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The Skincare Misconceptions and Myths You Need to Avoid

When it comes to skincare, we’ve heard it all. The internet is full of do-it-yourself tips, home remedies and life hacks which can actually do more harm than good. We understand it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not out there, but we’re here to help debunk some of those stubborn skincare myths and misconceptions you may be tempted to try.

1. “You don’t need to wear SPF on a cloudy day, only when it’s sunny.”

Incorrect.

You might have assumed that when it’s not sunny outside, you can get away with not wearing sun protection. Clouds may filter out sunlight, but still let 80% of harmful UV rays through – this means you are still at risk of causing damage to your skin through burning or speeding up ageing.

The best way to determine whether you need to wear SPF on a particular day is not by the weather, but with the international UV index. This is a daily rating from 1 to 20 of how much UV radiation will reach your location and what the risk is for your skin. You can find this by Googling your city name and “UV index”. If the number is 3 or higher, you should be wearing sun protection or SPF.

2. “Greasy food and chocolate causes acne”

Incorrect.

You may be under the impression that junk food, such as greasy pizza, burgers, chips and chocolate, can cause acne breakouts. This is actually a huge misconception, which stems from the grease in the food and the fact that many people with acne have oily skin. However, as many studies have shown, it doesn’t have any impact on your skin’s health. 

The culprit behind acne breakouts is more likely to be dairy. Milk and other dairy products contain whey and casein (proteins) which stimulates hormones and growth in calves. When humans digest these proteins, it stimulates the release of a hormone called IGF-1, which is known to trigger acne breakouts. If you are prone to acne, try cutting out dairy from your diet.

3. “You should avoid all alcohol in skin products”

Incorrect.

When it comes to alcohol in skincare products, there are good types and bad types. It is fine to choose skincare products that contain ‘fatty alcohols’, which are non-irritating and are good for the skin. You may see these listed in the ingredient list as ‘cetyl alcohol’, ‘stearyl alcohol’ and ‘cetearyl alcohol’. Fatty alcohols are suitable for any skin type in small amounts, as they not only give a pleasant texture, they help stabilise the ingredients within the products.

The type you should avoid is the drying type of alcohol which you’ll most likely see listed in the ingredients as ‘SD alcohol’, ‘denatured alcohol’ or ‘isopropyl alcohol’. These types may first sound appealing as they immediately degrease the skin and give a quick-drying finish, but in the long run, they have negative consequences. They can cause dryness, disrupt the surface microbiome layer, affect how the skin naturally rejuvenates itself and generally weakens it.

Synthetic fragrances in skin care tend to be aromatic alcohol which has been used to make them smell fruity or perfumed. Skin care such as this should be avoided, because although it smells nice it can cause dryness and work negatively long term – so it’s best to use those containing natural fragrances, such as skin care with essential oils.

4. “You don’t need to start using anti-ageing products until you’re in your 30s”

Incorrect.

You shouldn’t wait until you start seeing noticeable signs of ageing before you decide to use anti-ageing creams and serums. Experts agree that the best age to start using anti-ageing products is actually 20 years old. We know this window may have passed for a significant number of you, but don’t worry – it isn’t the be-all, end-all. Starting the road to prevention as early as possible will slow down the skin’s ageing process significantly, but the main thing is to take the steps now to reduce the impact of future ageing. There is no time like the present!

For an effective anti-ageing solution, try out anti-ageing night cream.

5. “Aspirin can be used as a skincare product”

Correct, but only as a short term solution.

Salicylic acid is an ingredient in some skincare products which helps to unclog pores, reduce acne, exfoliate and even out skin tone. Some people believe that using aspirin, otherwise known as acetylsalicylic acid, is a homemade remedy which is the same as using products containing salicylic acid. Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is derived from salicylic acid, and has similar properties – but it isn’t the same. It can be used as a short term solution to reduce swelling and redness, but it isn’t a long term solution.

By crushing up an aspirin tablet and mixing it with water or honey, it can be applied to the skin as a face mask or in targeted areas. The properties within aspirin will reduce the inflammation of the skin, and the gritty paste will exfoliate the skin. This shouldn’t be used on sensitive skin as it may be too abrasive and can dry your skin out a lot, but can be helpful to use for individuals on areas where acne is forming. If you are looking for more long term results to manage spots and acne, speak to your doctor for the best course of action.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about skin care myths and top tips? Head over to our Instagram @dilmaherbals, where we run a skin myths series over on our IGTV. We have specialist dermatologists, pharmacists and doctors who explain everything you need to know about looking after your skin!