You may think that you know quite a bit about skin care, but so much of the information out there leans more towards being a myth than the truth.
To ensure that you are not unintentionally damaging your skin, have a read through these common skin care myths.
Myth: You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy or rainy day
Fact: You need sunscreen every single day, regardless of weather
It is actually quite logical to think that if there are thick clouds blocking out the sun, then sunscreen is not needed, but this is so far from the truth.
What people do not realize is…
The sun’s UV rays are able to penetrate through thick cloud, as well as glass, so even if it feels as though you cannot see the sun, its UV rays are still present.
These UV rays are what damage your skin, causing everything from premature aging to skin cancers.
This means that, no matter the weather, you really need to be wearing a sunscreen. Not only that, but you also need to be re-applying it every two to three hours, or more often if you have gotten wet or sweated quite a bit.
Myth: Sun damage occurs before the age of 18
Fact: Most sun damage takes place after 18
Those who believe that they have already experienced most of the sun damage that they will experience in a lifetime are likely to neglect taking care of their skin when it comes to sun protection.
However, this is a huge myth, as sun damage occurs throughout your life, which is why sunscreen is so essential. In fact, only 25% of your lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18, which means that the majority of sun damage actually takes place after this age.
Of course, the sun damage you experienced while you were a child or adolescent is still significant. If you experienced a blistering sunburn during this stage of your life, it would more than double your chances of developing melanoma.
Sun damage accumulates, so while you may not notice much now, it will likely hit you in a big way once you reach a later stage in life.
Myth: All chocolate is bad for skin
Fact: High-quality dark chocolate is good for skin
There is no denying that the majority of the chocolates that you find in grocery stores are no good for your skin, or your body, and this is because they are filled with everything from GMO sugar and soy to artificial flavors and colors.
However, high-quality dark chocolate can help your skin in a few different ways:
- Contains flavonols, which are antioxidants that help to protect your skin from UV damage
- Those same flavonols also boost blood flow and increase skin microcirculation, giving you a healthy glow
- The flavonols in dark chocolate have been proven to improve skin hydration, as well as skin thickness
So, how do you know which chocolate to go for?
Look for a chocolate bar that has at least 70% cocoa, although keep in mind that the darker you go, the more bitter the taste will be. However, once you do delve into the world of dark chocolate, you will find that different bars can really have distinct tastes. For example, Venezuelan beans tend to be quite floral, while beans from Ghana are usually quite earthy.
Of course, even high quality dark chocolate contains sugar, fat and calories…
The key here is portion control. Research suggests that around two to three ounces a week of a high quality dark chocolate is all you need to eat in order to experience its maximum benefits, so make sure that you do not go overboard!
Myth: If a skin care product has not made a difference in two weeks, then it doesn’t work
Fact: It takes at least a month for a new skin care product to make a visible difference
The wait can often be excruciating, but you do need to give new products at least four weeks to work.
Because this is how long it takes, on average, for your skin cells to turnover, with this taking even longer the older you get.
For women, you are likely to first begin to see improvements between your mouth and cheeks, while men tend to first notice improvements around the eyes.
Of course, there are certain ways in which you can speed up cell turnover, which would then speed up the rate at which subsequent skin care products have an effect…
Exfoliation is one of these, but make sure that you do not over-exfoliate, as this can then lead to so many other problems.
Using a product that contains retinol can also significantly help, as this is one of the greatest benefits of this potent ingredient.
Myth: Anti-aging products are not necessary until wrinkles become visible
Fact: When it comes to anti-aging products, the earlier you start, the better
Many anti-aging products, especially those that have been formulated with antioxidants, can be used as early as age 21. Your 20’s is actually when your skin begins to start aging, and, when it comes to wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, prevention is always better than cure.
Of course, you need to still make sure that the anti-aging products you choose to use are suited for your skin type…
Many of these products are aimed at mature skin, which tends to be quite dry. This means that many anti-aging products contain nourishing, rich oils. If you have oily skin, these will be too heavy for your skin, and will end up clogging your pores and causing breakouts. Make sure that you only use skin care products that have been designed for your skin type.
Myth: Acne only affects teenagers
Fact: Adult acne is extremely common, affecting around 50% of adults
Between 41-54% of adults will experience acne at some point, whether this may be in their 30’s or their 50’s, and women are four times more likely to experience this than men.
