Perfect skin. You’ll do anything for that, right? In the age where there seems to be no room for imperfection, we’re taking in misleading information that promises perfect skin without concrete evidence. Let’s break down a few skincare myths. Some of these will surprise you just as they surprised me.
- Dark skinned people don’t need sunscreen
This has to be the most common skincare myth there is. Melanin is the compound that determines the darkness of our skin. It makes it less likely for you to be sunburnt but this won’t protect you form harmful radiation from the sun rays. These harmful rays can cause cancer and premature ageing. So, my melanin beauties please use sunscreen.
- The higher the SPF, the better the protection
There are three types of UV rays from the sun: UVA, UVB and UVC. The UVA rays alter your skin pigmentation by penetrating deep into the skin to result in a tan. UVB rays are the little devils that cause sunburns. These rays also damage your skin’s DNA and cause photoaging, pigment changes, and even cancerous tumours. UVC rays are harmless as they are absorbed by the atmosphere and don’t make it to the ground.
The SPF of a sunscreen indicates the amount of protection the product offers from UVB rays or sunburns. Many sunscreens hence needs to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays and that’s where the word BROAD SPECTRUM comes from. There has been limits on the SPF in products because the protection exponentially decreases when increasing SPF. For example, SPF 30 offers about 4% more protection that SPF 15.
- You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day
This is false. The harmful UV radiation cannot be stopped by clouds and you need to wear sunscreen everyday you have to go out. Your skin will thank you as you get older.
- With make up that has SPF in it, you don’t need extra sunscreen
You will need a ridiculous amount of make up on, if your skin is just relying on it for protection against harmful sun rays. Make up with SPF will help a bit but you still need to use sunscreen for maximum protection.
- You skin should feel tight and squeaky clean after washing
This myth has lead believing that the use of harsh cleansers, soaps and scrubbing our faces is the ideal way to clean skin. This leads to compromising the skin barrier and removing the protective oils which results to skin issues like dehydrated sensitive skin, more oily skin, acne, textured skin. Read more about skin barrier here —–à. Use a gentle hydrated cleanser like Cerave followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen.
- Hot water is ideal for your skin and opens up your pores for better cleansing
This strips your skin of its natural protective oils and barriers. Lukewarm works better since the temperature of the skin is around 32degrees Celsius. Also hot water just swells your face and consequently, your pores will be more apparent causing the illusion of open pores. The size of your pores depends more on genetic make up more than anything else.
- You do not need toners for your skin at all
Toners containing alcohol can be extremely drying to the skin causing dead dry skin cell build up. Toners with no alcohol however can be extremely beneficial for your skin. They remove cleanser residue, impurities from water and help the moisturizers to seal in the moisture into the skin. So yes we need toners. Just make sure they are completely alcohol free.
- Oily skin doesn’t need to be moisturized
An absolute fallacy. Excess oils in your skin doesn’t mean it is hydrated. On the contrary, it could be the opposite. Dehydrated skin will compensate by producing extra oil which will result to breakouts. Moisturizers create a protective barrier as well as hydrates and nourishes the skin. Just go for lighter moisturizers but you have to moisturize.
- Pop a pimple to clear it by getting the pus out of there
Ever noticed that when you pop a pimple you get another one around the old one? This is because some of the pus goes deeper and spread under your skin leading to inflammation and scarring. I know it’s tempting but just keep yourself busy and let the pimple disappear by itself. Leave it alone.
- Comedogenic & irritancy rating
It is a number on the 0-5 scale that describes the potential of an ingredient to cause comedones or irritate your skin. 0 means no comedones/irritation and 5 means highly likely to cause problems. I take this with a grain of salt since these ratings were tested on rabbits’ ears which are highly sensitive compared to human skin and also the ingredients were mostly tested undiluted. These ratings are not entirely useless but have quite a number of limitations.
- The more expensive the product, the better it works
I look back at some of the expensive products I’ve bought that turned out to be a complete disaster to my skin and wish I had saved that money. There are some excellent drugstore skincare products that cost less. Choose your products wisely by looking into the ingredients and your skin type instead of price. The expensive prices are mostly a marketing ploy to build the brand’s image.
- Use the same skincare line for all your skincare products
Come on, this is just a marketing strategy for the cosmetic companies to sell. Companies can use different ingredients in different products which synergize well and there are products which can cause harm when used together. Also depending on your skin, different products from different skincare lines may work better for you.
- You should only use natural and homemade skincare products
However much I prefer natural products, some synthetic products have been good to me while some natural products have wrecked havoc on my skin. Use what works for you. Not all natural and home made products will work for you.
- There is only one correct way for skincare
There is no one size fits all in skincare. Everybody has different skin types hence figuring out the products and regime that work for you depends on learning more about your skin type and even a bit of trail and error on your part.
We’ve all been victims of these skincare myths at one point. I hope this has clarified a few of the misinformation out there😊