The ancient Egyptian Queen Cleopatra soaked in luxurious baths of milk and honey in her quest for beautiful skin. Like her, women throughout time used all sorts of extraordinary skin care regimens to achieve their ideas of “perfect skin.” In Medieval times, people avoided bathing with soap and water even after the Black Plague because they considered it dangerous. Victorian women drank their perfumes thinking that their bodies would sweat out the smelly potions. As you can see by history, what seems like good sense today may in fact prove to be a skin care myth.
Skin Care Myth #1:“To be really clean, I must have squeaky-clean skin.”
Getting squeaky-clean skin may feel good for a moment but you aren’t really doing yourself any favors. Skin care products that dry out your skin strip away the body’s natural oils. Those oils are necessary for giving you a natural glow and for keeping skin soft and lubricated. This is especially true for facial skin that tends to show its age faster than your body. Avoid using products that leave you super dry or at least use an oil-free moisturizer on your face and body.
Myth #2: “If you start shaving your legs, your hair will grow back thicker.”
Mom’s sage advice is in fact a myth. Scientists say that shaving does not cause thickening leg hairs or arm pit hairs. Actually before a person shaves, the hair shafts have slanted tips that lay naturally on the skin. When you shave the tipped hair away, the hair shafts grow back with no slanted tips. Also during puberty, when hormones begin to shift, the color of the hair may darken and appear thicker. These factors contribute to the idea that shaving your hair thickens it. If that were the case, women with thin hair should shave their heads. This is not a beauty tip we recommend!
Myth #3: “The higher the SPF the better protection I will get.”
You’d think so, but not really. For total sun protection, the SPF level isn’t as important as the type of sunscreen you are using. After SPF 15, you should be good to go. However, verify that your favorite product is a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen. There are two main types of UV rays that you need protection from. The UVA type changes the pigmentation of your skin, causing sun tanning. The UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburns and can alter the DNA of your skin. This DNA alteration is responsible for diseases like cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for products that contain ingredients like mexorye, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium and zinc oxide. Here’s an extra tidbit. A base tan will not necessary prevent sunburn.
Myth #4: “You must use a toner to get clean skin.”
Forget toner. It’s overrated and will contribute to drying out your skin. Unless your skin is chronically oily, you don’t need to use toner. Many skin cleansers contain toner in their formulas so applying toner again may be redundant.
Myth #5: “Expensive skin care is the best.”
Wrong! The main difference between expensive skin care and the moderately priced? Patented fragrance formulas! Large cosmetic companies refine their fragrance formulas and trademark them. Often the science behind your product is common knowledge – it is the fragrance component that costs you. Get to know the science behind the products you love then go label shopping for cheaper versions.
Myth #6: “Anti-aging products reverse the signs of aging.”
I’d like to say this is true, but largely it isn’t. With the exception of topical retinoids, science has not proven that anti-aging products permanently reverse the signs of aging. Most products in the anti-aging category simply plump your skin causing the wrinkled area to appear puffier, younger-looking. The temporary effect will fade with the strength of the cream. However, topical retinoids have passed some tests. Retinoids do penetrate the skin at deep levels and can boost the regeneration of skin cells.