With all the buzz and hype about must-have skin care treatments, revolutionary new products and amazing “expert” advice, consumers are inundated with information — some of it true and some not so true. Let’s put these common misconceptions and skin care myths to rest.
You know your skin care products are working when your skin tingles
That tingling sensation isn’t telling you the product is working — it’s telling you that your skin is irritated and inflamed. Though your skin may look or feel cleaner right now, over time the use of these tingling products can do damage to your skin. Irritants can break down collagen and elastin, and actually damage your skin’s healing process.
You should switch your skin care products every few months because your skin adapts
This is simply not true. Your skin does not adapt to products, rendering them ineffective. Your skin might stop improving as much as it did initially — but that’s because your skin may have needed more help when you first started using a particular product and now your skin is healthier.
All women eventually outgrow acne
Unfortunately, this is a circumstance where men have an advantage over women. Men typically outgrow acne because after puberty their hormone levels become steady. However, women have hormone fluctuations throughout their lives — due to menstrual cycles, pregnancy and so on. Women can suffer from acne well into their ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and beyond.
A product with SPF 30 provides twice as much protection as SPF 15
In reality, SPF 30 provides only about 4 percent more protection than SPF 15. To maximize your sun protection, apply sunscreen generously, reapply often (especially after being in the water) and avoid being in the sun during peak hours.
Age spots are inevitable as we get older
Age spots actually aren’t due to age. Though it’s more likely to have age spots at 40 than at 20, age spots are actually caused by years of exposure to UV light. Genetics also contribute to how susceptible a person is to age spots. True age spots are harmless. However, many women choose to lighten them for cosmetic reasons. Always use daily sun protection to help avoid age spots.
Greasy foods cause acne
Though greasy foods are probably not the healthiest choices, there’s no evidence that they cause acne. In fact, dairy products and citrus products are more likely to cause acne breakouts than greasy foods or even chocolate.
Blackheads are due to dirty skin
Though they are dark in color, blackheads are not dirt and you can’t just wash them away. Blackheads are caused when your skin produces too much sebum. Dead skin cells get in the path for the sebum to exit through the pore. This blocks the pore, creating a clog. When the clog nears the surface and oxides, it turns black. Don’t try to scrub blackheads away with a regular facial scrub. Instead, find products that contain salicylic acid that exfoliates inside the pore to dissolve away the dead skin cells and oil.
When it comes to skin care, remember that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Look for products from brands you trust and read the labels to know exactly what you are putting on your skin.