Skincare Myths Debunked By Experts

By Abigail 12 months ago

1. Rough exfoliation is best.

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Are you vigorously scrubbing your face when washing to make sure that *all* of the dirt is off? You might want to stop. Skincare experts agree that rough exfoliation could actually damage your skin's natural barrier - especially if you're using something like a physical exfoliator. Instead, be gentle.

2. Hot water is best for washing your face.

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With dodgy water pressure, sometimes you can't help if your tap water comes out boiling hot - but you shouldn't necessarily use this for washing your face. Lukewarm water is best for cleansing, as hot water can cause redness, itching, and even cause your skin to peel! At the very least, it'll leave your skin feeling tight and dry, leaving you having to compensate with more moisturizer.

3. You should always by hypoallergenic products.

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Do you even know what hypoallergenic means? In essence, it details products that are less likely to cause allergic reactions to skin - so, they might be gentler and cause less problems for sensitive skin, too. However, there's not really a clear legal definition, so products can label themselves hypoallergenic without properly testing it out. If you are avoiding specific ingredients, it's always better to just check the bottle anyway.

4. It doesn't matter what order you use products.

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Do you sometimes mix up the order you put products on your skin? Maybe you just feel like using a serum today and leaving out your moisturizer? Stop! Experts agree that order does in fact matter. Certain products need to be applied before others, in order to build up that natural barrier and make sure they're absorbed correctly - so always check.

5. You don't need to apply SPF to your lips.

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Actually, though your lips seem like a different kind of barrier, they're actually very like skin. The lip membrane is actually just 3-5 layers thick, compared to 16 layers on skin. Because they're still affected by sunlight, and they're a sensitive area anyway, it's important that you still use an SPF lip-balm on your lips.

6. You don't need a moisturizer if your skin is oily.

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Hands up who has skipped moisturizing on days when your skin feels quite oily and slick? It's seems natural not to apply more product to something that's already quite 'moisturized', but actually, applying a moisturizer can help balance out your oil production and result in less oily skin in the long run!

7. A higher SPF is always better.

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There's a lot of confusion over what SPF (sun protection factor) actually means. In fact, the difference between each SPF is quite small - SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays, while SPF blocks 98%. What's more important is that you choose an SPF that has a broad range of protection from both UVA and UVB rays. And in general, always choose at least SPF 30.

8. Dark circles mean you're tired.

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This isn't necessarily true. Experts are in agreement that there are lots of things that can cause dark circles, from genetics to skin dryness, which means that pinning it on tiredness means you could be ignoring the real problem. So, it's best to consider different treatments and eye creams, prioritizing ingredients like vitamin C or retinol depending on the core problem.

9. Your pores can open and close.

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Did you ever get told that hot water opens your pores and cold water closes them? Well, that's not really right. Actually, what's happening is that your pores are stretching out. When this happens, and they become clogged with dirt and oil, they can look bigger. If you're looking to reduce the size of your pores, think about cleansing your face correctly and being more gentle with your skin.

10. Coconut oil is a good moisturizer.

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It's part of a new skincare trend: turning to natural, non-synthetic products to solve skincare issues. But should you really be applying coconut oil to your skin? Experts agree on 'no'. Oil is a very rich oil, and by rubbing it on your face you could be adding extra congestion to your pores.

11. You can shrink your pores.

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There are lots of fancy skincare products and treatments that tell you that they can actually reduce the size of your pores. Sadly, this is mostly down to genetics. But there's a caveat to this myth - by cleansing daily and staying up to speed with your skincare regimen you can stop them from becoming stretched out and clogged.

12. You only need SPF during the summer.

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This is probably one of the biggest skincare misconceptions! And in fact, you're wrong to put away your sunscreen in the winter. Actually, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate clouds, meaning it's still hitting your skin even in winter. If you don't fancy applying sunscreen every day (for example, if you have sensitive skin), try just stying out of the sun or wearing a cap.

13. Facial exercises can reduce wrinkles.

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You might have seen women doing this at the end of long flights - doing elaborate finger movements across their face to improve their skin and look more awake. But do face exercises do anything? Not all experts are convinced - though it doesn't look like it'll do your skin any harm.

14. Toothpaste is good for acne.

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It's an old wives' tale: putting toothpaste on acne will help clear it up overnight. In reality, you should steer clear of applying toothpaste to spots. This is because toothpaste has been formulated for teeth, not skin, and the differing pH levels could actually cause irritation.

