Nothing is more satisfying than busting a skin care myth.
Whether they’re old wives’ tales or misinterpreted information, there are a lot of untruths out there when it comes to skin care. While these myths aren’t necessarily dangerous, they could unknowingly sabotage your skin care routine and progress.
Here are five skin care myths I’ve heard the most over the years as well as the truth behind them.
Pores can be opened and tightened
Pores don’t open and close. They are not windows. When your skin is exposed to steam, the steam loosens what’s inside of them, which makes our pores dilate and appear larger. Those “pore-tightening” peel-off masks and strips aren’t actually shrinking your pores, they’re just ripping out some debris. They’re also pumped with alcohol, which makes your skin and pores feel “tighter” when, in reality, all that did was dry out your skin.
These are quick fixes with temporary results, but there are ways to keep pores looking smaller and clearer over time, including thoroughly cleansing, using retinoids or oil-soluble beta hydroxy acids, or getting regular facials.
Dirty skin causes acne
Acne happens because of anything and everything, from hormones and bacteria to inflammation and sensitivity. One of the rudest things a person can do is assume someone who has acne doesn’t wash his or her face. Trust me – some people who suffer from acne put more work into their skin than anyone else, and it’s frustrating as hell to not see results.
There is no cure for acne, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all condition, as everyone experiences it differently. A product may not work for you, but might work brilliantly for someone else. Unfortunately, there is no perfect recipe.
I know acne makes us want to attack skin, but we have to be really gentle. Over-washing your face destroys the acid mantle, makes acne worse and turns your skin into a dry, dull, sore breeding ground. Less is more, and minimal, simple routines work best. Cleanse, treat, moisturize.
Just don’t put toothpaste on a pimple to “dry” it out. A pimple is a mixture of oil, inflammation, bacteria and dead skin cells. I know Gram swears by it, but toothpaste can’t touch any of those factors. Grab some pimple patches (my favorite are Peace Out Acne Healing Dots) and invest in making an appointment with a dermatologist. Those doctors will have all different kinds of treatment plans they’ve seen success with and put you on one until you find results.
It’s OK to sleep in makeup
I always say makeup shouldn’t make you break out, but not removing it properly will. It hurts me deep in my soul when you sleep in makeup. Our skin, like our heart, is always working. It’s covered in pores, which allow us to sweat and secrete sebum, a natural lubricant that moisturizes skin and removes dead skin cells and other irritants from our pores. When we put on our makeup, we block our pores from releasing that sebum, which may lead to visibly larger pores and breakouts over time. Makeup also stops our skin from shedding dead cells and bringing new ones to the surface, which can cause dullness. There’s also a good amount of alcohol in makeup, which dehydrates skin and can cause premature lines and sagging.
Please take the extra few minutes to remove your makeup before bed by washing your face. DO NOT use a makeup wipe (which leads me to the next myth).
A makeup wipe replaces washing your face
Would you use a baby wipe instead of showering? Unless it was a dire circumstance, you wouldn’t. Your face is part of your body and deserves the same love – not to mention if you wear sunscreen (you should be) or makeup, you really should never hit the pillow without washing your face. Also, wipes aren’t “quicker.” If you’re only doing three to four swipes across your face, that’s not enough to actually take off anything, so you’re doing more harm than good by moving all the makeup, oil and dirt around.
You need to use water on your face. For people who say they’re too busy, I know you have to brush your teeth. Add in the extra (not even) five minutes to also wash your face. If you suffer from any skin issues, you will be amazed at what a difference cleansing with a dedicated facial product makes.
You need dozens of products and a strict routine
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You might use a half-dry baby wipe to take off your makeup and apply rubbing alcohol right to your face with a used cotton ball, but you still have great skin. Keep doing you if you’re not concerned. However, if you see issues in your skin and it’s bothering you, then you should make a change.
I compare it to this: you could survive on a diet of Big Macs, Mountain Dew and Snickers bars, but your health might suffer in the long run and you also might feel sluggish and sick 90% of the time. If you seek change, you should make the necessary adjustments. Do it slowly, like washing your face every night for a few days before building upon your routine to address these concerns. Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT