The beauty industry has a lot to say about how to get beautiful, glowing skin. However, you may be surprised to know that much of the advice they share about how to care for your skin is not quite right.
Why is there so much misinformation out there? Well, many of the skincare myths perpetuated by the beauty industry are designed to sell merchandize—cleansers, moisturizers, and other products that you “need” to keep your skin beautiful. As it turns out, taking care of your skin is a lot less complicated that it can seem. Here are five common “facts” that the beauty industry gets wrong.
1. Your nose is covered in blackheads
If you’ve been using pore strips on your nose for years, trying to clear out the blackheads, you’re probably pretty frustrated that they keep reappearing. But they’re coming back for a good reason—those little black pores are not actually blackheads at all.
They’re actually sebaceous filaments, small glands that are connected to hair follicles. Sebaceous filaments are responsible for producing sebum, the oily substance that your body creates to moisturize and protect your skin. Unlike blackheads, sebaceous filaments are not raised up off your skin, and using pore strips or trying to squeeze the sebum out of them will not make them disappear.
2. Oil is bad for your skin
Starting when you were a teenager, you probably saw ads informing you that oil was causing your acne. You were told never to put anything oily anywhere near your face, as it would cause breakouts and cystic pimples.
However, skin needs a little oil to stay healthy—in fact, it makes its own in the form of sebum. Oil production on your skin does increase during puberty, and this excess oil can trap dirt and bacteria in pores, causing pimples to form. But oil itself is not inherently bad for your skin. In fact, for many people, a lightweight oil is the perfect moisturizer.
3. You need to wash your face every day
You probably started washing your face once or twice a day when you were a teenager (to clear away all that oil you were warned against) and kept it up ever since. But most people don’t need to wash their face every day — in fact, for some people, their skin is healthier when they don’t wash it at all.
Washing your skin with harsh cleansers does clear away oil—the oily sebum that your skin needs to stay healthy. If you wash your face too frequently, you may notice your skin becoming tight and dry, or flaking off in patches. Stripping the sebum can also cause your skin to become unbalanced and produce too much oil as a way of compensating, which can lead to acne and other irritation.
4. The best way to get rid of dry skin is to moisturize
When you notice patches of dry skin, you probably reach for a lotion or moisturizer to get rid of it, but that can actually exacerbate the problem. When you use too much moisturizer on your skin, your body will react by reducing its sebum production. Your skin stops moisturizing itself, which causes it to become drier, meaning you need more and more lotion to combat the dryness—the same thing happens when you use lip balms too frequently.
Instead, try reaching for a soft brush or cloth to exfoliate. Use lukewarm water and a gentle, circular motion to buff away the dry skin. The motion will not only remove any flakes or patches—it will also stimulate sebum production, helping your skin become balanced and hydrated once more.
5. Acne should be treated with topical products
The beauty industry offers thousands of products that you can use to treat acne and other skin irritations. But while these may help get rid of individual breakouts, they won’t address the underlying causes of your acne.
A lot of skin irritation is actually caused by what we put in our bodies. Poor digestion, lack of fiber, too much sugar, and under-hydration are just some of the causes of the acne, cystic pimples, dryness, and discoloration that we see on our skin. If you want to clear up your skin, topical products may resolve the problem in the short term, but dietary and lifestyle changes will have a long-term impact.