8 Skin Care Myths, Debunked!

Aly Walansky

Woman Washing Face

Whether urban legend or tales from our mom, we all believe a lot of tall tales about our skin. These tales can be dangerous and can create skin issues that weren’t there before! Here, we get down to the nitty gritty of the issues and call upon experts to tell us the real, skin-clearing truth.

Acne is caused by dirt and not cleansing enough. 
Wrong! “Acne is caused by hormones, genetics, sebum or oil and dead skin cells that build up and clogs hair follicles, resulting in inflammation and – pimples!” says Wendy Lewis of BeautyintheBag.com. One mistake acne sufferers make is cleansing too often and with harsh detergents to try to get rid of all of the oil on the skin. Use gentle cleansers only and don’t over cleanse which leads to red, raw, dried out, and all around irritated skin. Acne prone skin needs TLC. Cleanse once or twice daily with a mild cleanser, exfoliate regularly, use only non-comedogenic products, and if you have full blown acne (multiple lesions constantly showing up), see a dermatologist for prescription medicine.

Beauty products that “shrink” pores.
“You can’t shrink the size of pores because the pore size is determined by genetic make-up, however it is possible to minimize the appearance of pores by keeping them clean,” says Alicia Villanova, lead esthetician at the  Guerlain Spa in the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York. Consider receiving a facial in which the esthetician handles extractions to clean out the pores. By removing pore-clogging debris, the pores will have a smaller appearance.
Leaving perfume in the fridge makes it last longer.
Nope. “Taking perfume in and out of the fridge will cause temperature alterations damaging the perfume notes, not to mention the scent can get into food,” says Villanova. As an alternative, store perfume in a room temperature setting away from any extra heat or light.

Skin should feel tight and squeaky clean after you wash. That’s when you know it has been effectively cleaned.

“Windows should be squeaky clean, not skin!” says  celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau. If skin feels tight after washing, it is a sign that it has been stripped of vital water content and this will cause surface dead skin cell buildup. Bar soaps, even ones that say they are moisturizing, contain surfactants that leave skin compromised so it’s extremely important to use a gentle cleanser right for your skin type. “I always suggest a sulfate-free, non-drying cleanser for a thorough and comfortable clean,” says Rouleau.

If you have acne-prone skin you should use products designed for acne.

False. “A skin care line geared toward acne is designed to fight bacteria and dry out breakouts. For someone (like a teenager) whose skin is covered in severe acne, this is appropriate. But for most people who get some breakouts (but not on the majority of their face), acne products can make the situation worse,” says Rouleau. These products are extremely drying, and although they will help dry up and heal individual breakouts, they will over-dry other non-broken out areas, resulting in dead skin cell buildup. The cell buildup will then act as a barrier to trap oil under the skin, causing more clogged pores and breakouts. So your effort to clear up your skin will actually cause you to break out more! “The three most important elements for controlling clogged pores and breakouts are: exfoliation (this will remove dry skin cells to unclog pores and also help fade those red, post-breakout marks), disinfecting (it is important to eliminate bacteria to help prevent the spread of breakout as well as to dry up infection), and hydration (water-based moisture to keep cells healthy to discourage dry skin cell buildup),” Rouleau says.

MORE: 5 Signs It’s Time to See a Dermatologist

Toners are unnecessary.

False. “I don’t like to use toners because they dry out my skin.” We hear this comment a lot and it’s because most toners on the market contain SD Alcohol 40, which is extremely drying to the skin and will encourage dry skin cell build up. “Toners that are alcohol-free (like all of the Renée Rouleau toners) will not strip the skin, and are a crucial step in a good skin care regimen. They remove cleanser residue, chlorine found in tap water, and when the toner is left damp on the skin, your moisturizer will seal in the water and the active ingredient,” says Rouleau. The result is healthier and more hydrated skin.

Makeup brushes do not need to be cleaned very often.

So wrong! Keep your application brushes clean with a gentle shampoo to prevent applying bacteria to your eyes and to help the makeup slide on more naturally and smoothly on your skin. Also: “Never share makeup or use saliva on your brushes or to thin out your makeup!” says Dr. Brisco of the California Optometric Association.

All mascara and eye makeup will irritate and damage my eyes and the skin around eyes.

“Choose mascara with natural, non-toxic and moisturizing ingredients to moisturize your lashes,” says Dr. Brisco. Hypoallergenic and non-waterproof brands are less irritating for contact lens wearers. When applying mascara, put the mirror below your eye lines so that you can look down into it and see more of your lashes. Slowly apply from the base to the tips. To avoid getting an eye infection from bacteria in your mascara tube, make sure the mascara is less than six months old and has not been sitting in a hot place, like your car or purse. Heat destroys preservatives. Also, do not share eye makeup with your friends because each person has slightly different bacteria which may cause an eye infection.  After removing makeup, rinse and moisturize around your eyes to avoid irritation.

Photo via Sydney Shaffer/Digital Vision