If someone told you that taking a good ol’ dollop of horse poop and rubbing it into your skin was not only good for you but anti-aging… would you do it? Seriously, would you be tempted? [It’s ok if you are – no judgement!] Sometimes the ‘wackier’ the skincare advice, the more we believe it, because ‘it sounds so wild it has to work right’?
There is some SUPER questionable skincare advice out there, skincare myths could be taking your skin through the ‘ringer’. Don’t let one of these 10 skincare myths be the reason why…
1. SKINCARE MYTH: WATER IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
The truth?… Water is waaaaaayyy bad for your skin. That is, water that touchs your skin from the outside [drinking it is still good for you!]. Too much water on your skin will make it dry, itchy, flakey, tight, itchy… red, sore, a whole lotta things that are just super uncomfortable.
What? Really. Huh? That’s crazy, water is pretty harmless right? On one hand water is our life saver, our bodies need it and we can’t live without it.. when we drink it. On the other side, our bodies are super protected by our skin, with a special oily layer on the very outside that stops us ‘diluting’ into nothingness. Imagine a litre of orange squash without the bottle – that’d be us!
The top layers of our skin are oily, and water and oil don’t mix. Our skin is designed to keep water out! Too much water, starts to wear away that oily protective ‘raincoat’ your skin wears and when that happens, skin loses all the hydration from its deepest layers. The hydration you’ve given it by ‘guzzling’ your 5 pints of water a day.
What should you do about this skin foe?
If you are suffering from skin dryness, cut down on your time in the shower, turn the heat down (the hotter the shower, the faster water can eat away your oily protectiveness) and look for ‘thicker’ creams (they have a higher oil content than thin ones).
2. SKINCARE MYTH: ALKALINE SKINCARE IS ANTI-AGING
I read this article over on IntoTheGloss recently, Ellen Pompeo the STAR of ‘Greys Anatomy’ [I am a super-fan, have you watched it?] shared her skincare regime and in it she mentions that she swears by splashing her face with alkaline water. OMGosh no, don’t do it…
There are a lot of diets out there based on only eating alkaline foods for your best-ever health. While I don’t know a lot about that, I do know that alkaline stuff is BAD for your skin and will make it age faster. Yes lovelies, this is one skincare myth to ditch, alkaline skincare is PRO-aging to your skin!
Your skin has a ‘set’ of measurements that make it perfect. When one of them climbs the ladder, your skin health goes down a snake! Your skin is naturally acidic, between pH 4.2-5.5. When it is in this healthy range, skin protects you from infections, bacteria, yeast and any ‘n all nasty’s, it’s also great at keeping itself hydrated. When it goes for a walk above pH 5.5 into alkaline territory, your skin barrier is compromised to all those horrible things PLUS it can’t hold onto water very well.
What should you do about this skin foe?
Always look for skincare that is pH-balanced, ditch anything that says alkaline on the bottle. Bar soap and some face wash and shower gels are naturally alkaline, that is why they can be super drying. You can switch them out for gentle cream and oil based cleansers which are super skin friendly.
3. SKINCARE MYTH: YOU ARE STUCK WITH YOUR SKINCARE PROBLEMS, THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THEM
This is one skincare myth I was fed 6 years ago. Back then I was going through a HORRIFIC stage of hormonal chin spots. I felt like it was super out of my control. Every month came around and before I had even gotten rid of the last ones, there seemed twice as many. It was embarrassing, I was becoming self-conscious and I felt a ‘kid-like’ again. I wanted some control back over my skin, so I wondered into a pharmacy and shared my story with the ‘dude’ [with perfect skin btw] behind the counter.
The advice… that there wasn’t anything I could do about it and I would just have to live with it. HUH? Really are you serious? There is actually NOTHING I can do about this? Imagine how my heart wanted to run outta my chest ‘nooo I can’t live with this forever’. I pumped him for more information and all he could offer me was a Panoxyl face wash [the active ingredient is Benzoyl peroxide which is like a bleach]. I brought a bottle, realised what the active was and never used it.
