7 MOST COMMON SKINCARE MYTHS
You care about your skin - and want to do your best to keep it looking great and feeling good at any age. You try to stay informed about the latest products and skincare advice.
But some of the things you hear and read about beauty may not be based on facts – maybe you recognize some of the myths below?
MYTH 1: YOUR SKIN CAN BECOME IMMUNE TO SKINCARE PRODUCTS
It is in theory possible for your skin to become desensitized to some active ingredients, just like your body’s biological response to certain drugs can diminish when they are given continuously or repeatedly. However, this phenomenon is very, very uncommon with skincare and usually only happens with topical steroids in conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
The culprit behind this general misconception is most likely retinoids (Vitamin A). Most people believe that retinol products “stop working” after some time and therefore their dermatologists prescribe a stronger concentration after 3 months. But your skin is just building up a tolerance for the ingredient’s side effects so you will start seeing less peeling and redness. The product is still working as well as it did in the beginning, but you are now able to tolerate a stronger concentration, if needed.
If you use skin care products that are suited to your skin type, and made with high quality, well-tolerated ingredients, they will continue to benefit your skin. However, you should adjust your regime according to your skin’s needs as they inevitably change over time. As the body’s cell regeneration slows down, skin loses its ability to stay naturally hydrated. So, a cream that worked well in your twenties might no longer be nourishing and hydrating enough in your thirties. Also, the simple fact that your skin becomes more dehydrated might mean that products no longer penetrate as well as they used to. Using a gentle exfoliating product twice a week will help remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and improve product efficacy. Your favorite serum or cream might also just have lost its efficacy due to ingredient breakdown. All active ingredients break down in cosmetic formulations over time, so make sure not to hold on to products that are past their prime. Ideally, look for products that have a clearly marked expiry date to make sure the formula is still potent when you use it.
MYTH 2: IF YOU START USING ANTI-AGING SKINCARE TOO EARLY, YOU WILL HAVE PROBLEMS FINDING EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS LATER
Skin does not become ‘lazy’ or dependent on a specific product. Your specific skin concerns will determine your ideal skincare routine.
A rich anti-aging cream will most likely be too heavy for someone in their early twenties, but if they are struggling with extremely dry skin, it could be the perfect choice.
‘Anti-aging’ is a very widely used and loosely defined term. While young skin may not benefit from ingredients like retinoids that increase cellular turnover, a product with vitamin C may be an excellent choice for its antioxidant properties, protecting the skin against environmental and UV-damage.
A sufficient skincare routine for young skin could be as simple as: 1. cleanse with a product with gentle exfoliating properties, 2. moisturize and 3. apply sun protection. With time, more products can be added to meet the needs of more mature skin: face serum, face oil, face mist, moisturizing mask, and/or eye cream.
You will adapt and add to the regimen along the way – perhaps a foaming cleanser was perfect when you were younger, but a more nourishing cream cleanser is a better choice with age.
MYTH 3. THE HIGHER THE SPF OF YOUR SUNSCREEN, THE BETTER PROTECTION YOUR SKIN GETS
The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s UVB radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen and with SPF 50 it would take 50 times longer. Another way to look at this is that a sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB radiation, whereas SPF 50 blocks 98%. In a perfect laboratory setting this is a considerable statistical difference - SPF 30 allows 50% more UV radiation to pass onto your skin compared to SPF 50. But there is a big "but” here. Sunscreen is never used in ideal laboratory conditions. In real-life conditions high SPF numbers often give people a false sense of security. They use less of the product, forget to reapply and do not seek shade. All factors that lead to damaging levels of UVB and UVA exposure.
Much more important than the SPF factor, is to use sunscreen every day as sun damage is the number one contributor to skin aging. Additionally, it is best to use a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that does not include potentially harmful chemical sun filters.
Mineral sunscreen provides protection against the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation and is generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin because the ingredients are not absorbed into the skin itself. Instead, mineral sunscreens’ physical filters stay on the surface of the skin and deflect UV radiation. This also means that your skin is protected immediately after the application of mineral sunscreen.
Mineral sunscreen formulations are better than ever before. Previously, they were white, thick, and pasty – but new technology gives us mineral sunscreens that are clear and invisible on the skin. Some even have added innovative ingredients that give beautiful complexions that minimize the need for foundation.
Combining SPF30 with clothing, sunglasses and a hat is ideal for optimal sun protection.
MYTH 4: EVERYONE WILL EVENTUALLY GET AGE SPOTS AS THEY GET OLDER
Fortunately, this is not true! Age spots are actually not ‘spots’ as a result of aging, they are a result of cumulative years of sun damage.
