The Most Common Skin Myths Busted
The world of skin care can be confusing. Do you need to wear SPF when its cloudy? Should you be popping your spots or leaving them well alone? Is exfoliating daily too much? To confuse things further, social media platforms can be the wild west when it comes to skincare advice because what is posted isn’t always fact checked, resulting in misinformation to be spread. For example, drinking celery juice won’t give you “perfect” skin.
It can be hard to cut through the noise and find the truth amongst the misinformation but fret not, I’m here to help clear up some of the most common skin myths.
Let’s get started.
Myth #1: Pores open and close
Your pores are not doors. They do not open and close because there is no muscle attached to them. What they will do, however, is stretch. When a pore becomes clogged with sebum (oil), old skin cells and grime, it will stretch as the congestion has nowhere to go, making the pore appear larger.
You will often see products claiming to “shrink” your pore size but what this actually means is that it will reduce the congestion which will in turn make them appear smaller. Pay extra attention to the word appear, you cannot shrink your pore size. Two myths busted in one!
What about heat, doesn’t that open your pores? Nope and toner certainly will not “close” them either. Steam/a hot compress is often used in facials to soften and loosen congestion, making it easier to extract.
Please be mindful with steamers and performing extractions at home as these tools can easily lead to more damage than good. I recommend leaving this to a professional and booking in for a facial with extractions.
Myth #2: SPF gives you cancer
The problem with having so much information accessible to us online is that it leads to misunderstanding. There are a vast number of studies online for absolutely anyone to read which is great, however this leaves the reader to determine their own understanding.
Now, without finger pointing at a particular group, some individuals choose to cherry pick snippets of information to suit a certain narrative or agenda.
So where did this myth derive from? A Google search of oxybenzone will return a tonne of articles raising concern that it causes cancer. This stems from a study that was carried out on rats that ingested oxybenzone and subsequently developed cancer. This, however, is not the case for humans as we apply sunscreen to our skin and so it would take around 277 years of sunscreen use to achieve the equivalent of what the rats were fed.
High amounts of unprotected sun exposure cause skin cancer, not sunscreen.
Myth #3: You need a lengthy 12-step skincare routine to have good skin
Originally made popular by K-beauty, routines with a multitude of steps may work for some but are not essential or needed on a daily basis. It can even be quite irritating for those with sensitive skin, due to the large number of products applied at one time - not to mention expensive!
The essential steps that make up a basic routine include cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.
Once you have these steps covered you can then build on your routine depending on what your skin needs/your concerns. For example, if you are particularly oily you may want to add in a salicylic acid exfoliant or a niacinamide serum to help with oil control.
Other additional ‘nice to do’ steps are up to you. This could be a mist because it makes you feel good or an eye cream because you feel your eye area needs a little extra TLC. You need to have some enjoyment in your skin routine and that’s ok. Just don’t feel like you have to have a lengthy routine in order to see results.
Myth #4: Your skin gets used to products
If you ate extremely healthy food every day, your body wouldn’t get used to it, it would just reap the benefits of the nutrients. The same principle applies with skincare; your skin doesn’t get used to the products and your products will still perform the same over time.
Instead, what you might notice is a vast improvement in your skin when you first start to use a product to target a specific concern. Then, when you’ve used that product for some time, you will notice less progression because that product is then maintaining those results.
Myth #5: Sunbeds will cure your acne
While some light therapies such as LED therapy and laser may help acne, sunbeds will only mask it and lead to other skin issues. The UV rays emitted from sunbeds will dry out the skin and cause premature skin ageing. When you dry out your skin, you are essentially stripping it of its natural oils and compromising the skin barrier which can then cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate and potentially become sensitised. This ,in turn, could worsen your acne.
Another huge point to note is that even if it seems like it’s helping your acne, there’s one big elephant in the room. Any so-called benefits are completely outweighed by the increased risk of skin cancer you are exposing yourself to.
“Using sunbeds for the first time before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by 59%. Regular sunbed use under the age of 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by an alarming 75%!” (SKCIN: The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity).
Myth #6: Expensive products are better than cheaper ones
I understand why we all (myself included) often believe this to be true. A hefty price tag can be deceiving as it leads you to assume that the more expensive product must be better than the drugstore alternative. This isn’t always the case.
The effectiveness of a product simply comes down to its formulation and the quality of its ingredients, not how expensive it is. In most instances (but not all), you are paying for the huge marketing campaign and fancy packaging.
Side note: this is not to be confused with dupes. A dupe will never perform like the original as the dupe will have varying ingredients and a completely different formulation.
I hope that’s provided you with some clear clarification around a few common skin myths you’ve seen. If in doubt, use the following mantra: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Celery juice/ Alkaline water I am looking directly at you!
Follow Megan @allaboutskinstudio
Qualifications - VTCT Level 3 Facial Electrics , VTCT Level 4 in Microneedling and Chemical Peels