Healthy Skin

6 beauty myths skincare experts want us to forget

When it comes to looking after our skin, there are a number of beauty myths surrounding what we should (or shouldn’t) be doing. However, while some are founded in fact, others are pure fiction – and it’s often tricky to determine what’s what.

Following incorrect advice can be detrimental to our skin at the best of times. It becomes even more of a problem as we age and experience hormone-related changes, such as dryness, wrinkles, and redness.

To get to the bottom of things, we spoke to six skincare experts to find out which beauty myths we can forget – and what we should be doing instead.

6 beauty myths skincare experts want us to forget

Myth: The more you wash your face, the better

Certain midlife concerns, including menopausal acne, might mean we’re tempted to ramp up our cleansing routine.

“Cleansing is an important part of your skincare routine, especially as you age, as pollutants and bacteria can clog your pores and make the appearance of ageing more prominent on the face,” reveals Dr. Shirin Lakhani, aesthetic and cosmetic practitioner. “However, it’s easy to overdo it.”

Instead, focus on making your morning and evening cleansing sessions as effective as possible. If you wear makeup, Dr Lakhani recommends double cleansing at night to ensure all traces are removed. “A lot of anti-ageing skincare products can also be quite heavy,” she adds. “So it’s important to cleanse your skin thoroughly to reap the benefits and not have heavy products left on your skin too long, weighing it down and clogging pores.”

Selecting the correct cleanser for your skin type is essential. Foam-based products can exacerbate dry skin, while oil-based cleansers are not always as effective on oily skin.

“Take into consideration that, as you age, your skin can change,” Dr Lakhani notes. “What worked for you at 20 might not be the case now.”

Myth: Exfoliating makes dry skin worse

It’s often thought that exfoliating products ‘strip’ moisture and natural oils from the skin, so should be avoided – especially if we’re experiencing dryness. “The truth is that exfoliation, when done correctly, can actually be beneficial for dry skin,” reveals Dr. Kajal Babamiri, a GP with specialist interest in dermatology.

So, how does it work? Dr. Babamiri says exfoliation effectively removes dead skin cells – and when these cells build up on the skin’s surface, they prevent moisturisers from being fully absorbed and working at their optimum levels.

Formulation is key when choosing an exfoliating product. “Opt for products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like lactic acid,” says Dr. Babamiri. These gently exfoliate without causing irritation and redness.

“Exfoliate once or twice a week to avoid over-exfoliation, and always follow with a rich moisturiser to replenish and lock in moisture,” she recommends.

Myth: Oily skin is less prone to developing wrinkles

The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles ramps up once we hit our 40s and 50s. While various factors contribute to the number and prominence of wrinkles, the amount of oil our skin produces is not one of them.

“Lines and wrinkles happen because collagen and elastin deplete in the skin; the skin structure weakens,” explains Dr. Anatalia Moore, a GP and skin specialist. “Collagen and elastin levels drop from our late 20s, and this steady decline is sped up when hormone levels change during menopause.” Despite what social media might tell you, Dr. Moore says that the skin’s oil levels are not related to maintaining or producing either of these proteins.

That said, wrinkles are often more apparent on dry skin. “Imagine crepe paper vs card; the crepe paper will crease and fold much more easily,” states Dr. Moore. “Replacing key oils in the skin, if needed, will help soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Using skincare products comprising of ingredients such as retinoids, peptides and vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. “These stimulate repair of the structure of the skin and really boost collagen and elastin production.”

Myth: You don’t need sunscreen in later life

For those of us with sun-damaged skin, it might seem pointless to start wearing sunscreen later in life. But, as aesthetic practitioner Dr. Miriam Adebibe explains, it’s never too late. “This myth is dangerous because it encourages women to focus on correction of UV skin damage over prevention,” she states.

Studies indicate that we experience around 47% of our lifetime sun exposure by the age of 40 – meaning there’s still plenty to protect against in the second half of life. Sunscreen is a vital defense against skin cancer, and it remains equally essential as we get older.

“The risk of skin cancer and the effects of ageing are cumulative,” Dr. Adebibe reveals. “As we age, skin thinning causes disruption to the structure and function of our skin, which leads to age-related conditions, like skin barrier compromise, delayed healing, and increased risk of skin cancer.”

Wear a daily sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, and aim for a minimum of SPF 30.

Myth: You can detoxify the skin

We hear plenty about detox diets for the body, with some suggesting we can also do the same for our skin to banish breakouts and redness.

However as aesthetic doctor, Dr. Ross Perry, says, this simply isn’t possible. “You can’t detoxify the skin,” he states. “The skin is not a detoxifying organ of the body; this job is down to the liver and the kidneys.”

Dr. Perry says that following a healthy diet and engaging in positive habits, such as a good sleep routine, can help our bodies internally, contributing to happy skin.

Myth: It’s OK to use your teenager’s spot cream for menopausal acne

Spots are spots… right?

Dr. Charlotte Gribbin, aesthetic physician, reveals that around a quarter of menopausal women experience breakouts. However, despite both being fuelled by hormonal changes, menopausal spots are different to those that appear during puberty.

“Midlife and menopausal skin is very different to teenage skin. In many ways, it’s like puberty in reverse!” she reveals. “Collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid are all decreasing. Skin is dryer, thinner, and less resilient.”

Dr. Gribbin adds that perimenopausal acne takes longer to heal than teenage acne and is more likely to cause scarring.

As such, it’s vital to use gentler solutions; harsh products designed for resilient teenage skin are not ideal. Dr. Gribbin recommends using formulations designed to nourish the skin, such as those containing antioxidants, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and fatty acids.

Some skincare products are also best steered clear of. “Gritty, mechanical exfoliation products should be avoided,” she notes. “They can disrupt the delicate skin barrier, worsen breakouts, and trigger sensitivity problems.”

Words: Chantelle Pattemore

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