It is believed that this is due to females experiencing more hormonal fluctuations, while the contraceptive pill can also have an effect.
So, what can you do about acne?
While there are certain medications that could possibly help, there are other steps that you can take to prevent breakouts:
- Your diet can have an effect on acne, so try to avoid dairy and fill your meals with fresh, whole foods as much as possible
- Keep stress levels to a minimum. Stress causes the hormone cortisol to be released in your body, which triggers inflammation, oil production and breakouts
- Give topical retinoids a try, as these are not only a fantastic anti-aging ingredient, but can also prevent acne
Myth: If a skin care product stings or burns, this means that it is working
Fact: If a product stings or burns, it’s probably not suitable for your skin
Have you ever used a cream that made your face tingle, or an exfoliator that left your skin with a slight burning sensation?
Contrary to popular opinion, this does not mean that the products were working…
Instead, the fact that you experienced the sensation of pain means that they were far too harsh for your skin (pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong). Try to swap them out for gentler products that do not leave your skin in any sort of pain.
Myth: Skin should feel tight and squeaky-clean after cleansing
Fact: The tightness means that your skin is drying out, which is never a good thing
Have a think about times during which your skin feels tight…
Examples may be when getting sunburnt, or have been out in extremely strong winds. As you can imagine, neither of these are good for your skin, as they cause severe dehydration and damage.
This same feeling of tightness is often experienced after using a harsh cleanser, but many believe that it is just a sign that their skin is squeaky-clean.
If you are using a cleanser that makes your skin feel tight afterwards, this only means that it has stripped away all of your skin’s natural oils. These oils not only provide your skin with protection and moisture, but also keep it supple, so stop using that product immediately.
Myth: Wearing makeup causes acne
Fact: There is no proof at all that there is a link between makeup and acne
However, while your makeup itself may not cause any breakouts, forgetting to remove makeup before going to bed at night can definitely trigger acne flare-ups.
Because the makeup, along with dirt, oil and dead skin cells, will end up settling into your pores, leading to inflammation, otherwise known as acne.
Myth: Using indoor tanning beds that filter out UVB rays is safe
Fact: UVA rays on their own can still cause so much damage to your skin
Yes, it is true that UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, as well as wrinkles and some types of skin cancer.
However, UVA rays are definitely not safe either…
They actually penetrate the skin even deeper than UVB rays do, and lead to issues such as:
- Premature aging
- An increase in dark age spots
- An increased risk of developing certain skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer
- An increased risk of developing pre-cancerous conditions, such as actinic keratosis
Still need a tan?
Try opting for sunless tanning lotions instead. These slowly add color to your skin, building this up with the more you use the product.
Myth: Natural ingredients are gentler than synthetic ones
Fact: Many natural ingredients can actually irritate the skin quite a bit
You may think that because an ingredient comes from a plant, this means that your skin will be able to tolerate it, but this is not at all true…
Firstly, just because an ingredient is plant-based, does not mean that it is good for your skin. Think about poison ivy for example, and the reactions that this can cause.
While that may seem a bit extreme, there are many common cosmetic ingredients that can trigger reactions in people of all skin types. These include:
- Tea tree oil
Of course, plant-based products do have so many different benefits, but they are not necessarily always going to be gentler, or better, than synthetic ones.
Myth: Your pore size can change
Fact: Your pore size is determined by genetics, and does not change
Although the size of your pores does not change, they can stretch out when they become clogged with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, which make them appear larger and much more visible.
What can you do about this?
Keep your pores clear by cleansing your face each evening, and exfoliating your skin a couple of times a week. Deep-cleansing treatments can also help, as can extractions. The clearer your pores are, the smaller and less visible they will look.
When you hear something enough times, it is easy to start believing it. But, when it comes to your skin, you need to ensure that you know how to separate fact from fiction.
With all of the technology available these days, it is easy enough to do some extra research to find out whether a “fact” that you have just heard is actually a myth. Whether this means using your phone to look up ingredients in a product while at the store, or speaking to a dermatologist about a skin care issue you have been trying to deal with, make sure that you do not unwittingly cause any more damage to your skin.