Has the internet made you question everything you thought you knew about skincare? You’re not alone. There are countless beauty websites and blogs dispensing an overload of information. Add in all the influencers and YouTube vloggers you’re following and it’s just… overwhelming, to say the least. But the bottom line is that all this advice leads to confusion and mix-ups that can then affect how you treat your skin. How do you know what to believe?
Whether you know her as Dr. Pimple Popper or Dr. Sandra Lee, this world-renowned dermatologist is here to set the record straight. Her first installment of beauty myths was so popular, we put together a second set. So without further ado — here are six more skin care myths that just aren’t true.
Skincare Myth: The longer you leave a mask on, the better!
Why it’s just not true: Masks are supposed to improve your skin, so logic would say the longer you leave them on, the better they are for your skin.
“Nope!” says Dr. Lee. Over-drying or exfoliating your skin can harm the delicate skin on your face. “In fact, no matter how long you leave a mask on, once you take off a hydrating mask, there is TEWL (transepidermal water loss), so a lot of the moisturizing benefits are only felt during and immediately after a mask treatment.”
The best way to counteract this? Immediately follow your hydrating treat with a rich, cream-based moisturizer to lock all that moisture into your skin.
The bottom line: The time stated on the packaging of your ask has been professionally tested for maximum benefit. That means if you don’t leave it on long enough, it won’t work as well, and if you leave it on too long it may damage your skin. This is one of those times where following the rules is beneficial.
Skincare Myth: Products containing oil make your skin oily.
Why it’s just not true: Oils are a way to hydrate your skin — they can add crucial moisture to your complexion, and provide a gorgeous, supple glow.
“Oils don’t always make you oily!” assures Dr. Lee. “Certainly, oily products CAN make your skin more oily, but some products that contain oil can moisturize without making your skin feel or look oily,” says Dr. Sandra.
Quick science lesson: If your skin is oily, it’s because you’ve got overactive sebaceous glands. When your oil glands produce too much oil, it tends to be because your body is overcompensating for a lack of moisture on your skin. In other words, you could have oily skin that’s oily because it’s also dry or dehydrated. (And yes, those are two different things!)
These days there are tons of products that are either oil-based or contain oil that are formulated specifically for oily skin. Using a facial oil that relies on a light, natural oil as its base will parch dry skin and send a message to your oil glands that your skin has sufficient moisture. That may be enough to stop the pesky overproduction that makes your skin oily.
The bottom line: Products containing oil can help moisturize that thirsty skin, which tells your sebaceous glands to chill out and produce less sebum.
Confused about which oil to use? We’ve got answers!
Skincare Myth: People with dark skin don’t need to wear sunscreen.
Why it’s just not true: While we wish this weren’t true, all races are susceptible to skin cancer.
“Melanoma can occur where the sun doesn’t shine, and can occur in all skin types,” says Dr. Lee. “For example, Bob Marley died of a melanoma under his toenail!”
In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people with dark skin are actually more susceptible to a specific type of skin cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), which usually appears on the palms of our hands or soles of our feet. ALM is the same type of skin cancer Bob Marley died from. Statistically, all forms of melanoma are typically identified later in people with dark skin, causing more deaths.
The bottom line: It’s important for everyone — no matter how much melanin you were born with — to wear sunscreen and conduct monthly self-checks and yearly full body checks with a dermatologist.
Skincare Myth: Baby wipes are a good substitute for makeup remover.
Why it’s just not true: If it’s is gentle enough for a baby it is gentle enough for the face, right? Wrong.
While baby wipes are gentle enough for your niece or nephew’s bum, they can contain preservatives and chemicals that are no good for your sensitive eye area — which happens to be where you scrub most intensely on that waterproof mascara, right?
Because generic baby wipes are not formulated to remove makeup, they’re also just… not very effective. Plus, not washing all the makeup off your face and introducing new chemicals onto your skin leaves you susceptible to clogged pores, pimples and rashes. Not fun!
The bottom line: While baby wipes are cheap and convenient, there are hundreds of alternative makeup removers in the form of wipes, cleansers, balms and oils out there. Stick to a gentle formula or a packaged wipe that’s proven to remove tough waterproof formulas — and leave the baby wipes for babies.
Skincare Myth: Oily skin = dirty skin.
Why it’s just not true: Did you know that the sebum (aka natural oil) your body produces is actually what makes your skin waterproof? It’s there with a very important purpose: To lubricate and protect your body from harmful bacteria and environmental stressors that are trying to make their way into your body.
When you wash your skin, do you aim for that “squeaky clean” feeling? Do you feel like your skin is cleaner when it is dry and tight? If so, you may be stripping your skin of its natural oils, leading to problems like dry, flakey skin, irritation, and acne.
We’re not saying we love that super greasy feeling your skin has at the end of the day. But what we are saying is be gentle on your skin, don’t use harsh soaps too many times a day, and remember that having oily skin actually prevents wrinkles!
The bottom line: Don’t wash away that layer of oil on your skin—it’s protecting you!
Skincare Myth: Stress is mental, so it has no effect on your skin.
Why it’s just not true: Have you ever had a stressful day at work and come home to find a huge pimple on your chin? It’s not a coincidence! “Stress can exacerbate many different types of skin conditions, including psoriasis, eczema, keratosis pilaris… even acne!” explains Dr. Lee.
There is definitely concrete evidence out there that stress can trigger a breakout or make an existing breakout worse. It can encourage rashes or bumps or itchy patches, and these skin irregularities aren’t a figment of your imagination. So what’s the reason stress leads to these breakouts and rashes?
One theory is that when the level of cortisol (aka your stress hormone) rises in your body, it can cause the skin to produce excess sebum. When you’ve got bacteria and dead skin cells hanging out in your pores, this sebum can combine with those and clog up your pores.
The bottom line: If you keep your stress in check, it may prevent that bad day from showing up on your face. Self care is all the range right now — and for good reason!
Now, thanks to Dr. Pimple Popper herself, you can have confidence in treating your skin!