While each person’s skincare routine varies somewhat, there are some basic principles that apply to practically everyone.
Cleansing is essential. Treat spots with toner. Don’t use oils on oily skin. These are the common-sense guidelines we’ve all been taught to follow.
But what if we told you these so-called rules are actually wrong, and that some skincare myths you need to stop believing.
Katie White, founder of Re:lax skin studio in Hackney, says some of the advice doled out by the skincare industry is actually harming our complexions, rather than helping them.
Here, she explains five common skin myths and why we’re wrong to believe them.
Is skincare a myth? 5 skincare myths to stop believing
Skincare myth 1 – you need to cleanse in the morning
Washing your face is the first step in most people’s morning routine, but you don’t actually need to use cleanser.
“It isn’t necessary to cleanse in the morning if you are cleansing properly at night before bed,” says White. “As a golden skincare rule, you absolutely should be removing all your make-up and hydrating your skin before going to sleep.
“If you are doing this, you can just simply splash your face with warm water in the morning. Using a cleanser again is just a waste.”
Whether morning or night, you certainly shouldn’t be washing away all those lovely oils with soap or a foaming cleanser. “If you wake up and your skin feels greasy or still caked in product, and you feel the need to wash your face for that fresh feeling, I would recommend using lighter products before bed, rather than resorting to using a harsh cleanser in the morning to get that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling,” adds White.
Try a reviving cleansing cream
Lucy Bee Reviving Cleansing Cream, £22.50
Skincare myth 2 – use harsh cleansers or toners if you have acne-prone skin
When you’re suffering a breakout of spots, it may seem sensible to try to dry them out with strong treatments and toners.
“Acne skin is inflamed and the skin is compromised; we shouldn’t be putting acids and alcohol on inflamed broken skin, we should be using gentle products,” says White.
“Also, over-cleansing with a foaming cleanser that leaves skin squeaky clean will encourage further oil production, increase inflammation and can prevent skin from healing.
“Look for non-stripping cleansers, anti-inflammatory toners and products that are kind to skin.”
Try a face toner
Skincare myth 3 – don’t use oils if you have oily or acne-prone skin
Similarly, when your skin is oily, the last thing you want to do is add more oil into the mix, right? Wrong.
“Oiliness can be caused by many different reasons, including stress, diet and genetics, but it can also be caused by lack of hydration,” says White. “Our skin is designed to have an oily layer called the ‘acid mantle’, this is our first line of defence.
“Using harsh products can strip this back, so then the skin sends signals to the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Using oils can have the opposite effect; it can decrease oil production as the skin recognises it is hydrated.”
White recommends using lighter oils like jojoba, marula or squalene.
Try revitalising face oil
D’Alchemy Intense Skin Repair Oil, £50.80
Skincare myth 4 – extractions get rid of blackheads
Love them or hate them, extractions are a part of many facial treatments when the therapist uses a tool or their fingers to squeeze blackheads from your pores.
“Blackheads form when oil that comes through pores to keep skin hydrated, oxidises with air and turns black,” White explains.
“By squeezing/extracting, some oil comes out and some is pushed further down into the epidermis. This causes inflammation and can push bacteria into the skin – perfect spot forming ingredients!”
The best way to tackle blackheads, she advises, is with acids such as salicylic or beta hydroxy acids, or using clays.
Try salicylic acid treatments
Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Blemish Spot Treatment, £49
Skincare myth 5 – If a product burns or hurts that means it’s working
Some products like exfoliating masks have got to sting a bit if they’re doing their job properly, haven’t they?
“No!” says White. “More likely it means you are having a reaction to the product and you should discontinue using it.
“Skin is complex and delicate in different ways, and not every product suits every skin type. If something is damaging the skin, it is definitely doing more harm than good.”
White has a rule of thumb to tell whether a product is too harsh for your skin: “Pink is good, red is bad. If you have sensitive skin, use more calming ingredients.”
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