The most damaging skincare myths revealed by a dermatologist

With so much information out there about skincare, it can be hard to know what’s actually helpful and what advice might aggravate your skincare concerns. Skincare myths can frustrate and overwhelm anyone trying to improve their skin. Luckily, we’re here to decipher what is good skincare advice and what myths you should ignore altogether.

The importance of having a good skincare

According to dermatologists, it is important to maintain a good skincare routine in order to prevent acne, oily skin, dryness and signs of ageing. Having a set skincare routine catered to your skin type and skin concerns will help to improve your skin problems and prevent them from re-occurring. Without a regular face care routine, debris like old skin and bacteria and oil will build upon your face, causing acne, dryness and irritation. Washing your face will clear away these impurities and sustain a fresh face. In addition, if you don’t maintain good skincare in the present, your future skin will pay the cost. By not applying moisturiser or wearing sunscreen, your skin will age faster than normal.

Another reason to take care of your face is to make sure you feel comfortable in your own skin. Having clear skin can help boost your confidence. The problem is, when we don’t take care of our skin regularly, it can be tempting to pick at the pimples, blackheads and flaking or dry skin that appear. This in turn causes a vicious cycle, as trying to squeeze out pimples or blackheads and pulling at flaking or dry skin will introduce bacteria into the epidermis, worsening your skin condition. It is therefore far better to maintain good skin care to avoid breakouts and maintain healthy skin long-term.

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Are skincare products a waste of money?

Skincare products are not a waste of money as they help us maintain good skin. Finding effective skincare products can make a significant difference in the overall look of your skin. Skincare products also don’t have to be really expensive. While higher-end products tend to contain the best combination of ingredients for addressing specific skin concerns, less expensive products that contain some of the same ingredients are available as an alternative.

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Here are the most damaging skincare myths:

Myth 1: You should use the same skincare products every day – day and night

While you should maintain basic skincare routine steps and use a cleanser, toner and moisturizer in each skincare routine, the types of products will vary between your daily routine and night one. During the day, use a lightweight moisturizer that will absorb quickly into the skin. This product should contain antioxidants like vitamin e, to protect your skin from free radicals during the day. A great choice is the Age Reverse Day Repair by Exuviance which contains SPF 30, another daytime essential to protect against UV rays.

At night, you should use products that support your skin’s rejuvenation process. Night creams like Fillerina Night Cream contain ingredients that are absorbed into the skin while you sleep. This allows the hyaluronic acid in the cream to infuse into the deeper levels of the epidermis and restore moisture to the face, diminishing the appearance of fine line and wrinkles. This product is best for use at night, as the cream is richer than a day moisturizer.

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Myth 2: Botox prevents lines permanently

Botox temporarily relaxes the muscles to smooth out existing lines and help prevent the deepening of wrinkles. However, this process only lasts four months before the Botox wears off and your muscles are free to move as before. Getting Botox once won’t permanently prevent wrinkles or fine lines, and you will have to get repeat injections up to four times a year. Although this may seem to resolve the problem, getting Botox too often, for example, every two or three months, for a number of years will cause the muscles in your face to weaken. This can make your skin look thinner and even cause the other muscles in your face to compensate, producing lines in other parts of the face. Botox also can’t fully solve already present lines and often has to be combined with fillers, like hyaluronic filler, to smooth already present deep lines.

While Botox can be used as a preventative measure in your early 30s, there are many other methods to reduce the appearance of already present lines and help prevent further wrinkles. Adding a retinol treatment to your daily face routine will help collagen production and reduce the appearance of lines. Getting skin treatments such as chemical peels will also soften lines by encouraging collagen production. Always remember that proper sun care and regular moisturizing will help your skin fight the signs of ageing.


Myth 3: Toothpaste helps to treat pimples

Toothpaste doesn’t actually help treat pimples it only dries out the skin which may help reduce the appearance of a pimple but doesn’t get rid of acne-causing bacteria or reduce the inflammation of a pimple. Toothpaste has been said to help treat pimples as they contain alcohol, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide which dry your skin out. In fact, using toothpaste on a pimple can actually increase your chances of getting more acne. This is because your skin compensates for its toothpaste-caused dryness by producing more oil and therefore making pimples and blackheads more likely. Toothpaste can also be harmful to the face by causing contact dermatitis and facial sensitivity.

A better alternative to using toothpaste on pimples is to invest in a targeted acne treatment that helps clear breakouts like the PCA Skin Acne Gel which uses salicylic acid to unclog pores and neutralize acne-causing bacteria whilst maintaining skin hydration.

Acne pimples treatment

Myth 4: You don’t need to apply anti-ageing products until your thirties

It’s a common misconception that you should only start investing in anti-ageing products in your thirties. Unfortunately, a decrease in the production of collagen, the protein that maintains skin elasticity and makes your skin firm by preventing sagging, begins in your mid-20s rather than your early thirties. It is therefore vital to take preventative measures in your twenties to avoid having to invest in damage-control products in your thirties. In your mid-twenties, you should start using a retinol product like the Intensive Age Refining Treatment: 0,5% Pure Retinol by PCA Skin. This product contains retinol which will help stimulate collagen production, while niacinamide will rebuild your skin barrier and help protect against ageing UV rays.

Another age-prevention treatment to incorporate into your skincare routine is vitamin c. Applying a vitamin c product like Vitamin C24 by Indeed Labs will prevent premature ageing as vitamin c neutralizes harmful and ageing free-radicals and promotes skin elasticity. This product also contains hyaluronic acid which rehydrates the skin, preventing sagging and reducing the appearance of fine lines. Always remember to avoid using retinol and vitamin c in the same skincare routine as this combination of products can sometimes cause irritation. Instead, it is recommended to use vitamin c in the morning and apply your retinol at night for the best results.

