Everyone can recite an urban legend or two but the same concept applies to skincare. Have you heard the one about applying Preparation H to depuff eyes? Or that eating chocolate will cause pimples? Whether you call them beauty urban legends or just beauty myths, we’re here to set the record straight. Here’s a look at some of the most common beauty myths – debunked.
1. It Must Be Good if It Burns
Pain does not equal gain when it comes to a burning feeling on your face. Some products, such as vitamin C serums and AHAs (alpha hydroxy) and BHAs (beta hydroxyl can give you a slight tingling sensation, but it should not feel like your face is burning. If you apply a product and it feels like your face is burning, remove it immediately.
2. Shrink Pimples With Toothpaste
Some people cling to the idea that a dab of toothpaste on a pimple can help dry it out. While it is always handy when a product can pull double duty, toothpaste is not meant for the skin as it contains foaming agents and abrasives – and will do nothing for pimples. Treat breakouts with products formulated just for acne.
3. You Need to Switch Up Your Products
Sometimes if we change shampoo at a hotel or at a friend’s house, it seems that our hair is instantly better and it’s chalked up to a change of product. The same concept doesn’t apply to skincare products though. Some people swear that products stop working after prolonged use. That’s simply not true. If you find a product that works for your skin and your budget, stick with it. If a product truly isn’t working for you, it could be down to a change in your skin, the environment or hormones. In other words, it could be you rather than the product.
4. It is Ok to Sleep in Your Makeup
We know that when you’re exhausted the last thing you want to do is haul yourself to the bathroom and wash your face. But consider this- going to sleep with a full face of makeup, dirt and sweat will not only streak your pillow but can lead to dry, dull looking skin as well as potential breakouts and clogged pores. Take the extra minute to wash your face and if you are feeling particularly tired, consider soaking a cotton ball in micellar water for a quick cleanse.
5. You Can Skip Sunscreen on a Cloudy Day
You might be tempted to skip the sunscreen on a winter day or when it’s cloudy. This is a common misconception but a dangerous one. Sunscreen is meant to be used every day, not just when you’re at the beach as sun damage is cumulative. Always wear a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF every single day, no matter the weather report and the time of year.
6. Once You’ve Treated Dark Spots, They’re Gone
There is no such thing as a quick and easy fix when it comes to treating hyperpigmentation and dark spots. You have to use a lightening product religiously and consistently- otherwise the dark spots will come back. Hyperpigmented spots will also return from sun exposure so make sure to wear sunscreen every day.
7. Never Put Oil on Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, the last thing you’d think the last thing you want to do is add more oi to your facel. But oil based cleansers work wonders for cleansing the skin without stripping it – which is important especially for those with oily skin, as a harsh cleanse can kick oil production into overdrive. Oil based cleansers leave the skin feeling soft, cleansed and nourished.
8. I Can’t Use Retinol If I Have Sensitive Skin
Retinols are some of the best anti-aging ingredients around, as they help soften the look of fine lines and fade dark spots. But if you have sensitive skin, you may think you can’t handle retinol. But retinol products vary in their strength, so if you have sensitive skin, a mild, over-the-counter retinol could be a better choice than a stronger prescription strength product – just read the label carefully. As always with retinols, start off slowly using a pea sized amount and see how your skin handles it before revving up the frequency.
9. Preparation H Gets Rid of Puffy Eye Bags
Hemorrhoid creams such as Preparation H work by constricting blood vessels and are anti-inflammatory, so in theory they seem perfect for treating under eye bags. However, these creams are not designed for the eye area and can cause harm if they get into the eyes. Long term use can cause thinning of the skin around the eyes.
10. You Can Never Exfoliate Too Much
Exfoliation is a key part of any skincare routine as dead skin cells can make the face look dry and dull. But there can be too much of a good thing if you overdo it. Too much exfoliation will leave skin looking red and irritated and perhaps even raw. When you start to exfoliate, start slowly by doing it once or twice a week and see how your skin handles it before ramping up – a general rule of thumb would be that two to three times a week is enough. Opt for a chemical exfoliation using a mild lactic or glycolic acid which is more gentle on the skin than a physical, grainy scrub.
