In this age of information it’s very easy to inform yourself on a topic with a tap of your fingers; this also means that misinformation is easily spread, not only through social media platforms but also by word of mouth. By believing certain skincare myths you might be damaging your complexion or simply wasting your time with treatments with poor efficacy. Read on to find out the most common skincare myths you should avoid
Myth #1 – You don’t need to use moisturiser if your skin is oily
It makes a little sense that if your skin is oily applying a moisturiser will only contribute to the overall oily appearance and clamminess already present on your skin. This myth is propagated with the idea that applying this moisturiser will clog your pores, increase overall shine and even worsen breakouts, but is there any truth to this?
Well, it depends. Using a dense, comedogenic moisturiser on your face whether or not you have oily skin can indeed cause breakouts and clogged pores. It really depends on the type of moisturiser used. If you have oily skin you should be sticking to light, oil-free moisturisers; preferably gel based.
Moisturising is a critical step in any skincare regime, oily skin or not. When you wash, exfoliate or tone your face you’re effectively stripping the skin of some of it’s natural oils required for healthy skin function. This must therefore be replenished afterwards, which is achieved through moisturising. This moisturiser keeps the skin hydrated and acts as a protective barrier.
If you do not moisturise your face after cleansing it can aggravate skin oiliness. When the skin is stripped of it’s natural oils, the sebaceous glands (the glands responsible for sebum (oil) secretion) begin to overproduce sebum to counter this dryness. It’s through this mechanism that skin oiliness can be worsened, leading to further clogged pores and acne breakouts.
Moral of the story: Make sure your moisturise twice a day after cleansing using the correct product for your skin type.
Myth #2 – Pore strips are great for cleaning out your pores, repeated use is perfectly fine
Pore strips are effectively a sheet of strong glue which are attached to the skin and gently removed, thus peeling away those contaminants and blackheads from your pores. Not only does this remove blackheads, it also removes the top-most layer of skin, as well as hair follicles and sebaceous filaments.
Those little dots you see on your nose might not be blackheads at all, but sebaceous filaments. It’s very satisfying to see all the ‘gunk’ on a pore strip after removal, but it isn’t all ‘bad’. Sebaceous filaments are a small amount of sebum that channel oil flow to the skin’s surface. These are completely normal and removal can cause dry skin or lead to the sebaceous glands overproducing sebum which can lead to an oily complexion.
These pore strips can also remove the outermost layer of skin, this can damage natural barrier function, cause redness and irritation and lead the skin more prone to environmental effects. Some anecdotal evidence also shows permanent enlargement of pores with repeated use of these strips.
So, while they may be a quick, easy fix to your blackhead problem they aren’t necessarily doing your skin any wonders. You should instead focus on creating a skincare routine that is tailored to your skin type, to prevent clogged pores and blackhead formation in the first place.
Read more: Staying away from pore strips
Myth #3 – Coconut oil is an excellent, natural moisturiser for all skin types
This is a myth that spread like wildfire and many still continue to hold it as true. Coconut oil does contain some acids which possess anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties but this is almost completely undone considering how comedogenic the oil is. Coconut oil is rated 4 on the comedogenic scale out of a possible 5.
Using coconut oil on the body is usually perfectly safe and it sinks right in to deal with dry skin issues. However, it should be kept away from the face as more often than not it will clog pores and aggravate breakouts, especially for those already prone to acne.
If you’re looking for all-natural moisturisers, try aloe vera gel. It’s anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties make it an excellent product for all skin types. Read more: How Aloe Vera Can Benefit Your Skin
Myth #4 – Anti-Aging creams will boost collagen production and prevent aging
While keeping your skin hydrated is the first step in slowing down aging, most anti-aging creams which claim to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles aren’t doing much…..at all.
Aging skin is a complex process which is a product of diet, sun exposure, as well as the natural decrease in collagen and elastin which comes with age. Collagen is the key factor here, it is responsible for the skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Most of these creams available on the high-street are simply dense moisturisers which do little to stimulate collagen production. You should be looking instead for treatments containing retinol and glycolic acid, ingredients which have been known to stimulate collagen production and therefore reduce the signs of aging.
Myth #5 – Natural skincare remedies are just as effective as professional formulations
Many turn to natural skincare remedies out of fear of some of the ingredients added in common skincare products or simply because they prefer to know what’s going on their skin.
But are these natural remedies as effective? Likely not
The biggest problem with many natural remedies is that they lack scientific evidence to support the claims made; the evidence is simply anecdotal. Professional dermatologist formulations instead use ingredients which have undergone the scientific method to tackle your skin concerns. Examples of this include salicylic acid, a potent acne-fighting ingredient and retinol, a derivative of vitamin-a which promotes collagen production and fights aging.
That being said, natural remedies aren’t necessarily bad for your skin; they might simply be ineffective. Some natural ingredients have been seen to exhibit anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties however, examples include tea tree oil and aloe vera gel.
Myth #6 – Hot water opens up your pores for a deeper clean
The biggest myth here is that pores can even open and close, pores do not have muscles that control their size and therefore cannot open or close regardless of temperature or product exposure.
Hot water therefore doesn’t ‘open’ your pores like many think, but it can help to get a deeper clean. Hot water and steaming will soften the debris in your pores allowing for easier extractions.