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Breaking Skin Care Myths

Thanks to the internet and old wive’s tales, there is a ton of skin care advice being thrown around—and not all of it is good. In fact, some of this “advice” can actually be harmful to your skin and health. See what we found out below, plus, get recommendations for what you should be doing instead.

Myth #1: You get acne because you don’t wash your face.

Though it’s a popular myth, it is, indeed, a myth. You won’t get acne just because you don’t wash your face correctly or frequently enough. In order for acne to develop, you need to have a combination of four factors: clogged pores from shedding keratin/skin cells, sebum, bacteria and inflammation. So, while not washing your face certainly won’t help the problem, it’s not the sole cause of acne.

Myth #2: Anything marked “natural” or “chemical free” must be better for you than other types of skin care products.

It’s all about preference and skin type when deciding what ingredients to put on your skin. There is no concrete evidence that parabens and preservatives in skin care are harmful to your skin or body. In fact, without preservatives, skin care and cosmetics are more susceptible to the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast. Should you choose to go the natural route, be sure to pay close attention to expiration dates on your products, as natural products don’t last as long as the alternatives.

Myth #3: You’ll age faster if you wear makeup regularly.

Makeup junkies: It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief. Makeup, alone, is not going to make you age faster. In fact, so many double-duty makeup products actually nourish, protect or improve your skin while you’re wearing them! However, if you don’t wash your face before bed, you’re leaving not just the makeup, but the dirt, oil and toxins your skin has collected over the course of the day—which is what really causes aging. Fortunately, you can keep wearing all the makeup you want without a worry—as long as you remove it and cleanse your face at the end of the day.

Myth #4: Washing your face with hot water will open up the pores for a better clean.

You don’t need to shock your face with freezing cold water, but a lukewarm—not hot—temperature is ideal. Though a steamy, hot shower or rinse might feel soothing, it could damage your skin by stripping it of its natural, protective barrier and drying it out. A good way to tell if the water you’re bathing or cleansing with is too hot? If your skin is red after rinsing, the water you used was too hot.

Myth #5: The harder you scrub/exfoliate, the better.

We so often want instant satisfaction (it’s normal!), and this applies to our skin care routines as well. We want to feel our products working, which is why exfoliating (especially with a scrub) can be so satisfying. However, less is definitely more when it comes to exfoliation.

Myth #6: If it burns, it means it’s working.

This is one of the most dangerous myths out there because it almost sounds believable—right alongside “No pain, no gain” or “Beauty is pain.” When it comes to skin care, a little tingling is normal (with some products); stinging or burning, however, is not. This type of reaction may indicate that you have sensitive skin, or it could be something more serious like an allergy to an ingredient you’re using. If something feels off to you, remove right away. And if the pain or irritation does not subside within a few minutes, contact your dermatologist right away.

Myth #7: Rubbing alcohol will “kill” your acne.

Alcohol is a common ingredient in many skin care products because of its quick-drying abilities. When the right type of alcohol is combined with the right ingredients and in the right concentration, it is considered safe and effective on the skin. However, rubbing alcohol has much too high of a concentration of alcohol, which can break down your skin’s barrier and strip it of the natural oils your skin needs. Instead, look for acne fighters containing glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel or tea tree oil.

Myth #8: You don’t need to moisturize if you have oily skin.

No matter what your skin type—oily and acne-prone or dry and dehydrated—you need to be using some kind of moisturizer to keep your skin balanced and nourished. The differences lie in the type and amount of moisturizer your skin needs. While oily skin requires the least amount of moisture, a moisturizer is still vital for nourishing and hydrating the skin.

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