After your morning face routine, you should also apply sun protection as the increased cell turnover enabled by retinol products can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. More importantly, UV rays have proven to be the worst culprit in ageing our skin prematurely as they cause our skin to lose elasticity, creating wrinkles and sagging. Sunscreen is consequently an absolutely essential skin product to use from your twenties onwards.

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Myth 5: Applying a high SPF once is enough

While applying a high SPF once may be better than not applying sunscreen at all, you’ll really only be protected from UV rays for around two hours. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend you apply sunscreen every two to three hours and after swimming in order to maintain your sun protection. It is important to use SPF 30 or higher in order to effectively prevent UV rays from burning you and breaking down collagen in the skin which speeds up your skins ageing process.

The SPF number applies to the amount of protection the product can give you. SPF 15 will only give you 15 times more protection than your bare skin, while SPF 50 will give you 50 times more protection. It’s also best to look for a broad-spectrum product as this will protect from both UVA and UVB rays. This is really vital as a lot of products only offer UVB protection, leaving your skin vulnerable to sun damage from UVA rays. The Heliocare Gel Oil Free SPF50 is a great choice, as it protects against both UVA and UVB rays as well as infrared light and HEV. In addition to its excellent protective qualities, this product is oil-free making it a brilliant choice for oily skin or acne sufferers because it eliminates that greasy sunscreen feeling.

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Myth 6: Exfoliating daily is good for your skin

While a good skincare routine should include exfoliation once or twice a week, which can help clear away dead skin and clear your pores, daily physical exfoliation can be too much for the skin. Daily exfoliation can irritate the skin barrier by stripping the skin of its natural oils causing acne breakouts and dryness. Physical exfoliants like facial scrubs should be used only once or twice a week to avoid damaging your skin, as repeated daily use can cause tiny tears in your skin barrier which increase chances of inflammation, sensitivity and dryness.

However, if you feel like your skin needs a deep clean more often, a gentle chemical exfoliant like Indeed Labs Exfoliator II is a better, safer choice than physical exfoliants. This product is gentle enough to be used up to three times a week on sensitive skin without the risk of harming your skin or causing further breakouts. This natural skincare product contains pineapple enzymes that clarify the skin, while skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and flaxseed extract possess anti-inflammatory properties to prevent irritation. Chemical exfoliants are the better choice for more regular exfoliation as it is easier to regulate the intensity of your exfoliation and prevent micro-tears on the skin’s surface.

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Myth 7: Switch skin routine frequently

Switching your skin routine regularly can actually prevent your skin from improving. While it may be tempting to vary the skincare ingredients you use, especially if you feel like you aren’t seeing the results promised, the best skincare products take time to work. This is because our skin cell cycle, the time it takes for your skin to renew, lasts on average between five to six weeks. This means that the beneficial effects of good skincare products that reach the deeper layers of your skin will usually only be visible once your skin cycle has been completed. Although some products like chemical exfoliants and hydrating face masks can have instantaneous effects, most products take a bit more time for the long-term benefits to be seen. For example, skin treatments that contain niacinamide can take up to eight weeks before fully reducing hyperpigmentation and unclogging your pores visibly.

As well as taking into account the skin’s natural cell cycle, it’s also important to note that the best face care products can at first appear to make your skin worse. Some ingredients, like retinol and vitamin c, cause skin purging. This process begins when you introduce one of these products into your daily face routine without having used it for some time or ever before. Your skin might appear to breakout as red bumps, whiteheads and blackheads become noticeable during the purging process. Purging can last between one and six weeks after using a new product, but don’t be put off by the appearance of your skin. Purging is actually a good thing because it means your skin is speeding up its renewal process and getting rid of all the dirt and deep inflammations that would have been visible on your skin in the next skin cycle. If you continue with the product, the purging process will come to an end and the benefits of these products will become apparent, leaving you with clearer and brighter skin.


How to set up a skin goal and start my own skincare?

To set up a skincare goal, you should start by thinking about the one thing about your skin that, currently, you want to change the most. Do you have really dry or oily skin? Do you want to stop breakouts? Are lines on your face bothering you? Once you have identified what you want to be improved it is much easier to find a routine that addresses your concern. Start with a basic skincare routine tailored to your skin. For sensitive skin use a gentle cream cleanser. For oily or acne-prone skin, a cleanser with BHA will reduce oil production and clear away bacteria. Next, choose a toner that suits your skin concern, for example, hydrating toner for dry and mature skin which will nourish your face or toner with antibacterial properties for oily or acne-prone skin. Finish with a moisturizer and sunscreen during the day.

Get used to these products for one to two months before introducing a specialized treatment that will address your main concern. Once your face has adapted to your basic routine, adding a serum such as retinol, which improves acne and lines on the face; hyaluronic acid, which boosts moisture and is great for dry skin; or vitamin c, which reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, will aid in achieving your skin goal. Stick to one serum for up to six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, you will see a drastic visible change in the appearance of your skin thanks to the specialized treatment.

If you find at this point, you’re interested in achieving other, larger goals, like having brighter skin, or addressing other skincare concerns such as dark circles or post-acne scarring, now is the time to introduce other products. Although it feels like a long process, it is important to follow these stages as overwhelming your skin with many new products at once means you won’t know exactly which products are working best for you. Achieving perfect skin is possible, it just takes time and patience.

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Author: Isabella Dockery