[If you suffer with spots, I would recommend you to stay clear of Benzoyl peroxide, it ages your skin, it dries it like crazy and there are a TON of skin friendly ways to treat spots and acne]
This is a HUGE skincare myth. There are a ton of things you can do for any skin concern… that work! I promise you! Sometimes we assume anyone in the medical profession is an expert. Have you ever looked back at your classes in school and realised that the ‘class clown’, the one who was super funny and you could definitely see doing stand-up comedy ended up becoming an aeroplane pilot? We are all human, and the truth of seeing any pharmacist or GP is that they are a ‘generalist’ they haven’t spent years studying skin and skincare ingredients, they might have no interest in it and they just don’t know what is out there.
Whether your skin concern is acne, spots, aging, redness, sensitivity or anything else, there are things that work! I have some awesome ingredient recommendations for the top 7 skin concerns (oily, spot prone, dry, anti-aging, sensitive, irritated, hyperpigmented) in my free skincare guide. These are ingredients you should look for if you want skincare that works!
4. SKINCARE MYTH: ALL (SUN)LIGHT IS BAD FOR MY SKIN
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Stay out of the sun. Do not go out in midday heat. This is all good advice. Thing is it makes us think that ALL sunlight is bad for us and bad for our skin. This is a big skincare myth. Certain types of light are GOOD for your skin, they even help to stimulate collagen synthesis and reduce any skin inflammation.
The type of light that is a big skin winner is red light, visible red light (660nm). This was first discovered by NASA and there is a ton of research proving it’s benefits for wound healing to aging.
When you go out in the sunshine you get a dose of the whole ‘spectrum’ of light, it has every colour which makes it look white – strange ‘eh! You’ll get bad types, and you’ll get good ones. If you want the benefit of visible red light there are at home devices like this one from Baby Quasar [Nikki at FutureDerm reviews it here] or there are lots of salons offer red light treatments.
Oh and also remember, some natural sunshine is good for your skin and your body! It helps you make vitamins like vitamin D which keep us healthy. Without natural sunshine we’d all end up with skin like Golham… I don’t know about you but I’m not ready to star in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ just yet *wink wink*!
5. SKINCARE MYTH: IF SKINCARE STINGS & TINGLES IT MEANS IT’S WORKING
Y-Owch! Maybe this skincare myth comes from our belief that it has to taste bad to do good or that we have to exercise till it hurts to be healthy. For some reason we like to feel pain before we can accept something will work? What’s that sayin… ‘no pain, no gain’. Someone says that and we believe it forever. Why do we want to do things the hard way, when there’s a much easier, healthier way to do it?
Sure there is skincare out there that will hurt, but for every choice that gives you pain, there are always alternatives that don’t! They are much better for your skin because they work with it!
It’s like we just spoke about red light for stimulating collagen production. There is no pain AND there is scientific proof it works. You could also have one of those super painful looking vampire facials where they inject you with a needle 10’s of times all over your face. Err.. no thankyou sireee…
What should you do about this skin myth?
Pain is our bodies way of telling us something is wrong. If you use a cream that makes your face tingle, or an exfoliator that ‘burns’ a bit and leaves your skin a tad red. Ditch them, they are too ‘extreme’ for your skin.
6. SKINCARE MYTH: YOU NEED 3 STEPS IN YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
Saaaay what? Cleanse, tone, moisturise, cleanse tone, moisturise. The essentials right? It might be what that famous ‘3-step skincare routine’ want you to think, but those 3 steps are not ‘essential’. Toning your skin is a bit of a strange one. When someone said ‘toner’ back in the day, it would have been a harsh, alcohol based formula. Thankfully things have moved on since those days and now they are mostly lightly hydrating mists.
What should you do about this skin myth?
