Think you are super-knowledgeable about skin? Find out how much you really know!
Here are the top 10 Skin Care Myths:
1. Chocolate Causes Acne
We thought we’d start with this one, since there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding diet and skin health. To start with, we know that foods high in antioxidants, such as blueberries and green tea, are very helpful for warding off damaging (and aging) free radicals.
We also know that the healthy fats found in salmon and avocados can contribute to more beautiful hair, skin, and nails. However, there is no definitive proof that chocolate—or the sugar found in chocolate—causes acne. In fact, we know that dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and is, when eaten in moderation, excellent for your health and skin.
[Read: 5 Foods For Beautiful Skin]
The bottom line? Eating healthy—in addition to a consistent skin care routine—can help you have clearer, more beautiful skin. There’s no evidence that a little chocolate indulgence here and there is going to hurt.
This is good news for those of you whose parents haven’t aged particularly well. A number of factors—including unhealthy sun exposure, smoking, and the excess consumption of alcohol and other substances—have a damaging effect on the skin. Avoiding these negative influences can make a major difference in the appearance of your skin.
For those with parents who’ve aged especially nicely: don’t think you can rest on your laurels. Make sure to regularly apply sunscreen (even if Mom never bothered) and use skin care products designed for your complexion’s specific needs.
3. Shaving causes hair to grow back thicker.
The truth? Shaving causes the hair to appear thicker. When hair begins to regrow, the blunt edges of freshly shaved hairs only seem denser; there is no difference in the actual thickness in individual hairs nor in the growth of hair.
[Some advice: How to avoid razor burn and bumps]
4. Getting a tan clears up acne
Using a self-tanning lotion or getting a spray tan can work to safely even out skin tone, thereby making acne marks and current breakouts less visible. However, while a real tan offers these same benefits temporarily, it will also cause serious problems in the long term.
Tanning in the sun (or under tanning lamps) increases your risk of skin cancer while rapidly accelerating the aging process. It may also cause additional acne, setting the breakout cycle in motion once again.
5. ‘Liver spots’ are a sign of liver problems
What we call liver spots are actually caused by sun exposure and are not, in fact, related to your liver’s function.
Age spots tend to first emerge on women in their mid-30s and become more pronounced and numerous with age (hence the connection with age and poor health). Using regular sunscreen and skin-brightening ingredients like Vitamin C and Kojic Acid can make a very big difference in the appearance of age spots.*
[Read: All about Hyperpigmentation]
6. Your skin adapts to products you use
There will come times in your life when you’ll need to re-evaluate your skin care products. As we age, we may become less oily; some of us start to experience acne in our adult years or while pregnant. It’s important to pay attention to these changes and make the necessary adjustments to your skin care regimen.
Seasonal changes might also affect your skin’s needs; many of us need to switch up our routines a little as the weather gets colder/drier or warmer/more humid.
However, your skin will not become ‘used’ to certain products, thereby deeming them ineffective. Think of it this way: your body wouldn’t suddenly become immune to the effects of healthy eating, would it?
7. You need to be exposed to a certain amount of sun to avoid Vitamin D Deficiency
This one is actually not a myth. But it’s also not an excuse to leave the house without properly shielding your skin from the sun. It is not necessary to damage your skin in order to obtain proper levels of Vitamin D. Be sure to use a moisturizer with UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection every day; you’ll still be able to reap the sun’s Vitamin D benefits. On very sunny days, a wide-brimmed hat and loose clothing that protects your skin are a good idea (and make for a cute outfit, too!).*
8. Makeup causes acne and accelerates aging
There is no reason to believe that makeup should have any effect on acne. However, some makeup ingredients may cause your skin to become irritated, thus causing inflammation and negatively affecting acne. It’s important to know your skin and determine if you need to use products developed for sensitive skin.
As for makeup’s aging effect on skin, the news is pretty good. For one thing, makeup (such as foundation) creates a physical barrier between your skin and the outside world, and can actually help to shield skin from the sun’s harmful rays and potentially create a shield between your complexion and aging free radicals.
It is essential, however, to remove makeup every night before bed. Sleeping in makeup inhibits the skin’s ability to regenerate as you sleep and can cause breakouts and make the skin look aged and unhealthy.
9. Sometimes it’s okay to pop a pimple
Just, no. Unless you are a skin care specialist, it’s best to keep your hands off. This is not only the best way to cause permanent scarring, it could potentially lead to even more acne breakouts. It’s best to treat acne breakouts as they occur with targeted spot treatments. The rest of the time, be sure to maintain a consistent anti-acne skin care routine.
10. Most sun damage occurs before the age of 18
This myth is really disheartening, because it (incorrectly) suggests that we have very little control over our skin as adults. However, studies now show that we’ve only incurred around 18-23% of your lifetime’s sun damage by the time we reach adulthood.
This is excellent news and, in reality, it’s never too late to take charge of your skin’s future and start really protecting it from future damage.
*Be sure to consult with your doctor regarding any and all lifestyle/health choices.