Caring for your skin is often looked at as a luxury. But that is far from the truth. After all, it is the largest organ in our body. And like other aspects of your health, it deteriorates with time if we haven’t cared well for it. The good news, however, is that we can incorporate small, healthy skin care practices as a part of our overall health routine.But how do we get started? The internet is full of opinions and marketing claims about skincare. And with over-exposure to information from many who claim to be experts, the topic of skincare has attracted a lot of myths. So we got Cosmeto-Dermatologist, Dr. Sravya Tipirneni, to bust some popular skincare myths!
“Lack of sleep leads to under-eye circles.”
Verdict: True.Sleep plays an extremely important role in keeping our skin healthy. When we sleep, the skin repairs itself overnight and one of the antioxidants involved is natural glutathione in our body itself. When one has had poor-quality sleep, they tend to look tired — more so because of dark circles and sunken eyes.
“Face exercises can reduce wrinkles.”
Verdict: Debatable.There is hardly any medical evidence or research to support the claim that face exercises can reduce wrinkles. In fact, when facial muscles are used excessively, it’s more likely to cause fine lines and wrinkles earlier. However, doing facial exercises in moderation will not do any harm. If you are looking at slimming your face, practicing yoga to target your entire body will help — along with reducing the fat in the rest of your body.
“Oily skin types don't need moisturizer.”
Verdict: Myth.All our organs, including skin, are made of cells that require a minimum amount of hydration. The oil glands (or sebaceous glands) in our skin produce oil to keep our skin cells healthy and hydrated. This production of oil in our skin varies from person to person. Those with oily skin types produce more oil and are likely to have acne-prone skin. Not using moisturizers, washing your skin too often, and excessively exfoliating one’s oily-type skin can cause an imbalance, triggering counterproductive excess sebum production. For those with oily skin, choose a non-comedogenic and water-based moisturiser.
“Sunscreen is only meant for sunny days.”
Verdict: Myth.UVA rays are the main cause of sun damage to our skin. They cause tanning, pigmentation, and ageing. Your skin is exposed to UVA rays no matter how intense the sun is — be it on a sunny day or rainy day, in a high-altitude area, or a beach. Your skin can be exposed to UVA rays even inside our houses, but with lower intensity. So wearing sunscreen every day — come rain or shine — is essential.
“People with darker skin need less sunscreen.”
Verdict: Somewhat true.Melanin is a type of pigment that protects us from UV light exposure. The more melanin-rich one is, the darker their skin. While this may imply that the additional melanin can protect skin from UV damage, it does not determine the amount of sunscreen they must use. But those with lighter skin types may have to apply sunscreen more often because they’re more at risk of photo-damage. The amount of sunscreen that needs to be used across all skin colours, however, is the same.
“Stress causes acne.”
Verdict: True.Stress releases various hormones in our bodies. One such hormone is cortisol, which triggers excessive oil in our sebaceous glands. This excessive sebum production may cause acne flares and breakouts.
“The harder and more often you exfoliate, the better.”
Verdict: Myth.Excess exfoliation gives us a false sense of cleansing. In reality, when one exfoliates harshly, especially with physical scrubs, they are scrubbing away their skin’s protective layer. Scrubs with small and harsh particles cause micro-abrasions which can cause irritation and even pigmentation.
“An eye cream comes in handy only when dark circles and eye bags are visible.”
Verdict: Myth.The sooner the under-eye region is tended to, the fewer bags and dark circles one will see later in life. Using products with hydrating agents, hyaluronic acid, and retinol (depending on one’s age) can help prevent common under-eye issues in the future.
“Sweating is great for your skin.”
Verdict: Myth.The amount one sweats depends on several factors, from genetics to the region they live in. Moreover, skin health goes beyond just sweat gland activity. It is determined by the products one uses, the amount of care that goes into it, internal and external health, the weather, food, and more. Know that exercise-induced sweating is great for your overall health and may show great results on your skin. But it could work the other way too: exercise can sometimes cause acne flares because of the accumulation of sweat on the skin.
The Final Word
It’s important to remember that our skins are unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to great skin health. So focus on your overall health, visit your dermatologist, and be consistent with your skincare!