There is more beauty advice available now than ever before. Magazines, social media and word of mouth leave us inundated with well meaning, but often inaccurate information about skin care and looking good.
The skin is such an important organ of the body, because it’s how we are seen by the outside world. The consequences of following bad beauty advice are not just wasted time; we could be permanently damaging our skin, and contributing to premature aging.
Today I want to look at nine common myths about taking care of our skin, and I’ll start with three tall tales about acne.
You’ll Outgrow Acne
This is a tough one for women of all ages, so I hope you’re sitting down! Hormones continue to ebb and flow throughout life and adults can develop acne, just like teenagers. Also, if you had clear skin when you were an adolescent, it isn’t a guarantee that you won’t develop acne later in life.
The good news is the tools needed to get things under control remain the same, and following a consistent cleansing and treatment routine with the right products can make a difference at any age. For my adult acne outbreaks I use Clear Action by Nu Skin.
Chocolate Gives You Acne
It’s a persistent rumor that’s gained a lot of traction over the years, no doubt sparked by the correlation between children eating chocolate treats and teenagers developing breakouts. The truth is that there is no direct evidence that chocolate causes acne, and a scientific study proved this with a sweet study.
But don’t go celebrating just yet. “Chocolate per se will not make you break out,” says Dr Ava Shamban, a Los Angeles dermatologist. “In fact, there is little evidence that chocolate or any specific fatty foods will cause acne, but we do know that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body — which can lead to acne.”
You Can Scrub Away Acne
Obsessively scrubbing your face will not get rid of acne because it’s not a hygiene problem; it’s a hormonal issue. Your skin is already suffering, so stop making things worse and instead, wash it gently with a foaming product designed to lift off dirt. Aggressively overusing any exfoliant can cause irritation to already sensitive skin, meaning acne takes longer to heal.
Caffeine Dehydrates You
Maybe you’ve been told drinking caffeine-rich drinks like coffee will increase the risk of dehydration? Or that you need to compensate for caffeine’s mild diuretic effect by drinking extra water? This study, from the University of Bath, reveals that moderate coffee drinkers were not any more dehydrated at the end of the study period than people who just drank water.
Hold on though – caffeinated drinks can cause headaches and insomnia in some people. The best way to stay hydrated is by drinking water. It’s calorie-free and plays an important role in blood circulation, absorption of nutrients, digestion and many more factors. Also, water is one of the most significant ways to fight the signs of ageing.
You Don’t Need to Clean Makeup Brushes Very Often
Rule number one – do not share your makeup brushes with anyone! Sharing might be caring, but in this case, sharing means coming into contact with someone else’s germs, oils and bacteria.
Keep your bushes clean with a gentle shampoo to help makeup glide onto your skin smoothly and also to prevent applying a fresh coat of bacteria to your face!
Yes, it’s a chore to wash your makeup brushes correctly, and it takes up time in your already busy life. You don’t have to clean your brushes every day. As long as you aren’t dealing with any infections or allergies, lightly wiping the bristles on a towel in between uses will extend the amount of time between washes. Use a spray cleanser every one or two weeks and do a full wet wash once a month.
Despite the evidence confirming sunscreen’s benefits for reducing skin cancers and supporting youth preservation, there are still many myths about when to use it and what it’s good for – I want to examine three of them:
Most Sun Damage to Skin Happens Before Age 18
Due to all that time spent playing outdoors, it was believed that most people got the majority of their sun exposure before the age of 18. I don’t know what effect the popularity of computer games and handheld devices have on children’s desire to get some fresh air, but experts have announced a re-think on this previously held belief.
“For years, dermatologists believed that the majority of sun exposure was received before the age of 18,” says Dr Perry Robins, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “We now know that the damage is typically spread out over the course of a lifetime and that all of the damage matters”
There’s still time to protect your skin from the sun and put off sun-induced aging. Apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with antioxidants each morning.
You Don’t Need Sunscreen if You Wear Makeup
Not true. No matter how much makeup you’re wearing, at best it will only be an added layer of protection against sun damage. Do not rely on makeup as your only line of defence. Dermatologist Dr Filamer Kabigting suggests wearing a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 whenever you got outside, and to apply it evenly on your face every 2 hours.
Also, don’t forget to protect your lips – compared to the rest of your skin, lips contain low levels of melanin, the pigment that helps to protect against UV damage. Make sure to use a lip balm with SPF 30.
You Don’t Need Sunscreen if You Stay Indoors
If you believe staying indoors means you’re avoiding sun damage, that’s sadly not true. Yes, you’ll be escaping the burn of UVB rays, but it’s the long-term damage being done to your skin by UVA rays that is the problem. Clear glass lets in 62.8 percent of UVA rays – which penetrate the skin more deeply and cause all kinds of skin problems over time.
And don’t forget about all the sun you’re getting when you’re in the car. This study, by the University of Washington, found that driver side UV exposure is a likely contributing factor to a greater number of UV-linked skin cancers on the left side of the body. It’s smart to wear sunscreen all the time, especially in the car or if you sit near a window.
You Should Pop a Pimple to Get the Pus Out
I know the urge is strong. When you’re faced with a pimple, you really want to squeeze it – don’t! “Think of a pimple as a little sack that holds oil, debris and acne bacteria,” says Dr Zakiya Rice, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine. “When you puncture the pimple’s outer skin, the gunk oozes out. If the bacteria in that gunk splatters and lands inside other pores, it can lead to more pimples.”
As always, if you are suffering from any long-term or significant problems with your skin, make sure to seek the advice of a trained medical professional.