11. Natural Skincare is Better for You
Finding the right products for your skin is a very personal matter, as everyone’s skin can react differently to the same product. Natural skincare is not necessarily better as plenty of natural ingredients such as essential oils can still can irritation. It is also important to remember that some ingredients that sound synthetic – like a “chemical peel”—are using acids derived from sugar cane or a fruit acid. Cosmetics made without preservatives are also more susceptible to outbreaks of bacteria and won’t last as long. What works best for you comes down to personal preference.
12. Tanning Beds are Safer than the Sun
Put this one in the absolute “no” category. According to the America Academy of Dermatology, just one session in a tanning bed can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma) by 20%. If you really want to have a bronzed look, reach for a self tanning product instead.
13. Rubbing Alcohol Dries Up Pimple
When you have a pimple, you want to do everything you can to “dry it out” and some people turn to a dab of rubbing alcohol. Don’t. Save the rubbing alcohol for cleaning things like tweezers or your phone’s screen and don’t let it near your face. It is too harsh for the skin. Instead look for a product that is specially formulated to dry out pimples- look for salicylic acid or tea tree oil.
14. You Don’t Need to Moisturize if You Have Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, the last thing you may want to do is add more moisture (and shine) to your face. But this can backfire. Cleansing can strip the skin of its natural oils and leaving it feeling dry and tight – a slather of moisturizer prevents that tight feeling and can help balance the skin. Also some people who think they have oily skin may actually have dehydrated skin – which also needs moisturizer. Anyone with oily skin should use a moisturizer formulated for their skin type.
15. Hot Water Opens the Pores
Do you take steaming hot showers thinking that you’re opening your pores, and therefore getting them cleaner? Again, another myth. Pores don’t open and close like a clam. Although facials do include a steam, it is’;t meant to open your pores- what it does is loosen the sebum in the pores to make extraction easier. So skip the hot, steamy showers and wash your face in lukewarm water instead.
16. Greasy Food and Chocolate Cause Acne
Your mother probably told you to lay off pizza and French fries for your complexion as a teen. But sorry, mom, this one doesn’t hold up. Acne is caused by many factors but greasy food isn’t one of them. Breakouts are caused by a perfect storm of hormones and overactive sebaceous glands. But pss you should still listen to your mother and reduce the amount of greasy food you consume for your heart, rather than your face.
17. You Can Change the Size of Your Pores
Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do to change the size of your pores or make them disappear- pores are tiny hair follicles so you can’t get rid of them. Pore size is determined by genetics so on one level you have to accept what you have. But you can help make pores look smaller by exfoliating the dead skin cells that are inside them. The best way to do this is by using a product with salicylic acid.
18. Wearing Makeup Every Day is Bad For Your Skin
Many people focus on letting their skin “breathe” and think that makeup gets in the way of this. Wearing a normal amount of makeup isn’t the problem as it is formulated to let skin “breathe.” The real issue is not removing makeup at night, which can lead to clogged pores. Always wash your face thoroughly but gently and use eye makeup remover if needed.
19. You Can Use The Same Products Day and Night
Although we wish this one were true, for the sake of our wallets and simplicity, it is not. The products you use during the day should be designed to protect your skin from the sun and the elements, while also keeping it hydrated and balanced. The heavy lifting happens at night, when you can use products to help repair and restore skin. For example, retinol products should be applied at night and there’s no need to apply a cream with an SPF before bedtime.
20. If You Get Enough Sleep Your Under Eye Circles Will Go Away
Although a lack of sleep can certainly contribute to under eye circles, it’s not the only cause. Dark shadows under the eyes can also be chalked up to anemia, allergies and dehydration. Products can help lighten and brighten the eye area, and concealer works wonders in the meantime.