleansing Your Skin More Is Always Better
This myth is not only false but also potentially detrimental to your skin. Cleansing your skin gently once or twice a day is actually ideal. For people with sensitive skin, cleansing once a day is actually even better than twice. The skin contains natural oils and nutrients which get scrubbed away if you cleanse too often and this disturbs the balance of the skin which can actually make skin problems worse. People with skin disorders such as acne tend to believe that their issue is related to cleanliness when, in fact, it is not. Because of this erroneous belief, they clean their skin several times per day which actually worsens their skin. Remember, more is not better when it comes to skin cleansing.
Myth 4 – People With Darker Skin Do Not Need To Use Sunscreen
This myth is not only false but also potentially dangerous. Although darker skin, because it contains more melanin, is more resistant to sunburn, everyone should use sunscreen regardless of their skin color. The sun contains ultraviolet rays and the cumulative effects of these ultraviolet rays can be cancerous to anyone. In addition to this, even ultraviolet-ray skin damage that is not cancerous causes the skin to age faster and lose elasticity regardless of the person’s skin tone. Because of this, many experts recommend using a full spectrum sunscreen every day even if it is cloudy. Remember, the fact that you cannot see or feel the sun’s intensity does not mean that ultraviolet rays are not reaching your skin. With regards to this myth, you are better off safe than sorry and you should always remember to apply sunscreen.
Myth 5 – Skin Purges And Breakouts Are The Same Thing
Certain skincare ingredients, retinol for example, cause the skin to purge toxins and old skin cells more quickly than normal which may appear, on the outside, like an ordinary breakout. However, skin purges and breakouts are fundamentally different and skin purges are actually the result of increased cellular turnover which will ultimately help you reveal healthier, younger looking skin. Breakouts, on the other hand, generally occur when a perfect storm of hormonal imbalance (which can be caused by stress) and clogged pores come together to produce unsightly blemishes where bacteria is trapped inside of the pore. Therefore, although skin purges and breakouts may appear similar, their causes are different and experiencing a skin purge from a beauty product is not a reason to discontinue using the product, especially if it was recommended by a doctor or certified esthetician.
Myth 6 – It Is Always Better To Start Anti-Aging Treatments Earlier On
While it is also good to do things like properly moisturize your skin and wear sunscreen every day, starting specific anti-aging treatments earlier on is not always better. For one thing, anti-aging treatments, especially effective ones, tend to be expensive and you are most likely just throwing money down the drain if you choose to begin these types of treatments in your teens or early twenties. The reason for this is that many anti-aging treatments, including retinol as we mentioned above, attempt to reveal younger skin by increasing cellular turnover and renewal. If you are in your twenties or younger, your cellular turnover is likely already fast and using anti-aging treatments will not do anything to help you in the future.
Myth 7 – Your Body Will Develop A Tolerance To Facial Products
There seems to be this myth swirling around that, if you use a beauty product continuously, it will eventually stop working because your body will get used to it. This, however, is false. This may be because certain products like alpha hydroxy acid produce dramatic results rapidly and then after the full results are realized, people think the product is no longer working. However, the skin does not produce a tolerance to topical beauty products and ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid do continue to work as they did in the beginning.
Myth 8 – The Same Ingredients Mean The Same Quality
Many people, when they look at the ingredients on the package of a beauty product, decide to go with the cheaper (usually generic) product if the ingredients are the same as the more expensive name brand product. They think that, if the ingredients are the same, then the products must be equal. However, this assumption is false. Just like two foods may have the same ingredients but one was cooked well and contains high quality ingredients and the other was burned and contains low quality ingredients, the quality of beauty products varies. The name brand item is not necessarily a better product, but it may be.
Myth 9 – Facial Exercises Will Reduce Wrinkles
The idea here is that you can tighten your facial skin with repetitive movements the same way you would tighten your stomach by doing abdominal exercises. Unfortunately, this myth is not true. Wrinkles are caused by a loss of collagen in your skin and are largely permanent whereas a flabby belly is caused by excess subcutaneous fat. In fact, intentionally moving your facial muscles more will possibly cause more wrinkles. This is the line of thinking behind popular cosmetic treatments like Botox which smooth facial lines by temporarily paralyzing certain facial muscles.
Myth 10 – Toothpaste Is A Good Anti-Acne Treatment
This myth is actually partially true and partially false. While toothpaste does contain some of the same ingredients included in over the counter acne medications, it also contains other ingredients which may irritate and inflame skin. In addition to this, over the counter acne medications generally contain other ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid which toothpaste does not contain. For this reason, even though there is a small chance that putting toothpaste on a zit could help lessen it a little bit, it is still much more advisable to get actual acne medicine instead.