The Fictions and Facts of Skincare 

Skincare Myths and Facts 

Whether staring at the mirror in the morning or spiffing up for an evening on the town, everyone wants to face the world with a fresh, healthy glow. But how do we achieve that? Sorting through the plethora of advice and opinion coming at us from every angle is a challenge, especially when figuring out what information is dermatologically valid and what’s marketing hype that can harm your skin. Here to help is the fictions and facts of skincare. 

Female Recieving Facial Skincare. Hands putting lotion on face.

What You Need to Know about Caring for Your Skin  

We’re here to help. After sorting through considerable conversation about skincare, we’ve come up with six categories that encapsulate much of the discussion. Besides separating skincare myths and fictions from facts, we’re adding practical advice to help you achieve the radiant complexion you want.  


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 Only teenagers get acne.   Reality is, you can get acne at any age. Acne occurs when pores get plugged with sebum, dead skin, bacteria, and other debris. Sebum is a natural, normal, waxy substance secreted by the body’s sebaceous glands; you need it to moisturize and protect. Hormonal changes occurring at puberty result in enlarged glands and excess output, which is why acne is more common among teenagers. Eating chocolate does not trigger acne or other breakouts; greasy foods aren’t culprits either. Genetics are often a factor is who gets acne at what age. For adults, diet, lifestyle, stress, and hormonal imbalances can all play a role. Should you develop breakouts or zits of any kind, avoid popping them. That can lead to bleeding, burning sensations, infection, scabbing, and scarring. Mild cases of acne may be helped with over-the-counter products, but severe outbreaks need to be treated by a dermatologist or other medical professional.  


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 You should wash your face multiple times a day, with the hottest water possible.    Except you don’t want to do either of those things. Cleansing your face twice daily, morning and evening, is plenty. More often and you’re stripping away natural secretions and causing irritation. Hot water is even more damaging because it removes essential oils and moisture and leaves skin dry and itchy. Use lukewarm, even cool, water to avoid hurting your skin. A cleanser formulated for your skin type is a good idea or use a very mild soap devoid of the alcohol and fragrances that suck moisture away.  


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 The more you exfoliate, the better your skin looks.   More often, exfoliation has the opposite effect—it severely damages the skin. If you choose to exfoliate, once a week is maximum, and according to experts, most of us don’t need to exfoliate at all. That’s because skin naturally sheds its superficial layers once a month or so, making abrasive devices, harsh chemicals, peels, or dermabrasion unnecessary—mother nature gets rid of dead skin cells on her own. Observing a normal skin care routine of cleansing and moisturizing should be enough to keep skin looking bright and fresh.  


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 Wearing makeup causes wrinkles or acne or premature ageing or all of these.   Whichever you choose, it’s wrong, although the opposite may be true: Not removing makeup before going to bed can lead to breakouts and wrinkles by trapping dirt, grime, and pollution deep within the pores. Most makeup is formulated to be non-irritating, especially if you choose a product matched specifically to your skin type—normal, dry, oily, or combination, according to experts. Non-comedogenic and oil-free products are friendliest for your skin, especially products that contain moisturizers and SPF elements. Wearing makeup makes us feel more together and polished. But apply lightly—heavy, caked-on faces are distracting and can lead to breakouts; layers of chemicals, colorings, concealers, and other ingredients are just plain hard on the skin.   


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 If you have oily skin, you don’t need to moisturize.   Overlooking moisturizer is easy, especially when we’re in a rush to get to somewhere as most of us generally are. But moisturizing after washing your face is important to keeping skin soft, supple, and hydrated. Depending on the product, moisturizer may add SPF protection and also provides a base for makeup. Having oily skin does not exempt you from using moisturizer, although making sure a brand is formulated for your particular skin type is always good advice. Everybody needs to moisturize, guys included, and remember to moisturize your entire body. Dry, flaky skin itches and peels, it’s unattractive and uncomfortable and, with moisturizer, very easy to avoid.   


Fiction Facts + Advice  
 You only need sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun.   Absolutely not true. Even on cloudy days and every season of the year, the sun’s UV and UVB rays get through to damage your skin. To protect yourself, apply SPF 30 or higher full-spectrum sunscreen every day, no matter what the forecast says. Every skin color needs sunscreen, including darker tones. And no, wearing sunscreen does not cause breakouts; in fact, finding a product that’s compatible with your skin type may actually add moisture. While modest, careful, protected time outdoors helps your body produce the vitamin D that’s essential for healthy skin, do not for a moment believe the base-tan myth. A base tan does not protect your skin from sunburn; instead, it’s the beginning stage of damage. Spray tan doesn’t protect you either, and tanning beds are as dangerous as actual exposure to the sun. When you’re in the sun for any length of time, be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat to shield your head, face, and neck; for all-over protection, donning clothing with built-in SPF factors is an excellent way to go.   

 Good Habits Are Part of Good Skincare  

Also important to improving skin tone and texture—eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein and exercising regularly, even for a leisurely walk. Your body needs fluid, so stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily. Absolutely do not smoke. Tobacco smoke dries out skin and can discolor it; that’s in addition to the many other dangers smoking poses to health. Do try to relax, which is not easy, especially with so many concerns upping our stress levels. But stress increases hormones that make skin oily, and excess oil can lead to breakouts, rashes, and other irritations. Being realistic also matters since skin looks and feels different depending on your age, where you live, season of the year, and other factors. For everybody, observing the facts (not fictions) of skincare is a great way to improve the way you look and feel.