Skincare Myths We Need to Stop Believing

Think you have a pretty good idea of how to look after your skin? 

Sorry but that might not be the case. Just because there are so many skin care myths floating around, many of which directly contradict each other. 

Generally speaking, how you’ve cleansed, toned and moisturised so far depends on who you’ve got your pearls of wisdom from. If you got your skincare advice from your grandmother or mother, you might get one answer. A different one from your bff. Yet another from your favourite glossy magazine… So, let’s separate fact from fiction, shall we? Here are some of the skincare myths you really should stop believing.

MYTH #1: It doesn’t matter if you sleep in your makeup.

When you’re feeling exhausted at the end of a long hard day, the last thing you want to do is to head to the bathroom and take your makeup off. So, you convince yourself that sleeping in your makeup won’t matter much..and you throw on your pjs and head straight to bed.

The truth

Unfortunately, sleeping in your makeup, even if it’s just for one night will make a huge difference to the condition of your skin. Old makeup traps environmental dirt and grime that has built up over the course of the day, traps the oil on your skin and can lead to clogged pores. This means you’re more likely to suffer embarrassing breakouts and suffer from dull, tired looking skin. 

The solution

Find an easier solution that allows you to get your skin squeaky clean without demanding hours in the bathroom. Makeup wipes can be an excellent option. 

You should also consider removing your makeup earlier in the evening so you can spend more time relaxing and hop straight into bed. 

Myth #2 — A well-moisturized face is a wrinkle-free face.

The truth

Your youthful-looking mother may have sworn by a good slathering of moisturiser, but experts will tell you that probably wasn’t the key to her smooth complexion. “Moisturisers seal in moisture — that’s all they do,” says Ranella Hirsch, MD board-certified dermatologist in Boston.. “You look younger very briefly because your skin is hydrated, but the effect doesn’t last.” To address wrinkles long-term, you need a product that actually targets them. Ask your dermatologist what they’d recommend for you. (And remember that you should still use moisturiser to maintain your skin’s lipid barrier, which keeps moisture in and substances like bacteria, dirt and pollutants out.)

MYTH #3: Eating chocolate or fatty foods causes acne.

Common ‘wisdom’ says that you can tell who is eating too many burgers, fries, doughnuts, chocolate and other unhealthy foods because they’re covered in pimples and struggling with a vast range of skin probs. 

The truth

Despite what you might have heard, no specific food causes acne. No amount of chocolate will cause breakouts or skin problems (yay!). However, if you’re not getting enough nutrition nor staying hydrated, your skin will eventually suffer. 

The solution

Make sure you’re eating well. Load up on plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and oily fish or meat if you’re not eating a plant-based diet. Your skin will thank you. 

Myth #4 — If your mom still looked 40 in her 60s, you will too.

The truth

Your genes certainly play a role in skin, says Whitney Bowe, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, but so do lifestyle and environmental factors. If you won the genetic lottery and inherited Mom’s seemingly ageless looks, and you adhered to a similar lifestyle (we’re betting hers was pretty healthy and involved a lot of sunscreen), you’ve got a good chance of aging the way she did, says Bowe. But if your habits differ quite a bit, your skin may not hold up as well. That also means that on the other, happier hand, if your mom didn’t age so well, you’re not necessarily destined for the same facial fate if you make smart skincare choices (it’s never too late to be diligent about SPF!).

MYTH #5: Spas are a waste of time. You can get the same results at home.

Although you take pride in your appearance and love those regular luxury facials in your local spa, you’re trying to save money. So, you start convincing yourself that you’ll get exactly the same results at home for less and cancel your regular spa date. 

The truth

As you’ve likely come to realise, you simply can’t get the same results at home. Spa therapists know exactly what they’re doing. They have years of experience and have the right tools to help you look and feel your best.  

“A professional facial treatment will cleanse your skin much more deeply than home products and leave your skin feeling fresh and healthy,” says Suffolk-based spa Seckford Hall, “Many spas have specialist equipment such as facial steamers and extractions to give your skin the best clean possible.”

Remember it’s not just about the quality of your skin treatment. The sense of relaxation and rest you get from a spa treatment is worth its weight in gold! 

MYTH #6: People with oily skin don’t need to use moisturisers.

The story goes that if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you can skip on the moisturiser because your skin is creating enough. You’ll only add to the oil slick and get even more breakouts if you do. 

The truth

Wrong! Even oily skin needs TLC to look and feel at its best. Everyday things like pollution, UV rays, cold weather and over-cleansing can damage your skin’s natural barrier and lead to moisture loss. If this happens, your skin will make even more oil to compensate and you’ll feel worse than ever! 

The solution

Follow your regular cleansing regime with an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser to help your skin stay looking young and fresh without blocking up your pores and causing breakouts. 

MYTH #7: You can open and close your pores.

Your grandmother or mother told you that the most effective part of a cleansing regime was to apply steam to your pore to open them up, do a deep cleanse then splash with cold water to close them up again. 

The truth

Your pores aren’t connected to muscles so it’s impossible to open and close them at will. However, it’s still essential that you deep cleanse your skin often

MYTH #8: You don’t need to moisturize if you don’t have wrinkles.

You’re lucky enough to have young and fresh-looking plump skin without a trace of a wrinkle. So, you definitely don’t need to use a moisturiser yet, right?

The truth

Keeping wrinkles at bay is more about prevention than cure. Most of the damage done to your skin isn’t visible until it’s too late and the wrinkles are already there on your face. Moisturiser will help, but it won’t make those fine lines and wrinkles vanish entirely. 

The solution

Prevention is always better. Use sunscreen. Don’t smoke. And get yourself a facial once in a while. 

Your skin matters! Stop believing these myths and learn how to take care of your skin to stay looking fresh, youthful and blemish-free for longer. 

Meghan Taylor

Meghan Taylor is an emerging freelance writer focusing on startups, freelance life and anything in between. She is an avid reader and coffee drinker, and hopes to see her own novel on display in a bookshop one day.