We all want clear, radiant and healthy skin—and there are plenty of tips out there for how to get it. However, not every piece of skin care advice out there is totally true. T&S is here to help you separate fact from fiction. Here’s the truth behind some of the most commonly spread skin care myths.
Myth 1: Oily foods cause acne
As teenagers, we’re all told to put down that slice of pizza or chocolate bar lest we want to be dealing with pimples. In reality, there is no evidence that any food is connected to breakouts. Acne is caused by sebum, which is an oily substance; however, it’s created and secreted by the skin and does not come from outside sources.
Myth 2: Drinking water keeps your skin hydrated.
There’s no question that drinking water is important for your overall health, but there is no evidence that good hydration leads to dewy skin. When you drink water, it hydrates cells once it’s absorbed in the bloodstream and filtered by the kidneys, so it doesn’t go automatically to the skin. On the other hand, extreme dehydration can lead to dry, tight or itchy skin, so upping your water intake won’t hurt your skin.
Myth 3: There’s no need for sunscreen in fall or winter.
Spring and summer may be the seasons of sunshine, but ultraviolet (UV) rays don’t go away in fall and winter. They aren’t as strong during the colder months, but they can still impact your skin, causing fine line, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer. Up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate clouds, so overcast days also are no exception for regularly wearing sunscreen. The sun’s rays can reflect off of snow, so it’s even more important to protect your skin on snowy days.
Myth 4: Keep your eye creams in the fridge.
Cold temps can help reduce puffiness and swelling—just look at the popularity of ice rollers for the face as evidence. It seems like an easy hack to stick your eye cream in the fridge to up its effectiveness. However, it likely won’t have much of an impact. Since your body is naturally around 98.6°F, it’s going to warm up the cream as soon as you apply it. If you want to cool down your skin, grab an ice roller or a cold compress. They’ll stay cold on warm skin.
Myth 5: You don’t need to moisturize if you have oily skin.
If your skin already feels slick, why add to it with moisturizer? Well, oily skin can still be dehydrated. In fact, increased oil production may be a way of overcompensating for that dehydration. Moisturizer doesn’t add water to your skin. It works by holding water to the top layer of skin so it stays more hydrated. Help your skin balance out oil production by regularly using a moisturizer.
Myth 6: The higher the SPF, the better.
SPF measures a sunscreen’s protection against UVB rays, which cause sunburn. So the higher the number, the better … right? Well, not necessarily. The numbers mean less difference than you may realize. Sunscreen with SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays. It may seem logical to assume that a product with SPF 50 would do half of that, but it actually blocks 98%. Most experts recommend using a broadspectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays) product that has an SPF of at least 30—which blocks 97% of UVB rays. In most circumstances, something with a higher SPF isn’t necessary, but you may want to consider one if you’re going to spend several hours outdoors during peak sun exposure (around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Myth 7: Dark circles are a sign of tiredness.
While fatigue is among the causes of dark circles, that’s not the only reason you might see them pop up under your eyes. They can also appear due to allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, hay fever, sun exposure, aging and genetics. With all these potential causes, it’s difficult for topical eye creams to treat them. Work with a dermatologist or other skin care professional to determine what course of treatment may be best for you. Odds are catching a few extra zzz’s won’t be enough.
Myth 8: Antibacterial soap is best for keeping your skin clean.
Our skin has a natural microbiome—that means it will never be completely free of bacteria. Some of them even play an important role in your overall health by preventing the growth of potentially harmful microbes or working with your body’s immune system to help fight infection. Antibacterial soap is not necessary for everyday use. Experts are even concerned that the use of such products could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If you’re worried about the spread of infection, thorough and consistent hand-washing with regular soap is a good preventative measure.
Sources: health.com, Harvard Health Publishing, Mayo Clinic