Skincare myths busted
Beauty fact or fiction? We talk to the experts to separate hard truths from common misconceptions.
Myth: I have sensitive skin
"The majority of people don't at all," says Anna Field of The Paddington Beauty Room. "This could be from misdiagnosis of counter staff not properly trained in skincare, or just through self diagnosis. People assume that if there is any form of redness that skin is automatically sensitive."
In reality, it's more likely to be sensitised; that is, a temporary condition caused by the body's reaction to stress or the products that we misuse.
"Generally people aren't born with sensitive skin," agree Dr Spiller skincare expert Sue Dann. "Skin types are with us from birth, but sensitised skin is a condition that can be treated with the right attention."
Myth: I only use natural products because they're better for my skin
"Not necessarily," says Natalie Abouchar of Privee Cosmetic Clinic. "Organic is great for fruit and veges, but doesn't always mean better efficacy on the skin. Certain ingredients like vitamin C need to be tweaked slightly so that the are able to penetrate the skin and actually take effect." Some ingredients like avocado oil work well in their natural state, others need to be encapsulated in liposomes that are used as vehicles to get deep into the skin. "Plus, some ingredients actually go off if they are not properly preserved," explains Abouchar. "Vitamin C will actually damage your skin if it's gone bad. It's like putting free radicals straight onto your face."
Myth: My skin gets used to products, so I have to change them
Total misconception, says Field. "Skin doesn't get used to anything, it's that most people don't treat their skin for the effects of their lifestyle, expecting their moisturiser to do it." After time, stress, nutrition and environmental factors accumulate and become too great for a daily routine to compensate for.
"It's so important to be proactive," explains Field. "If your skin is looking dull or acting up, use a hydrating mask or a serum to address those concerns as they contain the most active ingredients for the highest efficacy."
Skin Myth: I'm over 30 so my acne days are over
Sadly not, says author of 'Heal Your Skin' Dr Ava Shamban, "Everyone can get acne at any age due to overactive hormones going into overdrive and can be triggered by stress, nutrition or life phases like pregnancy, post-natal or menopause."
Beat the breakout by de-stressing with regular exercise and committing to a healthy all-round diet made up with fruits, vegetables, high-fibre carbs and lean protein. When the blemish does strike, alternate salicylic acid (to help clear the pores) and benzoyl peroxide to kill acne bacteria on the spot to minimise the life span.
Myth: I've had a few Botox sessions, so I guess I'll have to keep it up forever
You are free to stop whenever, says Abouchar. "It has a cumulative effect and over time if you aren't making a repetitive muscle movement your wrinkles will be better, but you can completely stop afterwards." She points to studies that have been conducted on identical twins, one a botox user for a period of years, one eau natural. After quitting, the twin who had previously used Botox was still looking considerably younger than her twin.
Myth: My skin is dry, so I need to flood it with a moisturiser
"Skin does need hydration, but delivered in the right way to get through," says Dann. "Skin is a waterproof organ, so a water-based moisturiser just isn't going to penetrate the skin's protective surface layers, no matter what great active ingredients it also contains." She recommends an oil-based cream that is formulated to deliver deep into your skin. "A good rule of thumb: put your moisturiser on your fingers and run under the tap. A water based solution will wash away, whereas an oil-based will stay intact."