Breaking the Rules: Why These Skincare “Rules” Are Really Just Myths
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about skincare, but some are so prevalent, they’ve risen to the level of “rules.” Here, we debunk some of the more common (or outrageous) so-called skincare rules.
I feel like I could tell stories for the rest of my life about the things I’ve seen working in the skincare industry and still remember new things. Among all the crazy stories of people telling me they used motor oil to tan with (I’m dead serious, y’all) and using dish soap on their face, I’ve also heard some really strange “rules” that people swore by after reading something online or having been told by a friend of a friend who “knows a lot about skin.” With the sheer amount of information that we have access to nowadays, I can see how some of these so-called skincare rules come about — everyone’s just trying to feel like they’re doing the right thing for themselves, but there is definitely a lot of misinformation floating around and being taken as law.
There is no possible way for me to compile all of these so-called skincare rules in one article, but here’s a “greatest hits,” if you will, of some of the most memorable things I’ve heard and read.
I feel like I will go on into the afterlife telling people that oily complexions can benefit from the right oils, but I continue to see skincare marketing perpetuating this fear that oils in products will cause breakouts, clogged pores, and extreme levels of shine. As a result, there’s a whole group of consumers looking to make their routines specifically oil-free because anything containing oils is apparently going to harm your skin in some way. And unfortunately, the weirdness doesn’t stop there.
I wish it was only on one occasion, but I actually met a whole host of people doing education that believe using facial oils on your skin would somehow make your skin “lazy” and stop it from producing its own oil. I can personally vouch that this isn’t true whatsoever (as can editor Sheryll), and unless you’re truly oily all over your face and live in a very humid and hot climate, a facial oil of some kind will do more good than harm.
You are what you drink
There is so much out there talking about what you should and should not drink for clear, glowing skin: drink green juice, drink water, don’t drink coffee, etc., and if you don’t drink the right things and/or avoid drinking the wrong things, your skin is going to be dry and dull.
Your skin is your largest organ, so if you’re not eating properly, not getting enough sleep, are dehydrated, and just not in generally good health, your skin is inevitably going to look worse for the wear, but I doubt you’d feel good in general in a state like this. That being said, there has been no research proving that drinking water somehow directly increases the hydration of your skin, and I’ve also seen some proof that coffee, while definitely not as hydrating as water, doesn’t dehydrate your body like alcohol or certain teas can. So keep calm and sip on, people.
Exfoliation is something that I believe has a place in almost everyone’s routine, but there’s no set rules on how often you should be exfoliating your skin. Some people believe that you must be very gentle, and if you exfoliate more than once a week you’re going to cause some massive issue, while the other school of thought is that you need to exfoliate morning and night every day. Hard pass on both schools of thought for me. Your skin, for better or worse, isn’t a constant thing that always behaves the same way, so depending on what it’s doing and what’s going on with you (i.e. traveling, sleep schedule, changes in your environment, etc.), your exfoliation needs will change.
For example, I normally exfoliate three to four times a week, but there are times when I dial back to twice or even once a week when I feel like my skin is moving towards the realm of over-exfoliated/sensitized skin, which has happened a few times since I’ve started incorporating retinoids regularly. Do your best to pay attention to how your skin is feeling on any given day before exfoliating, and always err on the side of caution. A little extra dead skin and congestion is a lot easier to manage than tight, irritated skin in full SOS mode.
Don’t rub your face
This is a concept that I knew of before I even seriously got involved in skincare or beauty. Everyone and their mother (literally) will tell you to not rub or tug your face because it’s going to cause wrinkles over time. If you’re mashing and contorting your face for extended periods of time, sure, that may have some impact, but there are many people who believe that you should barely rub your face even when cleansing or that will cause deep wrinkles and premature aging.
If y’all have seen my article about my facial massage routine, you know that I clearly do not have an issue with rubbing my face. Yes, you should use some type of cleanser or oil/cream to massage your face, but that’s more so to avoid irritation by rubbing dry skin for an extended period of time, not because you’re going to rapidly accelerate your aging process.
Moisturize your dermis
There’s a bit of race right now in the Korean skincare market for maximum hydration; so many new toners and serums are being launched all boasting about how many different hydrating ingredients are included, ranging from plant-derived ingredients like aloe and vegetable glycerin to multiple weights of hyaluronic acid. I’ve seen up to nine weights of hyaluronic acid featured in some toners and serums, and this hydration train is not slowing down.
However, it seems like a lot of people are inferring from this marketing that these ingredients are somehow going much deeper into your skin than they are. I’ve started seeing articles by supposed medical professionals who are advising you to hunt for these “deeply moisturizing” ingredients because you need to make sure your dermis is moisturized to truly moisturize your skin.
Ummm. No. Please do not try to moisturize your dermis, because for anything to reach that deep in your skin — past your epidermis — you would need to use a needle or a very invasive cosmetic procedure. I honestly can’t believe that I’m having to talk about this, but please do not think this is some amazing discovery that you need to make sure you incorporate.
What are some crazy so-called skincare rules that you’ve come across or used to believe?