I love to watch people’s acne stories on Youtube, it’s a fave past time of mine…I guess I’m always looking to see what has worked for somebody else in clearing their skin. I love success stories and transformations.
But I’ve stopped trusting Youtube suggestions unless they’re backed by science because of something I tried back when I was 20 years old.
Remember aspirin masks? They should come with a warning! Long story short, I couldn’t leave the house for 6 days because my face was covered in bloody scabs and I looked like a monster – without exaggeration.
I keep coming across the same few myths on Youtube and elsewhere on the internet that kind of started rubbing me the wrong way for one reason: faulty logic.
Despite their best intentions, these people are spreading misinformation…The kind that causes more harm than good…And of course, I can’t sit by and let this pass! *Gets on her soap box*
Here are some common myths I’ve heard so far that have been driving me crazy, and I feel like it’s…
Myth Busting Time
Let’s go in order from mild to disastrous…
1.My skin is detoxing from all the toxins and chemicals that I used to use.
I actually believe this when I was on my natural skin care craze…I thought I was breaking out on Jojoba Oil because my skin was releasing toxins.
A lot of us also believe that we eliminate toxins through the pores especially while sweating…But you release 99% of toxins on the toilet through pooping and peeing, the remaining 1% might get released through sweat.
You’re doing more detoxing on the toilet than anywhere else…And your body is constantly detoxing, not just when you’re on a cleanse.
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In fact, I’ve found research that says your body is more likely to hold onto toxins while on a cleanse then if you were just eating regularly. Kinda scary stuff if you consider the growing popularity of cleanses and detoxes (more on that later)!
Skin is the biggest organ, right? It’s there for protection not absorption. It means that the skin keeps things OUT, not in. Contrary to popular belief, the skin doesn’t actually absorb everything that’s put on it.
But I wouldn’t want to put Mister Clean on my face because it’s drying, but if I wash something with it, I don’t automatically get poisoned. I’ve since switched to more green cleaning products, but only so that the environment doesn’t keep getting poisoned with runoff, not because my skin was absorbing chemicals.
Or as world renowned cosmetic chemist, Perry Romanowski, told me on the subject…
Not all chemicals are actually bad. Believing this myth makes you miss out on all the beneficial products you can use to heal and protect your skin!
2. My skin needs to breathe, so I can’t put anything on it.
Skin cannot breather. The top layer of your skin, the epidermis, is made up of dead skin cells. DEAD skin cells don’t breathe. And the layers underneath don’t breathe either – in fact, they get their oxygen and nourishment from your blood. So the day to day dietary choices you make have a much greater impact on the quality of your skin that the stuff you put on your skin.
Pores get clogged not because they can’t breathe, they get clogged because dead skin cells and sebum got stuck in the hair follicle. They can also get clogged with irritating ingredients, but this has nothing to do with your skin breathing or suffocating.
I’ve tried the not doing anything to my face method…And I experienced a not so beautiful disaster of build up and clog gage… Acne-prone skin can use a little TLC.
There are beneficial products you can use with healing ingredients like aloe or hyaluronic acid, even honey, that can make your skin more plump and vibrant without causing you to break out.
3. Steaming opens pores.
Pores do not open or close, and their size is determined by genetics.
An aesthetician steams your face during a facial to loosen the oil plugs for easier extractions, not to open the pores. Although I know that every aesthetician I’ve ever had used the language “Now let’s open your pores” during every facial…
I’ve used this term when talking about salicylic acid. When I say I use 2%BHA to open my pores, I mean I use it to clear out the gunk. Open pore = clean pore without a plug.
You can smooth your skin with chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which will make it seem like the pores are smaller but ultimately, try to accept your beautiful pores as they are. They are a part of you, and that means they’re perfect.
4. Papaya enzyme peels are super good for acne, and they’re very gentle exfoliants.
DIY Papaya enzyme peels have become the rage in the natural skincare community. A lot of these people hate on ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid…And say that papaya enzyme peels are great alternatives.
It couldn’t find any research pointing to this, but it’s true that the papain in papayas does actually break down proteins, and loosens the skin cells so they turnover.
The problem is this: large amounts of papain is in green, unripe papayas. There’s hardly any left in ripe orange/red papayas – the papayas you see everyone putting on their faces.
So just know, if you’re putting papaya on your face…You’re just putting papaya on your face…Maybe eat it instead? 😃
I think salicylic acid is the best everyday exfoliant, especially if you have acne-prone skin and want something to clear out the gunk. Plus, it’s been researched a lot and actually does what it claims.
Here’s more papaya research for you to read if you’re interested.
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution every other night if you haven’t used a chemical exfoliant of this kind before. Don’t start using it every day until your skin gets used to it.
