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Today I wanted to do something a little fun that you might also learn something from! These are the worst skincare tips and tidbits of advice I've seen floating around on the internet...

DIY face masks with harmful ingredients

Look, by and large: putting the contents of your fridge on your face is a waste of food (whilst many of these ingredients have skin benefits, they're not refined to work topically, and you might actually be better off eating them so the benefits of a healthy diet come through in your skin) but generally pretty harmless. As long as you stick to stuff like berries, honey, avocado etc. However, I see so many of these recipes include highly acidic ingredients like lemons and apple cider vinegar: do not do that! Both of these ingredients can be formulated for the skin in low concentrations, though I'd still say to steer clear if you have sensitive skin. If you weren't aware; the skin's natural pH is around 5.5, so actually mildly acidic. However, a lemon has a pH of around 2, so is extremely acidic and apple cider vinegar is around 2-3. If you stray too far from that sweet spot of 5.5: you're setting yourself up for problems... At best: pointless and a waste of perfectly tasty food (avocados aren't cheap!), at worst: a cocktail for disaster. Overall, I'd swerve DIY skincare as a whole.

Drinking water will cure acne

Actually doing this is pretty harmless, but ultimately: you just p*ss it out! By all means, get enough water, it's great for your overall health, but you know you're drinking the right amount when you need to keep going for clear wees more than hourly! There's no evidence that excess water goes to your skin, let alone that it's a 'cure-all'. It's deeply insensitive to tell someone suffering with a medical condition like acne that their problems will all be solved by few extra glasses a day of water. Dermatologists wasting 10+ years of their life on training, because the secret is water... sure!

You don't need to wear sunscreen if...

Everyone over the age of 6 months (newborns should be shielded from the sun as a whole) should be wearing sunscreen during daylight hours. Whatever your skin tone, whatever your propensity to burn. I personally support 365 sunscreen, but can appreciate that wearing it during the dead of winter is more about preventing photo-ageing (not everyone cares about that) and if you aren't using strong actives: perhaps it's not a priority for you on these very low UV-index days. Otherwise, the only time you don't need to wear sunscreen is after dark.

Coconut oil for everything

I feel like we all want to believe in a kitchen staple that costs a few pounds as a do-it-all miracle beauty product. It can be fine for the hair and body, but I'd be cautious when it comes to your face. Coconut oil is highly occlusive, it sticks to the skin and it can be pretty comedogenic for many skin types (meaning pore-clogging). Some people just have the sort of hardy skin that will not break out when using something like this, but you know your skin: if that's not you, it's probably not worth the risk. I have used coconut oil in the past as a makeup remover or first cleanse, but I do have the sort of skin that doesn't tend to break out from products. The issue is that most cleansing oils and balms are formulated with a mixture of oils and they're designed to emulsify on the skin so the product is totally removed. Raw coconut oil won't emulsify so even if you remove it with a damp cloth (which will probably require some significant tugging), it's quite likely you will have some of it left on your skin, even after a double cleanse. For some, this won't be a problem, for others it will be. My advice: go to Boots and buy a big tub of cleansing balm or bottle of cleansing oil for a tenner.

Mix your sunscreen with your foundation / moisturiser

I get why people want to do this: sunscreen can leave a white cast or have an unpleasant texture on the skin, and if you sometimes find SPF in foundation and moisturisers: surely it's fine to do this yourself? Nope! Sunscreen is designed to be applied in a continuous layer across your skin, and even brands who claim you can mix with their product: have they tested every foundation or moisturiser under the sun to ensure the SPF level isn't compromised by this mixing? Didn't think so... Apply your sunscreen as the last step in your skincare routine, then apply your foundation. Or, go for a tinted sunscreen. Mixing is playing Russian Roulette with your sun protection level and I'd strongly caution against it.

Apply toothpaste to spots

I'm sure most of us Millennials tried this as teenagers and I suppose it 'worked' to an extent in that it dries out the spot, but the older I've got, the more I've realised that 'drying out' the spot is not a good thing and can lead to scarring if you're prone to hyperpigmentation. I'm actually not a fan of drying lotions any more for this reason. I'd rather use salicylic acid in a gentle cleanser, leave-on oil or a balanced / hydrating spot treatment that's not chock full of drying alcohols. 

Use XYZ food product as sunscreen

This one comes back around every few months; again, its appealing to the 'natural is better' crowd and is being egged on by the 'clean beauty' movement. First chemical sunscreens are evil, next zinc oxide is 'toxic' and here we are at the logical conclusion of this nonsense. Whilst raspberry seed oil has an SPF of about 6 and coconut oil about 4, that's obviously negligible! For context: white skin has a natural SPF of around 3 and the deepest skin of around 13. I'm actually pretty sure that if you daubed your entire face and body with any substance, it would give some sunscreen coverage, but to say you should ditch your extensively-tested, tried and true filters that give SPF 50 for that is pure nonsense. Oil can actually exacerbate burning under direct sunlight too, so I'm sure that outweighs any of the SPF properties of either of these ingredients. If there's one thing we just need to not f*ck with: it's sunscreen. That's all I have to say on this: if you see people touting this on social media, please report them for creating content that's harmful to health.

Have you ever indulged in any of these myths in the past? What would you add to this?

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