Skincare Myths You Need to Scrap
While there is plenty of advice on how to care for your skin these days, it can be difficult to break old habits. We all know that everyone has a skincare tip to share and the "secret" to beautiful, glowing skin, but some of that information is just flat out wrong. Whether they are tips from our moms, aunts, or friends, bad skincare advice is floating around. Here are some "tips" to avoid.
You need to exfoliate every day
Abrasive scrubs ruin the skin barrier (can be physical or manual exfoliation). Yes, perhaps we all used that St. Ives Apricot Scrub in our teen years when we didn’t know any better, but abrasive materials like apricot pits, walnut scrubs, or even microbeads can be too rough on the skin.
While not all types of physical exfoliation are bad, certain ingredients can create micro-tears in your skin leading to more inflammation, redness, and even more breakouts. Physical exfoliants don’t just include products, they are also washcloths, brushes, or facial sponges that can be helpful if exfoliating the skin if used gently. Over-exfoliation can also happen with chemical exfoliants.
It can be a vicious cycle of breaking out, having dry or dull skin, and then exfoliating hoping for clean and bright skin- only to get the opposite. Signs of over-exfoliation can range from irritated and inflamed skin, skin that is suddenly sensitive to other products, or the occurrence of small breakouts.
Exfoliating is a great way to improve the skin and encourage cell turnover but keep an eye on how often or how aggressively you are exfoliating. Damaging your skin’s barrier causes more harm than help and can take quite some time to recover from.
Oily skin doesn't need a moisturizer
The thought of putting moisturizer on an already oily face makes a lot of people cringe. But moisturizing oily or acne-prone skin is a must for a healthy complexion. While acne-prone types do have more oil on their face, it doesn’t mean the skin is properly hydrated. External factors like pollution or weather can dry out the skin and can cause more oil production if your skin’s moisture barrier is compromised.
Moisturizing helps maintain a balanced skin environment so that the skin it’s doesn't have to produce excess oil. Dehydrated skin can result in inflammation, breakouts, and irritation, even on oily skin. The best option for oily skin needs is a lightweight and non-comedogenic (non-clogging) moisturizer.
Goldilocks Syndrome- Too little or too much?
“You need a ten-step skincare routine.”
“You only need this one product.”
True. And false. Okay, we’re cheating here a little. But whether you fall on the less is more or more is more side of skincare, it really depends on your skin type. They are both wrong and right. Depending on the skin concerns you can be overloading your skin when using multiple products.
With too many products, the two factors that could be lessening the effectiveness of your skincare routine are absorption and counteracting ingredients. When you use multiple products and you notice that they are beginning to pill you might need to reconsider your routine and how you are applying your products. Just like sweater pills, you might see clumps or rolls of your products balling up on your face with too many thick products. This means that you could either be using too much or not layering your products in the correct order, causing them to not be properly absorbed.
Another area of concern is when using multiple products with active ingredients. Some compounds, such as retinoids and vitamin C, minimize the effectiveness of the other when used at the same time. Also, using too many active ingredients can actually sensitize the skin in the long run. If you want to get the benefits of them all, try setting up a schedule where you alternate the use of your products.
In the too little category, washing your face with only water just doesn’t cut it. Skin health is vitally important, especially with environmental and lifestyle factors. A simple routine with a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF is necessary to maintain a balanced and clear complexion. Too little products can either result in dry or excessively oily skin, along with no protection against the elements. If you’re not into having too many products, opt for a simple day and night routine to at the very least maintain your skin health.
Toothpaste will clear up a zit
Just...no. The theory goes that because toothpaste contains ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or essential oils which can help dry out acne, that it’s great to stop pimples in their tracks. The problem is that there are additional ingredients in the toothpaste that can aggravate the skin and perhaps cause further irritation and slow down the healing process.
The best way to deal with a zit is the one way nobody really wants to… with patience. If you can catch a pimple early and apply a topical zit zapper usually you can minimize the effect or reduce the time span. If it’s inevitably coming then the best option is to keep it clean, and hands-off. Prevention is key for acne.
Always double check your skin advice, even if it’s from your most trusted BFF. Sometimes bad information spreads quickly and you could be doing your skin more harm than help.
Luckily there are a lot of helpful blogs and videos that can help explain active ingredients, best practices, and helpful tips. Skincare should be tailored to your needs and with a little experimentation and patience, you can find a routine that works best for you.