Want a ‘light’ hydration? Use a hydrating tonic or mist. Want a more deeply moisturising skin drink? Go straight for the moisturiser. A light pick-me-up is perfect for morning and a deep moisture treatment, perfect for your night-time routine.
7. SKINCARE MYTH: NATURAL SKINCARE IS INEFFECITVE
This is the constant battle of the skincare tribes. Natural vs. non-natural. One tribe tries to discredit the other and make their skincare the MOST appealing, by starting rumours like these. Here is the truth, some natural skincare can be ineffective and some non-natural skincare can be ineffective. If you pick the right stuff, natural or non-natural, they can both be effective.
Some of the best active skincare ingredients have their roots firmly in nature. Scientists study plants really closely because we are trying to understand, ‘how their leaves don’t wrinkle’, ‘why they can stay up all night and day and still look darn good’, ‘how they can survive artic and tropic conditions’.
Think of it like this, you could eat a healthy balanced diet, or you could have liposuction every 6 months. You could only eat processed foods and take vitamin supplements or you could eat well and get your vitamins from natural sources like carrots. You could treat anxiety or depression with medication or you could do that AND exercise and have CBT [the latter has proven fewer relapses].
Both natural and non-natural skincare have a time and a place. Don’t be fooled by shock tactics.
8. SKINCARE MYTH: FACE WIPES ARE BAD FOR YOUR SKIN
Face wipes will make your skin dull, make your skin dry, make your skin all those things you don’t want it to be. Not true. Do not feel guilty for a quick cleansing wipe rub before bed – go you for even having the energy to wipe away a day’s hard work! Washing your face and then not using moisturiser, sure that will make your skin dull, but just the ‘act’ of using a face wipe isn’t going to banish you to ‘dull skin jail’.
My pro tip for using cleansing wipes is to always splash your face with water afterwards, that takes away any of those ‘cleaning actives’ that might be left on your face and could be drying or irritating [which is the same for other ‘wash’ type products].
Oh and a great benefit to face wipes… it’s like a mini-exfoliation for your skin!
9. SKINCARE MYTH: THE MORE EXPENSIVE, THE BETTER IT’LL WORK
Have you watched any of those TV programmes where they take families addicted to branded food and switch ‘some’ of those branded items out for non-branded. The catch being they can’t tell which food is branded and un-branded because it’s all put into neutral packaging? It’s crazy how much we are effected by how pretty something looks AND the thought that the more expensive the better it’ll be.
The classic example – Creme de la Mer face cream at over £100 for a 30ml pot [about the size of your palm]. When you look at the ingredients [or you have a skincare scientist like me to for you!] there really isn’t anything special in the pot. In fact it has a hefty amount of mineral oil which is makes it a really heavy, sticky feeling cream that just sits on top of your skin. If you’ve ever been tempted, check out my full review of Creme de la Mer here.
What should you do about this skincare myth?
Don’t be fooled by price-tag. In principle a £25-35 cream is going to be better than a bargain £2 jar, but once you get above around £45-50, you’re paying more for marketing and prettiness than skin benefit.
10. SKINCARE MYTH: TIGHT FEELING SKIN IS GOOD
Eek no… run as far away from tight feeling skin as you possibly can. The popular skincare myth is that tight feeling skin is clean and means your skin won’t sag and or your pores are shrinking. It actually means none of these things. It means that your skin has lost some of its natural protection (the top oily layer everyone has) and is drying out. It’s the drying part that makes your skin feel tight.
Think about all the other times you might feel tightness in your skin.. after a day out in gale storm winds, after you’ve been swimming, after you’ve gotten sunburnt. All those things dehydrate and damage your skin which is why your skin feels tight. Wind blows moisture away from your skin, swimming and being in water for too long dissolves away our natural skin barrier, sunburn dehydrates and damages skin.
What should you do about this skincare myth?
Stay clear of any skincare that makes your skin feel tight. It’s not going to prevent aging, it’s likely to actually speed it up!
Did any of these skincare myths have you fooled?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.