Top 5 Skincare Myths Exposed

Cultivating healthy skin can be a challenge, made harder by pervasive myths. Check out these five skin care myths and separate fact from fiction.

You Don’t Need Sunscreen on Cloudy Days

The belief that you only need to wear sunscreen when it’s sunny is one of the most common and most innocuous skin care myths. Even on cloudy days, or snowy days for that matter, UV radiation from the sun will still reach Earth’s surface. There are three types of ultra-violet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC rays are the most damaging type of radiation, but they are completely filtered by the Earth’s atmosphere. Medium-wavelength UVB are the primary sunburn rays, but their biological effect does not extend past the surface of the skin. UVA rays are deeply penetrating and responsible for altering skin pigmentation. They account for 95% of the UV radiation reaching Earth’s surface. It contributes to aging, wrinkling, and the formation of skin cancers. Up to 80% of the sun’s radiation can pass through clouds, which is why some people end up with awful sunburns on overcast days if they are out unprotected. The SPF in sunscreen refers to a product’s ability to shield UVB rays or protect against sunburn. For that reason, it’s essential to find sunscreen that covers both UVA and UVB—or “broad spectrum”—at a minimum of SPF 15 and wear it every day, no matter the weather.

Pop Your Pimples

It’s hard to resist popping that unsightly whitehead, and some would have you believe that popping and releasing the puss will make the pimple go away. Even though it might give you pleasure and reduce the appearance at first, this myth is false, and popping your pimples won’t actually get rid of them. It will only encourage irritation, putting your skin at risk for scarring or infection which are more difficult to treat down the road. To avoid worsening a breakout, abide by a hands-off policy. If you have severe acne, try a more intense treatment like a professional chemical peel for when over-the-counter products just aren’t cutting it.

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Toothpaste Treats Acne

It might be true that toothpaste gets rid of acne in the short term, but that doesn’t mean you should use it on your skin. Using toothpaste as a zit-zapping spot treatment might do more harm than good. The active ingredients in toothpaste that treat blemishes include baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and witch hazel. However, these chemicals are harshly concentrated, and when applied to skin instead of tooth enamel, can cause dryness. The methanol in toothpaste can also create irritation, and if used for an extended period of time, lead to redness, inflammation and even light bleaching. Ditch this high school beauty hack and find better alternatives.

If it Burns, it Means it’s Working

This one sounds almost believable, right alongside “Beauty is pain”. On the contrary, if something is burning your face, remove it with a cool, damp cloth. While a little tingling is common in skincare, stinging or burning is not. Having that kind of reaction could indicate sensitive skin or something more serious such as an allergy. The misconception might come from the use of rubbing alcohol and the intense burning experienced as it actively kills bacteria in open sores. To be clear, never use rubbing alcohol to ‘kill’ your acne. It’s much too concentrated, drying, and irritating for the skin. It can break down your skin’s barrier and strip it of the natural oils it needs. Your skin will overcompensate by producing excess oil that clogs pores. Be sure to choose safe products that use the right type of alcohol, in the right concentration. If it burns, take it off.

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You Don’t Need to Moisturize if You Have Oily Skin

Moisturizers are vital for nourishing and hydrating the skin. No matter what skin type you have, be it oily or dry, moisturizing is an essential part of your skincare routine. Most cleansers will strip the natural oils from your skin, but moisturizing after washing your face will restore your pH level and replace that protective layer. It is true, though, that those with oily skin require the least amount of moisture. If you find yourself in that category, opt for a lighter moisturizer product such as a hydrating serum or lotion versus a heavy cream.