15. You can outgrow acne.

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Acne is seen as a symptom of puberty and nothing more. You'll grow out of it, right? Well, (and we know this isn't the answer you want), you might not grow out of acne. This is because acne can be caused by genetics and hormones, even into adulthood. However, a good skincare regimen and steering clear of any irritants can help keep your skin clear.

16. You should only shower once a day.

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Showering any more than once a day will just dry your skin out, right? Well... no. Really, it doesn't matter how long or how often you shower, as long as you're remembering to moisturize your skin once you get out. A good body cream can also help the rest of your skin stay hydrated all day.

17. But you should wash your face as much as possible.

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Actually, over-washing your face can be as much a problem as not washing at all. This is because by treating your skin with cleansers and warm water too often, you might be stripping your skin of its natural protective layer. This, in turn, can result in red and irritated skin. So, try to stick to just twice a day, unless you're sweating or putting other products on your skin.

18. People with darker skin don't need sunscreen.

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Unfortunately, this also isn't true. People with darker skin may have more melanin, but that doesn't negate the negatively impact of UV rays - including skin cancer. The sun can also make your skin age faster, causing more wrinkles. So, remember to apply every day (even on cloudy summer days!)

19. Greasy food causes acne.

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Actually, eating greasy food on its own won't cause you to breakout. However, there is something about oilier food that you should be wary of - and that's touching your skin with greasy hands. If you cook over a deep-fat fryer often, you might also notice changes to your pores, and that's because the excess oil can clog your skin. However, eating greasy food on its own won't necessarily give you acne.

20. Drinking water can prevent acne.

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If you're getting a lot of breakouts, you might reach for your water bottle, thinking that keeping more hydrated will clear up your skin. And while that's true to an extent, it won't necessarily address root causes of your acne. However, drinking water can help your immune system, which might help your body fight acne better.

21. You'll get acne if you don't wash your face.

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Forgotten to wash your face one evening and automatically assumed that your next breakout is because of that? Really, it's not that simple. Breakouts are caused by a huge combination of factors, and neglecting your cleanser once in a while won't necessarily be the root cause.

22. 'Natural' products are better for your skin.

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Like 'hypoallergenic', 'natural' is a skincare label that most people don't understand. Again, there's no legal definition for the term, meaning most brands can use it without explaining why it's there. In the end, you should still be looking at the quality of individual ingredients, rather than being tempted by labels.

23. You don't need retinol unless you're 50+.

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Retinol is a type of vitamin A that can help boost collagen production. For many years, people have assumed that you only need to use this once your skin starts aging. In fact, some skincare experts agree that you should start using retinol in your early-20s (yes, that early!)

24. You don't need sunscreen in the winter.

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Unfortunately, this one is as untrue as not using sunscreen on a cloudy day! UV rays occur all year round, even if the days are naturally shorter in the winter. Especially if you're hitting the slopes, you should make sure to apply at least SPF 30 every day of the winter season.

25. You need a toner if you have acne-prone skin.

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Some people turn to a toner thinking it's going to solve their acne issues by keeping their skin cleaner. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, and a toner alone isn't going to clear up your skin. Instead, a toner should be one part of a multi-step skincare regimen to prevent the risk of breakouts.

26. You should exfoliate every day.

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Exfoliation can keep your skin looking clearer and brighter - but it's not something you should be turning to every single day. This is because especially chemical exfoliants can be rough on your skin, and your skin will need time to recover and produce oils again. If you have acne-prone skin, you can probably go up to 3-4 times a week, though.

27. You only need sunscreen when you're outdoors.

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Did you know that UV rays can burn you even through a window? So if your desk is right next to a south-facing window, it's a good idea to apply sunscreen every day (though you should be doing this anyway!) In fact, some experts say that if it's bright enough to read a book by the window, you should have sunscreen on.

28. If it burns, it means the product is working.

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We've all experienced that little burning or tingling sensation when your put a new product on your skin. Isn't that the feeling of your skin getting really clean? Not really. In fact, some products may do this more than others, and, of course, if the burning feels too uncomfortable you should definitely stop using the product.

29. At home skincare products are as good as cosmetic procedures.

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Sadly, sometimes a professional is always better than an at-home products. If you're really concerned about the state of your skin, see a real dermatologist and see what they say. In the end, a cosmetic procedure is going to be a completely different experience of your skin, and you'll see different results.

30. You should always avoid fragrance in products.

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You've probably seen the word 'parfum' in the ingredients list on some of your skincare products. But is it really that bad? In reality, it's hard to tell if these fragrances are synthetic or natural a lot of the time, and only a small proportion of fragrances (out of thousands of possible molecules) are known to irritate skin. So, you might be freaking out over nothing.

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