People LOVE to pass along misinformation, especially about skincare. I don’t know what it is, but people are so willing to believe anything about their skin as long as it’s sort of believable. I myself have been guilty of this sort of thinking (re: I don’t need to exfoliate because my skin is dry!). In this post, I’ll go over a few common skincare myths, and a few that are so off-the-wall that I was like…what the f**k did I just read?
Scrubbing your face with soap will keep your skin healthy and acne free. False! So false. As I reiterated endlessly in the Choreography series, you have got to find the right products for your skin type, and soap-true, traditional bar soap-is not good for anyone’s face. Scrubbing, especially with the wrong sort of cleanser, will only exacerbate the existing acne. Plus, dirty skin and acne are not inherently synonymous. Acne comes from genetics, clogged follicles, bacteria, and triggers such as hormones, stress, clogging cosmetics, etc. So, although keeping the skin clean absolutely aids in the treatment of acne, going hard at it with some soap is absolutely not the way to go. Overscrubbing removes the protective oils your skin needs.
ProActiv is the best acne-fighting system there is. Omg if I hear this one more time I will punch someone in the face. Seriously. When you have acne, you usually have oily skin as well. And when you dry out your skin, it goes into oil production overdrive to compensate. So now your skin is even more oily than when you started, AND it’s irritated. Good job. ProActiv contains some of the most drying ingredients you’ll find, all as a marketing ploy. You have acneic skin-you use ProActiv-your skin produces more oil-you get more acne-you buy more ProActiv. Just don’t do it.
Tanning beds are safe as long as they don’t contain UVB rays. First of all…you’re still exposing your skin to UVA rays. Here’s a simple way to get your rays straight: A=aging, B=burning. So just the statement alone is flawed. That aside, you shouldn’t be exposing yourself, unprotected, to ANY of the sun’s rays needlessly. Tan=damage, and that’s a scientific fact. You may think that if you’re not red, you’re not burnt, but that’s simply untrue. ANY sign of ANY color means damage is being done/has been done. And tanning beds are the absolute worst. They’re way more concentrated so you’re getting so much more exposure. This is coming from someone who, once upon a time, tanned in a bed a few times per week for cheerleading purposes. Please don’t tan, not in a bed, not under the sun…or you could end up looking like THIS!:
While Dontalla Verace might be an extreme example, you get it. Don’t tan. Not like any of my target readers need to be told that though.
The Higher the SPF, the better the protection. Clearly, it’s super important to wear your sunscreen every. Damn. Day. BUT. There are a few things to consider. SPF stands for “sun protection factor”, and the number that follows in based on the UVB (burning rays) protection, not the UVA (aging) protection. According to WebMD, “The SPF rating is a measure of the time it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed to the time it would take with sunscreen on.” So you would think that you could stay out in the sun without burning for twice as long using an SPF 30 as you could using an SPF 15. Nope. The leap from SPF 15 to SPF 30 is only a three percent improvement; 30 to 45, only 1%; and after that, you start getting into even smaller percentages. So, how does this become troublesome? Because you buy a higher SPF thinking you don’t need to reapply it because it’s going to last sooooo much longer. Not only that, you’re still being exposed to UVA rays. Just find a good SPF 30 you’ll use daily, and you’re good to go. Or, become a vampire like me and 90% of my friends.
It’s better to get the pus out of a pimple by popping it. I was going to insert an image of Honey Boo Boo gagging, but I couldn’t find one I liked. So, just picture it. Before esthetics school, I had never popped/picked/extracted anything. It grossed me out. Still does. I’m decent at extractions but hate doing them. Anyway, I digress. Here’s why this one is a myth. All of that pus contains bacteria. When you release the pus, it spreads to other parts of your face, infecting those parts, thereby causing even more pimples. Not only that, it leads to more inflammation, scarring, spreading under the skin. It really is better to leave your extractions to a professional esthetician or dermatologist, but if you MUST DIY, do so safely: wipe down the area with a skin-safe disinfectant or liquid exfoliant. Don’t extract anything that hasn’t come to a head. Disinfect your extractor tool, and press down with it. Once you see pus, dab it away with the skin-safe disinfectant and LEAVE IT ALONE! Do not go until you see blood, don’t force it, don’t spread it. And for the love of Lucifer do not pop pimples with your fingers. That’s gross and ineffective. If you must do this yourself, get one of these tools:
St. Ives is the best exfoliant for your face. NO NO NO. NO. This is something else I covered in the choreography series. Apricot kernels are naturally sharp and harsh. When scrubbed all over the skin, it causes tiny microcuts which lets in bacteria, among other things. So just say no to apricot kernel exfoliants. Unless you’re looking for an excellent foot scrub. Go with something that contains rice bran or naturally exfoliating ingredients such as papaya.
All-natural always means better. I almost didn’t include this one because I myself am still deciding my stance on the subject. But no matter what you believe, it is a plain and simple fact that there are beneficial synthetics out there, and some completely natural products that are included in skincare products should be avoided.
Drinking copious amounts of water will help with dry skin. Now, before my fellow esthis/health freaks jump down my throat, I’m not saying that upping your water intake won’t help. Water is absolutely essential to having beautiful, healthy, glowing skin, there’s no denying that. But when you drink water, the last place it gets delivered is the skin. It goes to more vital organs first. Plus, skin dries out when the lipids between skin cells become damaged, not when you’re dehydrated (this causes other problems though). So, chugging water is not going to repair those lipids and heal your dry skin. Get your recommended daily water intake for other reasons.
You can’t exfoliate too much. Sigh. I really wish this was true. Exfoliating your skin feels incredible and is usually instantly gratifying and there are SO MANY benefits to proper exfoliation. But alas…you can exfoliate too much. And it’s not a good thing (obviously). Over exfoliating can lead to irritation, sensitivity, dry skin, and even aging from too much tugging and pulling. Keep it simple and only exfoliate twice per week unless you’re absolutely sure that your chemical exfoliant is gentle enough for daily use. I recently (accidentally) over exfoliated. Part of my morning routine is to apply liquid exfoliant, so I did, like I do every morning. But later that night, I decided to do a mask while I was taking a bubble bath. Only, I didn’t put on a mask…I put on an enzyme peel. Normally this peel feels very gentle on my skin, to the point where I forget it’s even there. But this time, my skin felt like it was on fire within minutes of applying it. I immediately rinsed it off and gave it some thought…and realized that I was a total idiot and had heavy-duty exfoliated my face twice in 18 hours. Ugh. I’m still paying for it with drier than usual, sensitive skin.
Wearing foundation over your sunscreen will make you age faster. This one is…complicated. While it’s true that wearing foundation over your sunscreen will reduce the effectiveness SOMEWHAT, it does not cause you to age faster. You can combat this by waiting 3-5 minutes after applying your sunscreen before applying your foundation. Or, better yet, use a foundation/BB cream/tinted moisturizer/etc. that contains a considerable amount of SPF. A powder that contains SPF will not be enough on its own, but you can top your foundation with it to get several layers of protection.
What myths have you heard perpetuated? What myth have you subscribed to, only to change your ways when you were better educated? Let me know in the comments!