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Breaking Skin Care Myths

From not washing your face as much as you think you should to actively putting live cultures on your face to exfoliate dead skin, here's how modern day skin care myths are explained.

From using rice water as a cleanser/exfoliator to avoiding tap water in the shower, here's how certain modern habits we've condoned as "healthy" have been known to have deep routed falsehoods. Some types of cleansing routings actively break down the skin?!?! How can this be? Following below are examples of just what truth is behind some of the most commonly heard and possibly misunderstood skin care fads.

because you don’t wash your face correctly or frequently enough. In order for acne to develop clogged pores from shedding keratin/skin cells, sebum, bacteria and inflammation. So, while not washing your face certainly won’t help the problem, it’s not the sole cause of acne.


Myth #1: Not Washing Your Face Causes Acne

Though it’s a popular myth, it is, indeed, a myth. You won’t get acne just because you don’t wash your face correctly or frequently enough. In order for acne to develop, there are a combination of factors: clogged pores from shedding keratin/skin cells, sebum, bacteria and inflammation. So, while not washing your face certainly won’t help the problem, it’s not the sole cause of acne.

Myth #2: Products That Claim to be "Natural" or "Organic" (Know Your Preservatives)

In 1984 the Cosmetic Ingredients Review determined that parabens—which are naturally occurring chemicals—are safe for use in cosmetic products up to a concentration of 25 percent; typically, cosmetics feature paraben levels of about 0.01 to 0.3 percent. It’s important to note that there is more than one type of paraben, and the most commonly found types in cosmetics include methyl- and propylparabens. Butylparabens and isopropylparabens are the kinds that have demonstrated greater safety concerns. It’s also known that without preservatives, cosmetics are subject to microbial growth—typically bacteria, mold and yeast. While research on parabens continues, you can be certain that spoiled cosmetics infested with bacteria pose a definite threat.

Plenty of noise has been made about a potential link between parabens and breast cancer, and that noise does actually have a source—a much-cited 2004 study from the "Journal of Applied Toxicology" found the presence of parabens in breast tumors. But despite the ongoing research this study spurred, no evidence exists to directly link parabens to cancer. Essentially, we know that parabens stay in the bloodstream, but there’s no concrete evidence suggesting that they’re harmful.

Potential Side Effects

Although individual cosmetic products seem to be in the clear, parabens—just like many natural ingredients—can affect hormone function, which in turn affects breast cancer risk and reproductive health. It is possible, though still unknown, that cumulative exposure to parabens and other ingredients across several personal care products may cause potentially harmful spikes in estrogen levels. It’s also true that while the FDA has found no reason to ban paraben use in the U.S., the European Union does not allow for parabens in cosmetics and skincare.

Myth #3: Washing your face with HOT water will open up your pores and give you a better clean

You want to be careful not to wash your face with hot water. Yes, steam will open your pores. Use a hot towel or let your pores open up in the shower or bath. It doesn’t have to hurt to work!

You don’t need to shock your face with freezing cold water, but a lukewarm—not hot—temperature is ideal. Though a steamy, hot shower or rinse might feel soothing, it could damage your skin by stripping it of its natural, protective barrier and drying it out. A good way to tell if the water you’re bathing or cleansing with is too hot? If your skin is red after rinsing, the water you used was too hot.

Myth #4: The Harder your scrub, the better

Please No! It doesn’t have to hurt to work. Always err on the side of gentle when treating your skin. Scrubbing too hard or too often will cause damage to your skin. Be kind to your skin, and exfoliate only two to three times per week. Just like your muscles when you work them out, your skin needs to recuperate and regenerate.”

We so often want instant satisfaction (it’s normal!), and this applies to our skin care routines as well. We want to feel our products working, which is why exfoliating (especially with a scrub) can be so satisfying. However, less is definitely more when it comes to exfoliation. Exfoliating too often “strips your skin of essential moisture and makes your skin more susceptible to infections, clogged pores and free radicals that can lead to unwanted wrinkles in the future.

Myth #5: You don't have to moisturize if you have oily skin

Not necessarily. Most cleansers will strip the natural oils from your skin, so you will need to replace that protective layer. If you really want to skip steps, try an oil cleanser, like micellar water. It will leave your skin’s pH intact; therefore (for some skin types), you won’t need to apply additional product.

No matter what your skin type—oily and acne-prone or dry and dehydrated—you need to be using some kind of moisturizer to keep your skin balanced and nourished. The differences lie in the type and amount of moisturizer your skin needs. While oily skin requires the least amount of moisture, a moisturizer is still vital for hydrating and nourishing your skin. When choosing a moisturizer, I'd advise a lighter product such as a hydrating serum or lotion versus a heavy cream.

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