Today I thought we'd take on a few skincare myths that are still doing the rounds (somehow!) and break down what the truth behind them really is...
This isn't quite correct and understanding how ingredients work is essential to understanding how to use them and make them effective for your skin. Hyaluronic acid is not hydrating in and of itself; what it actually does is act as a water magnet drawing hydration into the skin. Why does this matter? Well, it might not if you're doing your routine in a steamy, post-shower bathroom really quickly, but if you live in a dry, arid climate: this is very relevant! Hyaluronic acid needs some water to work with, or it's going to pull water off off the surface of your skin into the deeper layers, leaving you feeling dehydrated. Therefore, it should be applied to damp skin and locked in with a moisturiser containing some occlusive ingredients. Slapped onto your skin on its own, it isn't hydrating anything!
This isn't, like, a totally baseless myth situation, more a 'science has moved on' situation. We used to think that mineral sunscreens sat on top of the skin as a layer that reflects UV rays, whereas chemical sunscreens absorbed the rays and converted them into heat that was then released from the skin. This was often used as a reason why mineral sunscreens are 'safe' and chemical sunscreens are 'bad'. However, we now know that whilst mineral sunscreens do reflect a small amount of UV rays, they do actually also absorb the vast majority, so there's very little difference in how they work on the skin. Ultimately, you just need to use a product you're actually going to be comfortable wearing every day.
I thought this was dead, I really though it was! However, every celebrity skincare routine seems to mention this myth, which doesn't make a lot of sense. There are definitely prescription topicals that can work in a few months and beyond that might do more harm than good (hydroquinone springs to mind), however if you're using products you've picked up at Cult Beauty or Boots: that's not a concern! What I think people are seeing when they say this is that they're not getting the same dramatic improvements in their skin 6 months into using a product as they did during those first few weeks. That's totally natural, but your skin isn't 'used to' the product and it doesn't need things spicing up, you're just used to the results it's giving you. That's great, and it might be a sign you want to up the intensity of your active once you've used up your current product, but you can't realistically expect to see that dramatic improvement every single day until you die that you did when you used glycolic acid for the first time ever!
The older I get, the more I consider whether I might want a little tweak here or there at some point. However, I think people misunderstand what this does for your skin; filler plumps out an area of the skin (usually with injectable hyaluronic acid) whereas botox paralyses muscles so the skin isn't repeatedly creasing. This doesn't mean you automatically have 'good skin' (whatever that means). You can still have acne, you can still have pigmentation, you can still have dull skin, you can still have dehydrated skin. Of course, if someone's doing a retinoid advertisement on Instagram, they should be disclosing these sorts of procedures, but that still doesn't invalidate their skincare advice or product recommendations. Ironically, the more this gets stigmatised, the more people are going to try to fib about it and the less we can have these open conversations about what procedures do and don't improve. Personally, I love a before and after from a skincare creator, as it just gives an insight into how the procedures work and exactly what they do.
Studies have actually shown that SPF 15 blocks around 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 around 97% and SPF 50 around 98%. So, why would you go with a higher SPF, when traditionally they're known for being heavier, giving more of a white cast and feeling less elegant? Well, because no one is perfect! Even the skincare junkies amongst us probably aren't applying enough or reapplying frequently enough, so a higher SPF is your insurance policy against that. The increased protection just has your back in case you slip up, but obviously it's still important to be diligent about the amount you apply and how often you apply it.
This is something I was definitely guilty of once upon a time! Toners aren't strictly necessary to a skincare routine and are there to hydrate the skin or add in some extra active ingredients. They're not cleansers and they don't contain surfactants; if you're noticing makeup coming off on your cotton pad when you apply your toner, something is wrong! It's a sign your cleansing routine isn't effective; if one cleanser can't remove your makeup, you should double-cleanse with an oil-based cleanser followed by a cream or water-based cleanser, depending on your skin type. I often use a damp face cloth to remove my first cleanse when I'm wearing makeup so I can really get into the nooks and crannies to get everything off, like the hairline, jawline and by my ears.
Did you believe any of these myths back in the day? Are there any others you see repeated that you think need debunking?