Simply put, if you are protecting your skin from sun damage, you will also prevent age spots; do not use tanning beds, avoid the sun when the UV index is high, apply sunscreen before going outdoors, reapply every two hours or after bathing, and cover your skin with protective clothing.
Hyperpigmentation / melasma is a common skin concern, most often brought on by hormonal changes and worsened by sun exposure. Hyperpigmentation is most common in women and is usually most visible on the forehead, chin, and above the upper lip.
The pigmented areas can be treated and minimized with specific skincare. There is one proven, well-loved, and highly effective ingredient that works wonders on skin discoloration, vitamin C!
Vitamin C has excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. This ingredient supports your skin's natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells. Because vitamin C is highly acidic, the skin is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin - naturally occurring protein fibers that provide plumping and firming effects.
But vitamin C is especially interesting as it helps to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, preventing melanin production (which causes skin discoloration like dark spots and hyperpigmentation), and significantly reduces pigmentation without lightening the normal skin.
With continued use, vitamin C helps prevent dark spots from forming in the first place.
MYTH 5: YOU DON’T NEED SUNSCREEN IF YOUR MAKEUP HAS SPF
Wearing foundation with SPF is good, but a single thin layer of makeup should not be the only preventive measure in protecting your face from harmful UV-rays.
To obtain the SPF stated on your makeup product, you must put a substantial layer on your skin, much more than what is generally preferred. A light application of foundation with SPF 50 will not provide adequate protection. Some dermatologists estimate that you need to apply 10-15 times more product than one would normally desire to reach the advertised SPF. Makeup with SPF is designed as an extra protective layer, not as the only sun protection.
Instead, choose a good face cream with sun protection as a base before your makeup. A generous, even layer of broad-spectrum SPF 30 face cream will help protect the skin. Let this product absorb and settle for a few minutes before you apply your makeup. Remember to regularly touch-up with a setting powder containing SPF protection, and/or reapply your SPF every two hours or after swimming.
MYTH 6: THE HARDER YOU SCRUB THE BETTER
Exfoliation is a vital step in a good skincare routine to remove the dead cells accumulating on top of the skin. As we age, this issue increases as cellular turnover decreases. A good exfoliation routine will ensure that you get more out of your skincare products and obtain a more hydrated, radiant, smoother, and younger looking skin.
It can be tempting to aggressively exfoliate, but most facial scrubs using coarse particles can cause harm to the skin with micro-tears. The same can be the case with overuse of abrasive cleansing brushes. If you exfoliate too often or too roughly, you weaken the skin’s natural protective barrier and make it more prone to infections, clogged pores, and free radicals.
Be gentle with your exfoliating treatments. If you love the feel of granular particles on the skin, go for a gentle, non-abrasive scrub that will not cause damage.
Increasingly popular are exfoliants that do not use physical particles, such as AHA (e.g. lactic acid, glycolic acid), BHA (salicylic acid), or enzyme peels from fruit extracts. These type of exfoliants penetrate deeper without the damaging tears, and work by loosening the bonds between the cells, so that they wash away and exposes fresh layers of skin.
Some exfoliators, such as Supreme Polishing Treatment, make use of both types of exfoliating technologies, with gentle scrubbing particles blended in an enzyme base. This is ideal for people with combination skin, because you can apply just the enzyme base to the sensitive areas like cheeks and add the exfoliating particles to the T-zone. Depending on your skin type you can exfoliate daily – with a mild cleanser with exfoliating ingredients from fruit enzymes for example – or 1-2 times a week with a slightly more concentrated exfoliating product.
Do not miss this step in your skincare routine but be conscious of what products you select.
MYTH 7: YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS SHOULD TINGLE OR FEEL COOL
You want your skincare product to work, so it must be good if you can feel it working, right?
If a product burns your skin or makes it red and swollen, you should stop the use immediately. A short physical sensation of a few seconds is ok, but anything longer than that is a sign of irritation, and not something you want to expose your skin to on a daily basis. Cooling or tingling sensations from products are often caused by alcohol as it evaporates from the skin. This ingredient can be drying and is not ideal for sensitive skin in general. Other cooling sensations could be attributed to ingredients such as menthol and peppermint, which are frequently used in shaving products or shower gels. These ingredients should mainly be used in products that are rinsed off, as they can cause irritation if left on the skin.
In general, skincare should feel good and work to protect the fine balance of your skin’s health. It is advisable to avoid any products that may disrupt that equilibrium.