5 Skincare Myths Exposed

Understanding skin care has never been more complex. What with the constant information bombardment through media outlets, and the promise of new anti-ageing products, it can be difficult to know what to believe. From collagen supplements to over-exfoliating, here are five skincare myths debunked…

Myth 1: My makeup contains SPF protection, so I don’t need to apply sun cream

Incorrect. Although a lot of tinted moisturisers and foundations do now contain a degree of SPF, the level of protection provided is simply no substitute for sunscreen if you are going to be out in direct sunshine for more than a few minutes a day (like when you are on holiday).

First, it’s important to understand that Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is naturally produced by the sun, which we cannot see but it does harm our skin. There are two types of harmful energy that sun rays release onto our skin: UVA is associated with skin ageing, and UVB is associated with skin burning. They damage the DNA in our skin cells, which leads to premature skin ageing and more serious conditions like skin cancers. A good sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB – chemical sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) only protect against UVB rays.

In order to be sure there is UVA protection, there should be a separate symbol on the bottle showing this – often represented by a star rating or the letters ‘UVA’ in a black circle. However, many makeup products do not provide this broad-spectrum protection and/or have a low SPF rating. Remember, UVA is the cause of sun-related ageing.

To conclude, broad-spectrum sunscreen is the most evidence-based anti-ageing cream. And sun cream should always be applied first before makeup.

Myth 2: Sunscreen clogs skin pores and leads to breakouts

Traditionally sunscreens were greasy, thick and difficult to blend into the skin. This texture may have been a contributory factor to the development of breakouts in those with skin susceptible to acne. However, things have changed and there are many cosmetically-acceptable sun creams now available that accommodate all skin types, such as anti-shine and oil-free brands – as well as tinted sun creams that may give you the confidence to apply less foundation on top.

Myth 3: I must cleanse, tone and moisturise every day

For a long time, we’ve been made to believe that this daily three-step regimen is an essential part of our everyday skincare routine. While cleansing skin daily can be useful if you wear makeup, and moisturising skin can help our skin look and feel healthier, there is no strong evidence to support this three-step regimen. In fact, some toners contain alcohol which can lead to irritation and potential breakouts in susceptible individuals. This is why skin care is an individualised regime, based on your skin type and what works for others may not work for you.

Myth 4: Collagen supplements will reverse skin ageing

Recently there’s been a trend towards oral collagen supplements in various forms claiming to have anti-ageing effects. It’s even claimed by some that milkshakes containing collagen can reverse the signs of ageing! These claims are not clearly substantiated in the medical literature and although there are few medical studies in humans, the degree of evidence is generally poor. Furthermore, the purchase of collagen supplements and milkshakes online are loosely regulated and it is unclear whether there may be any related long-term side effects/risks.

Myth 5: You can never cleanse and exfoliate too much

It may seem logical that the more you wash and exfoliate, the cleaner your skin becomes. This is simply not true. Cleansing is only necessary to remove makeup and to prep your skin at night to best absorb your skincare treatment (that is your Dermatica product). If you are very oily you might want to cleanse in the morning too but it is probably not necessary. Mechanical exfoliation is never necessary as this is really harsh to your skin barrier function and can worsen acne and skin problems. Your retinoid-based Dermatica product gently exfoliates so you don’t need anymore. 

When it comes to skincare there’s no ‘one size fits all’ as everything depends on your skin type. Sunscreen is an essential part of caring for your skin, and good skin care products are not dictated by price or marketing hype, so it is important to do your research and seek professional advice when necessary!

Dr Noha Elshimy
Dr Noha Elshimy
Dr Noha Elshimy graduated from the University of Birmingham with honours and two distinctions. She is currently undergoing her specialisation in dermatology in the UK. Through her training, she wholly appreciates both the physical and psychological impact that dermatological conditions can have on patients. She has a passion for teaching others and has been regularly involved with teaching medical students from the local university.
Originally published July 19 2018, updated May 09 2022

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