5. Makeup ruins the skin.
Not all makeup is created equal. I agree that brands like MAC and Nars are horrible on most skin. I see a lot of girls ruin their skin with these products, and then they need to wear even heavier layers of makeup to hide the damage in a terrible cycle.
So taking a break from high-coverage, 16-hour, baked and strobed, long-wear products can definitely be beneficial.
But I’d argue that good makeup can be emotionally powerful. It can help some girls feel a little more like themselves, especially if they’re dealing with skin troubles. I’ve used makeup in the worst of times to feel better. Makeup also helped me stop touching my face, so my skin was able to heal even under makeup!
Ironically, makeup helped wear less makeup…
Good quality makeup that’s artfully applied where needed won’t hurt you. But the trick with any makeup is in its removal.
Makeup ruins the skin if you don’t remove it properly. And most people don’t remove their makeup properly and don’t even know how to cleanse their faces.
Cleanse thoroughly with an actual cleanser if you wear makeup. Makeup is very well designed to stay on and not budge, so plain water is not gonna cut it in the long run.
You might not notice tiny particles of makeup left on your skin, but the effects will compound over time resulting in rough build-up of dead skin cells and eventually breakouts.
I have a rule I live by…white sheets and white towels only. I love how clean they are, and guess what? My white towels are always clean after I wash my face – no mascara, no makeup on them. There’s no shame in double cleansing after a heavy face of makeup.
Jane Iredale Pure Pressed Powder Base SPF 20 – Hands down the best mineral powder foundation, great texture, coverage, and staying power, without any breakouts! Portable too since it’s pressed. My colour is Warm Silk.
Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer – I’ve used this particular concealer for the last 8 years. It has great staying power, hides redness, and takes away under eye circles. Works beautifully together with the Jane Iredale foundation above. Expect compliments on your skin!
Bioderma Sebium Purifying Gel Cleanser – fantastic at removing makeup.
White Towels – yummy white cotton towels make me feel like I’m in a luxurious hotel. Infuse your bathroom with a touch of lux!
6. Baking soda helps clear out blackheads.
This is probably the craziest fad that swept the internet. It makes me want to put the pioneer of it in jail. People SWEAR by this method and recommend it to innocents…
Your skin’s acid mantle, made up of beneficial sebum, is, in fact, acidic. This means that healthy skin is acidic.
Researchers showed that using alkaline products on your skin raises the skin’s PH, making it alkaline.
Unhealthy skin is alkaline, which results in the growth of acne bacteria and increased dryness and flakiness. Baking soda is your skin’s worst nightmare, despite it temporarily exfoliating your skin and brightening blackheads.
7. Lemon juice brightens skin.
The natural skin craze kinda went off track when people started putting lemon on their faces…
Lemon is far more acidic than the skin, which is irritating and can damage the skin’s acid mantle. The acid mantle is acidic (4.5-6.2 PH) while lemon is a 2. That’s a 100 to 1000 times more acidic than skin.
Acidity works in a factor of 10, so a PH of 2 is ten times more acidic than 3, and a 100 more times acidic than 4, and 1000 time more acidic than 5!
Lemons also contain a compound called psolaren that makes the skin sensitive to light. This compound remains on the skin for up to 24 hours, that means while you’re out and about under the SUN.
According to a research article, “dermal fibroblasts undergo long-term growth arrest as well as morphological and functional changes reminiscent of replicative senescence”.
In plain English, this means that psolaren plus the sun equals DISASTER for the skin. Psolaren stops the cell’s ability to divide and grow in dermal fibroblasts. Dermal fibroblasts are responsible for generating connective tissue and recovering from injury in the dermis (the layer beneath the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin) and are kinda important… They’re where collagen is produced.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather stimulate my dermal fibroblasts instead of killing them…
Drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning or season your salad with lemon as a beneficial alternative to lemon facials!
8. Homemade sunscreen is safer than the super chemical ones sold in stores.
Sunscreen is one of the most highly regulated/tested skincare products ever.
It takes chemists with chemical ratios and chemical equipment to make sunscreen that protects you.
DIY sunscreens are mostly patchy because even a blender will not get them to a perfectly even consistency, which means uneven sun protection.
To add insult to injury, most people use oils for their sunscreen base…
Remember the 90s when tanning oils were a thing? Oils promote skin burning, which means that the parts of your sunscreen that are uneven can get burned, while the protected bits don’t.
Sounds unsafe to me. Please don’t.
9. Glue Blackhead Strips
It’s glue…on your face. Nuff said.
I actually tried this when I was younger based on the recommendation of a friend, and broke out terribly. Learn from my mistake!
