Anti-Aging Myths: Busting The 12 Biggest Skincare Scams
While you may get some well-researched advice on Google, you’re also likely to be bombarded with some, well….interesting opinions. I mean, should you really put drops of toothpaste on your breakouts?
Anti-aging is a hot topic, and as skincare relies on both studies and word of mouth, it can be easy for many myths and false information to spread quickly. That said, if you really want to take full control of your anti-aging skin regime, then read on as we throw away the most common skincare misconceptions and provide you with the best information to ensure you age as gracefully as possible.
12 Anti-Aging Myths
Myth #1: Hot water opens up your pores
This is one of the most common myths out there. How many of us have been horrified by the state of our pores that we spend the morning rinsing our face with hot water? Unfortunately, this was all done in vain as our pores are not temperature-sensitive. Moreover, your pores are technically always open!
Yes, your pores may be visible after you wash your face with hot water but that’s because hot water can cause your skin to swell slightly, and this then makes pores look more open. That said, you don’t need to be dousing your face with ice-cold water either. Instead, wash your face with water that’s at a lukewarm temperature.
Myth #2: The harder you scrub, the better
Scrubbing your face can be satisfying, however, getting too enthusiastic with the scrubbing can cause serious damage to your skin.
Yes, exfoliating helps to clear away dead skin cells and leave you with a more refreshed appearance. However, overdoing it can weaken your skin barrier, as well as strip your skin of essential moisture. This then not only leaves it drier but also more susceptible to the aging effects of free radicals and this results in wrinkles and fine lines.
So, how often should you exfoliate? Well, that varies from person to person but the onus is that once or twice a week should be enough. If you’ve noticed that your skin responds well after exfoliation, you may get away with doing it three times a week.
Myth #3: If it burns or stings, that means it’s working
Beauty is pain is a common phrase used in the anti-aging world, especially when we try a new treatment that may be a little uncomfortable. However, there is a clear difference between a little tingling associated with some skincare products and stinging or burning.
A product burning or stinging your face is not a measure of its effectiveness. In fact, the burning or stinging sensation is your skin trying to tell you that your product of choice is not the best. It can either mean that your skin is too sensitive for the product or that you’re allergic to one of the ingredients used (this is why it’s important to always read labels). Continuing to use the product increases the risk of a weaker skin barrier, as well as potential scarring. It’s important to immediately wipe off the product if you feel that you’re reacting badly to it.
If you’ve removed the product and the stinging hasn’t lessened after a few minutes, then you should probably reach out to your dermatologist.
Myth #4: Coconut oil is a great facial moisturizer
Yes, coconut oil is often touted as the ultimate beauty elixir. Yes, it can do wonders for your hair but the same can’t be said for your face.
Coconut oil is one of the most comedogenic oils. This means that it’s quite thick, and when applied to the face, it doesn’t melt into the skin but rather sits right on top of it. This leads to clogged pores and breakouts. What’s more, as it’s blocking your skin, it also prevents the skin from secreting oil and sweat and this then creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
While you can choose a light moisturizer that has a few drops of coconut oil as an ingredient, it’s important not to use the oil on its own.
Myth #5: You don’t need sunscreen if your makeup has SPF
Just because your favorite foundation has a little SPF, doesn’t mean that you’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, unless your foundation has an SPF of 30 or higher and you apply it every two hours, then you really shouldn’t be forgoing sunscreen.
Whatever the product, nothing will ever replace sunscreen as due to the other number of ingredients, most products with SPF offer much weaker protection than a broad-spectrum sunscreen. In fact, make-up products with SPF often only provide UVA protection and not UVB, which can cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancers.
Try using sunscreen as a makeup primer as this will ensure that you always use it.
Myth #6: You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day
A typical skincare myth, and it’s no wonder people don’t use sunscreen in the wintertime. Believe it or not, even on a cloudy day, 80% of UV rays can still reach and harm you.
Sun rays are one of the biggest causes of premature aging so if you want to keep wrinkles at bay, then it’s important that you use broad-spectrum sunscreen all year round.
Myth #7: The higher the price tag, the more effective the product
We all love to indulge in a luxury beauty product now and then. However, this doesn’t mean that you should forgo any other less expensive product.
Yes, there are a number of pricey products that are ridiculously effective, but the same can also be said of drugstore brands. When it comes to skincare, it’s not the price tag that matters but rather the active ingredients used. This is what you should be looking out for when scouring the beauty aisle.
Myth #8: Your wrinkles are genetic
You may be looking at your mother’s flawless skin and smile knowing that in 20 years, you’ll look just as young. Now while this does sound enticing, it’s not necessarily true.
Yes, genetics can play a role in how you age, but not as much as you think. Yes, your mother has flawless skin in her 70s but that doesn’t mean you will. The fact is she grew up at a time when the ozone layer was not as thin, so the sun was not as destructive on her skin. She probably ate better too as today’s food is so processed and full of hidden salt and sugar. She likely ate a healthier diet, exercised, didn’t smoke and made sure to regulate her stress levels. If you can’t say the same, then chances are you’re not going to age as well as her..
Myth #9: The more retinol, the better
Retinol is a skincare powerhouse and everybody should have it in their skincare arsenal. It stimulates the production of collagen, and in doing so, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (1). It also works well as an acne treatment.
While it’s understandable that you would want to use as much retinol as possible, but you shouldn’t. As effective as it is, retinol is a very harsh ingredient. Overuse can increase irritation, leaving you with a raw appearance. It can also damage the skin and make it more susceptible to sun damage.
Myth #10: More products used means better skin
Stocking up on anti-aging products does not mean that you’re skin is going to thank you for it.
No matter how effective each product is, slathering on different products can cause irritation and breakouts. It’s better to keep your routine simple and to slowly work out what works for your skin type.
Myth #11: Facial exercises are anti-aging
Indeed, a small study found in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment revealed that doing specific facial exercises twice a day for 8 weeks helped with firmness and elasticity. However, the same cannot be said for wrinkles.
The fact is continuously twisting and pulling your face can lead to wrinkles.
Myth #12: There’s only one right way to do skincare
Everybody is unique and that also goes for our skincare concerns. While your sister may have perfect skin from just two products, the same cannot be said for you.
There’s no one size fits all skincare routines. It is going to take time for you to find the perfect anti-aging routine that leaves you with healthy skin. It’s important for you to do your research and to use products with active ingredients that have been clinically proven to work. Don’t latch onto any product or routine just because you’ve seen how flawless your mother-in-law looks without makeup.
The bottom line
With the free time that you have on your hands, you may find yourself frustrated with the fine lines on your skin. However, it’s important to not let this affect you to the point where you begin to follow myths that may cause more harm than good. Instead, do your research and take proper care of your skin so that it can age in the best way possible.
Kafi R, Kwak HSR, Schumacher WE, et al. Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(5):606–612. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.5.606
(2016) Effects of Kyunghee Facial Resistance Program (KFRP) on mechanical and elastic properties of skin, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 27:2, 191-196,
Leyden, J., Stein-Gold, L., & Weiss, J. (2017). Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne. Dermatology and therapy, 7(3), 293–304. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-017-0185-2