For decades, we’ve been bombarded with conflicting pieces of advice about skincare.
Companies that are trying to sell us something are the biggest culprits, promising to do some serious magic. But some things just aren’t possible and, frankly, our dermatologists are tired of having to be the bearers of bad news.
Dermatologists and other skincare professionals have doled out conflicting advice as well, but they’re generally there to keep our expectations on track.
Here are 12 skincare ideas that people think are true that really make them cringe:
1. Thinking you can “shrink” your poresFlickr Source: Flickr
Your pores do not open and close. They have no muscles, so they can’t.
Is your mind blown?
How many products promise to shrink our pores? How many promise to open them so we can cleanse them?
Well, they’re lying to you.
Warm water or steam can soften the gunk (called sebum) inside your pores, making it easier to clean, but there’s literally nothing you can do – outside of plastic surgery – to get your pores to do anything other than be cleaner.
2. Skipping moisturizer if you have oily skinFlickr Source: Flickr
A loss of moisture is one of the things that can increase oil production. Have you ever had the misfortune of seeing a greasy AND dry, flaky face in winter?
You need moisturizer for that!
There are special moisturizers specially made for oily skin that are lightweight and non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t clog mores.
3. Getting a tan to clear up acneFlickr Source: Flickr
Any kind of tanning is going to do far more harm than good to your skin.
And there’s no evidence at all that the sun’s rays affect breakouts in any way. In fact, if you see an improvement, it’s likely that your redness is just not standing out less due to your tan.
This one irks dermatologists who know that people are putting their lives in danger when they sit out in the sun without protection.
4. Skipping sunscreen when staying insidePxfuel Source: Pxfuel
Everyone needs sunscreen every day unless you live in a windowless bunker.
You need it in winter, you need it on cloudy days, and you need to apply it more than once because it wears off in a few hours (less if you’re swimming or wiping at your face often).
If you can see the sun, it can see you too and damage your skin . And it’s not just skin cancer you might be concerned about.
If you’re stressed about premature wrinkles and loss of collagen and elastin in your face, all the expensive products in the world won’t do you any good unless you’re also protecting your skin from the sun.
5. Popping pimples in the hopes they’ll go away fasterPixabay Source: Pixabay
Don’t touch your face. And don’t create an open, oozing wound by popping your pimples. That’ll only make things worse.
If you have an important event and a huge pimple, stop by your dermatologist for a quick, sterile extraction.
Even if a pimple looks ready to erupt, you’re going to have far less scarring if you just leave it alone. Otherwise, you run the chance of pushing the contents deeper into your skin and cause inflammation (which makes it look even bigger), leave a scar, and spreading the bacteria inside.
6. Obsessing over “hypoallergenic” products for sensitive skinOpen Food Facts Source: Open Food Facts
Marketers use words that have no meaning – and the labels on beauty products can be very misleading. Without close monitoring of these claims by federal agencies, companies get away with saying all sorts of things.
There’s no product that’s guaranteed not to irritate your skin. So if you insist on splurging on hypoallergenic products – especially in lieu of buying important things like high-quality sunscreen and moisturizer – you could be throwing your money away.
Sure, some of them might work for you. But not because there’s a misleading word on the label.
In fact, most “hypoallergenic” products have been found to include at least one ingredient known to irritate skin.
7. You insist on “all natural” ingredients in your skincare productsNeedPix Source: NeedPix
You know what’s also “natural”? Poison ivy.
Let’s get over this fear of “chemicals” that “clean beauty” companies have been trying to pound into us for years so that we’ll buy their products instead.
Sure, ingredients like BPAs are better avoided, but there’s a good chance that safe and effective products are going to have some ingredients you can’t pronounce.
There’s simply not enough oversight to monitor all the claims companies make, so you’re better off asking your dermatologist about data-driven formulations instead of falling into the pseudoscience traps laid out for us.
8. You expect your moisturizer to eliminate wrinklesPxfuel Source: Pxfuel
As we age, our skin loses collagen and elastin. How fast it happens has a bit to do with genetics, but also with sun exposure, smoking, etc.
Once our skin loses those things, nothing we slather on our faces can bring them back.
A good moisturizer or hyaluronic acid might help plump the skin or make it look brighter – and that can give the illusion of making wrinkles look less obvious, but nothing short of an invasive procedure (from Botox to facelifts) is going to eliminate that drooping skin.
Wear your sunscreen, stop smoking, use your moisturizer to trap in moisture, and you can plump your skin up.
Just don’t throw away that moisturizer because you still have wrinkles after a week of using it.
9. You assume the SPF in your makeup will protect you all dayFlickr Source: Flickr
First of all, if you’re going to fend off wrinkles and other sun damage, you need at least an SPF 30 on your face (and neck and ears!). Most cosmetics top out at SPF 15.
But even if you put on a tinted balm or foundation with SPF in the morning, it will have worn off by late afternoon. And you probably don’t want to put something tinted on all the places that need protection (not to mention that you need a good layer of sunscreen to do any good and you might not like a thick coat of foundation).
That doesn’t mean you should skip cosmetics with SPF, but just think of them as a boost to your normal sunscreen routine instead.
10. You think freckles are inevitablePexels Source: Pexels
We have lots of friends with freckles and there’s been a big movement to embrace freckles rather than cover them. We get it. And you should absolutely love yourself the way you are.
But freckles only occur when activated by sunlight.
No one is ever born with freckles. You have to have unprotected sun exposure to make them appear.
You might be born with the genetics that predisposes you to get freckles easily, but a freckle is a sign that your skin should have been better-protected.
11. You insist on expensive products and skip active ingredients with evidence behind themPxfueel Source: Pxfueel
Some of us have grown attached to a few luxury products. And that’s not a big deal.
But if you’re dropping all your cash on the latest algae-laden $400 moisturizer or something in a pretty bottle that doesn’t have the necessary ingredients, then your self-care routine needs some reevaluation.
Things like retinoids, Vitamin C, and niacinamide all have solid evidence behind them. Snail slime? Not so much.
12. You instinctively trust products that say “clinically proven” or “dermatologist approved”Needpix Source: Needpix
Once again, those are marketing terms. They mean almost nothing, and there’s certainly no guarantee that they’re safe and non-toxic just because of what the bottle says.
It’s really a shame that we’ve put profit over people, but it’s the truth. And that means you have to do your research when it comes to skincare as well as give products a fair chance to work (preferably in consultation with a dermatologist).
Don’t just trust the packaging.
And if you can’t afford a trip to the dermatologist, there are some telemedicine alternatives that may help if you just need a quick piece of advice.
Just keep in mind that magazines and websites that advertise products are often paid to pimp products – so don’t give in to the business of beauty!
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Source: H/t: Brightside , The Atlantic , American Academy of Dermatology Association