Becoming obsessed with my ever changing face made me go crazy researching about what works and what doesn’t work. We know the cosmetics industry tends to oversell on what there products can do and because of that we have some pretty pervasive myths about skincare floating around. Add to that the information availability on the Internet and it’s easy to see how one person’s conjecture all of a sudden becomes fact.
There is a lot of BS out there people, so take it all (including this particular post) with “a grain of salt”. Read the whole thing, not just the titles and do your homework. Although bear in mind, when it comes to science, and here I’m paraphrasing a bit of Neil Degrasse Tyson, science is true whether you believe in it or not….
1. There are only 4 types of skin
Always wondering if you are dry, combination, normal or oily skin type? You buy the products for that skin type you thing you have and notice some of these don’t quite cut it? That’s because dry, combination, normal, or oily are not the only skin types you can have. On top of those concerns, your skin may be acneic and/or sensitive. You may have some hyperpigmentation or premature signs of aging. Maybe your overall complexion is suffering from “ailments” related to your lifestyle such as dull or dehydrated skin, maybe even sun-damaged. The point is, a routine built on one category may not cater to other concerns, so bear that in mind when you choose the products you’ll use!
2. Wipes are enough to clean your face
There is nothing wrong with wipes to remove your makeup. But you really need to rethink the approach of wiping your face and that’s it. Think about it this way: imagine to wash your body, you take a washcloth with a little bit of soap and rub your entire body with it. Then you put on your clothers qnd off you go. See what I mean? You may have removed some of dirt, but is it really all gone? You need to wash you face. With water and a good quality cleanser! And if you have sensitive skin, you might want to rethink the whole cleansing with wipes entirely as these may be a bit too abrasive for your skin.
3. Too many skincare products can make things worse
This one is partially true in the sense that you could be overdoing it with the products you are using (in a lot of cases it’s usually using too many products with an exfoliating action). But rather than using the quantity as your guideline, think about the quality. For my own skin I find that the number of products I use (which ranges between 6 to 10 a day) don’t influence as much as the type of products. It is totally worth discussing with an experienced aesthetician or dermatologist to understand your skin concerns and tailor your routine to tackle those concerns!
4. Always use skincare products from the same brand
It is very easy to think of this as a good thing. The company makes all these products in the same place, so they focus on complementary formulations. But on the other hand, you may be missing a whole range of beautiful formulations made by other companies. There are a lot of cosmetics companies with product lines worth buying, but when a company is telling you, x product goes well with y product, also part of the brand, this is not because using someing else from a different brand may have terrible consequences, but they are just trying to sell you more. Nothing wrong with that because you can always say no!
5. The best skincare is really expensive
The best skincare is whatever works for you, plain and simple. Sometimes it’s that serum that cost as much as a mortgage payment, sometimes it’s a drugstore brand that costs less than a Starbucks coffee. Some of the expensive products have brands backing them up with years of scientific research and proven results, hence they have the luxury of asking more for this. Other brands provide other type of formulations that are proven to work, but don’t necessarily cost that much so the product becomes affordable, yet very effective. Once again, the best skincare is the one that not only works on your skin, but on your pocket as well, without compromising on quality!
6. “Oils” are bad for oily skin
I get it, someone told you, or you read in a magazine it is not pretty to have a shiny oily skin, so you’ve slathered every possible face wash, cream, or powder to get rid of the undesired oil. The last thing you can imagine is putting even more oil on your oily skin. Here’s the catch, though. The more you use products that strip the excess oil, the more sebum (what the skin produces that you call “oil” produced). What can you do then? There are many great plant-based oils (argan, grape seed, flax seed to name a few) that will do wonders for your skin, provided you used them well. Choose a serum or cream that contains a plant-based oil for a specific concern and apply at night and choose a ligther, more water based formulation in the morning. And when using oils as cleansers (like coconut or almond oil) make sure you remove them well (double-cleanse), otherwise they may cause more good than harm. One type to avoid? Mineral oil. Although this imgredient is perfectly safe, some anecdotal evidence shows it not great for oily skin and in fact, it may clog pores.
7. Lots of water drinking will fix dehydrated skin
No, this does not mean you don’t have to drink as much water as you’ve been told. You absolutely must drink lots and lots of water because it is extremely beneficial for your entire body, and that includes your skin, too. Want to know how important water is? You can survive about 3 weeks without food, but without water, 3 days only! (five, tops if you are in great condition. Water will certainly improve the skin condition, as this precious liquid is necessary for the survival of cells in our body. However, because skin is more exposed than the rest of our organs, a topical approach (applying products, that is) is required to hydrate and “trap” as much moisture as possible.
8. “This product closes / reduces the size of enlarged pores”
We all have pores in our skin (despite what some advertising shows, which is mostly Photoshop anyway) and certain conditions will make them more visible (age, genetics, comedogenic products). Here’s the real deal: once pores are enlarged, for whatever reason, they will not close or reduce in size. So right off the bat, if there is a product claiming it will reduce pore size or just close them alltogether, you know that is a blatant lie. Semantics are very important here because what product can actually do is “reduce the appearance of large pores”. Not sure what the difference is? A product with such claim works on the skin around the pore, making more plump / taut, thus reducing the appearance of large pores. Now see the difference?
9. Hypoallergenic products do not cause skin allergies
10. Natural is always better!
Ahh, the never-ending debate of natural vs. synthetic. Look, poison ivy is also 100% natural, that doesn’t mean you are going to rub that all over your skin. Same with arsenic. Same with dog poop. By the same token, not all synthetics are good either. There are some many insane synthetic ingredients out there and worse, what today is perfectly safe is tomorrow’s toxic du jour. So which is it? The only answer is, one is not better than the other because what may work for you may not work for someone else. And let’s face it, in some cases (think sunscreen, for example) synthetic is the way to go because there is simply no reliable (or effective) natural option.
What are other skincare myths you know that need busting? Which of these ones listed didn’t you know about? Leave your comments below!