Blackhead clearing strips aren’t even that expensive. Why not try the nice charcoal kind and do it the right way…
10. My skin is flaky AF, but I use my Clarisonic twice a day, every day, and you should too.
A famous YouTuber killed me with her ultra harsh skincare routine. She actually uses a scrub with her Clarisonic…A SCRUB AND A CLARISONIC.
She hasn’t made the connection between her flaky skin and exfoliating twice a day with A SCRUB AND A CLARISONIC…
It sucks that her influence is so strong because a lot of young girls look up to her and have started doing the same thing.
There is such a thing as over exfoliation. You can be too harsh and strip your skin to the meat, so to speak..Especially if you scrub too often or too hard. This leads to extremely dry and dehydrated skin that frankly falls off in pieces. If you scrub every single day, and TWICE a day with a Clarisonic, your skin ends up irritated and cannot heal.
Manual exfoliation (using your hands) should be limited to 1-3 times a week, and you gotta keep it gentle. Say no to the St. Ives Apricot scrub with it’s uneven/sharp bits, ok?? And a big NO to a SCRUB on a CLARISONIC. I think that’s the equivalent of dragging your face on cement…
If you want to go deeper than manual exfoliation and actually resurface your skin, then please do it with a gentle chemical exfoliant or even a chemical peel.
But if you try the chemical peel route, then please get it done professionally at first so that you know what to expect and you don’t experience any ‘accidents’. My own chemical peel disaster made me very careful around chemical peels.
There’s a right and wrong way to exfoliate. Read this article for more on exfoliation.
Decleor ‘Prolagene Lift’ Lift & Brighten Peeling Gel – This is a really cool and gentle way to exfoliate.
Jane Iredale Magic Mitt – The gentlest way to clean your face and still exfoliate.
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution – My favourite chemical exfoliant on the market.
11. Dishonourable Mention: Detox Teas For Better Skin And Smaller Butt
I was approached by a company to promote their Detox teas, and I accepted to try them but not because of detoxing – but because I like herbal teas. Upon further introspection, I realize that I’m going against my beliefs by promoting anything ‘detoxy’. I made a mistake! #collabfail
Detox teas work on the false premise that your body is constantly accumulating toxins and needs help clearing out said toxins. Our bodies are not as dumb as some marketing would lead us to believe.
Not surprisingly, not a single detox system actually names which particular ‘toxins’ they help clear out. There is zero research available to prove that our livers and kidneys absorb toxins instead of getting rid of them. ZERO.
But what about heavy metal toxicity?
Some systems claim that they help detoxify the body of heavy metals. Hmm…
If you were experiencing heavy metal toxicity you’d need to be hospitalized immediately. A tea will not save you…For real, run to the emergency room first!
But the worst offenders are detox teas that contain laxatives.
I once tried a tea with senna in it (all natural laxative!)…and it was CRAZY. I’ll refrain from TMI-ing all over you, but I haven’t used anything even remotely resembling a laxative since.
Laxatives do help in cases of constipation, but in the long run, they make your bowels dependent on them, and you become constipated if you stop using them. They can also lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Laxatives are not the key to weight loss or better skin and can do more harm than good disrupting your natural…flow. Even if you do lose some weight immediately after the detox, this weightloss will not last.
If you are suffering from constipation then up your intake of fiber like chia seeds and drink more water. Easy.
Other detox companies market their teas as appetite suppressants which drives me LOCA. This basically promotes fear of food and low self-esteem.
We need our appetites to tell us when we are hungry, so that we can EAT because FOOD provides energy! This energy is necessary for cell division and regeneration, for LIFE…Food is fuel, and it isn’t something to be villified or feared.
Processed ‘food’ on the other hand shouldn’t even bear the label of food – it’s entertainment for your mouth and a stimulant for big butts, pimply faces, low energy, attention deficit, and unhappiness. Avoid eating your entertainment, but don’t avoid real, whole FOOD.
Nobody needs an appetite suppressant, but we all need to get vitamins & nutrients and ENERGY from food.
I don’t like the fact that young girls are targeted with detox teas, so if you know someone using them, please tell them what’s really up – or refer them to this article. I think people promoting detoxes just need a little more edumacation…
Now…how do I send those detox teas back?
I understand fear tactics can sometimes get people to make better choices but isn’t it better to have someone make a better, more educated choice willingly?
I lived in fear when I accepted these myths as facts. Everything seemed dangerous to ingest or even touch…I don’t think that’s the way to live, especially when stress can lead to acne and much worse. No, thank you.
Breathe in through your nose…Breathe out through your nose…Doesn’t that feel so much better?
Now tell me, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in the name of clear skin?
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