6. 4. 2021

English Version | Putting the sin in skin

by Ana Saldanha


Everything was fine (or not as bad) if we weren't talking about ideas that, in the long run, can damage the skin's health and balance. We did the research and chose a sample, a small selection of the myths that have been spread like weeds. If, in the past, ignorance was only spread through word-of-mouth, but now there is a whole digital universe to help disseminate not-so-brilliant ideas and their absurd justifications concerning what to do or not to do with our epidermis.

Oily skins don’t need to moisturize

Oily skins can be oily and dehydrated at the same time - water and oil are different and the presence of one does not rule out the presence of the other. Also, the skin may be producing more oil to compensate for the lack of hydration, creating a vicious circle of unbalanced skin. Oily skin, like all skins, benefits from a moisturizer suited to its needs, and usually, gel and water-based textures that are easily absorbed are very well tolerated. There is also the myth that oily skins must run from facial oils, which is not entirely correct - there are oils suited for oilier skins, and what we must take into account when choosing one is the comedogenic level, which refers to the ability of the product to clog or not to clog our pores. Squalane oil, jojoba, and marula are some lighter oils that are safe and recommended for the majority of oily skin types.

It is possible to make pores disappear

In short: no. And the pores also can’t open and close - and that means that the use of hot water and steam to open the pores is also a myth. The heat can dilate the pores, just as the cold constricts them. Heat also helps to dissolve oil plugs that can be clogging the pores (which is why beauticians use hot towels and steam during facials). The size of the pores is ruled by genetics and their existence has a purpose since they allow sebum to travel from the sebaceous glands to the surface of the skin, keeping it lubricated and comfortable. For this reason, oily skins will tend to have more visible pores. So you can’t change the structure of the pores, but you can make them appear less visible, although none of these solutions are permanent. Exfoliating with glycolic or salicylic acid, using sebum-regulators like niacinamide, and having an adequate cleansing routine can help to minimize the appearance of pores, as it prevents the accumulation of oil and dead cells that dilate and make them appear larger.

Skin can’t breathe under makeup 

Makeup or creams. And whoever says that the skin can’t breathe usually also says that the painted nails can’t breathe. But the skin does not breathe. Period. The skin is, yes, fed by oxygen, but that happens in the deeper layers of the epidermis and the oxygen going there is the one that circulates in our blood. If, when talking about "letting the skin breathe", you are referring to clogging the pores, this can happen with makeup, sweat, oil, dirt, and pollution, and the consequence is the appearance of pimples and blackheads. And although this is a very annoying consequence, it does not compare to the damage that “asphyxiating” your skin could have - if that was a real thing. 

Natural skincare is better

Usually, this statement is followed by  “no chemicals” or “nontoxic” and if, on the one hand, environmental awareness is very important and the search for sustainable beauty products must be in our priorities, the natural versus chemical war doesn’t make much sense - oxygen is a chemical and we’re not running away from it, right? We need to get to the heart of the matter and see if we are talking about natural ingredients or naturally sourced ingredients. Because a natural skincare fanatic would run from glycolic acid since this name sounds because it sounds “chemical” but this ingredient is derived from sugar cane. In most cases, marketing that is based on demonizing “bad” ingredients and tries to convince us that natural is always better (even if some natural ingredients like essential oils can be extremely irritating to sensitive skin) is straight-up greenwashing. 

You can fix your dry skin by drinking tons of water

If this is the belief you need to get you to reach that water goal, skip this. Because we have to tell you that although water has many benefits for our health (and this includes skin health), nothing indicates that more water equals better skin. All the extra water besides the recommended two liters per day will just be expelled by your body and will not contribute to that extra hydration. And no, it won't take all the toxins with it (that’s what your liver does). To treat dry skin, we must ensure that the skin barrier is healthy and that it can retain hydration but no amount of water will have the same impact as products created for this with ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and fatty acids.

The skin gets used to the products and they stop working overtime

The simplest answer is a resounding no. The skin is unable to build immunity to products over time since it has a relatively short renewal cycle (it takes about 28 days), the skin on which you apply the products today is not the same as the one where you applied them a month ago. On the other hand, we can also be a perception problem: if we have a product that fights dark spots, over time these spots will be lighter and the results may become less visible (but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there). The skin is a living organ and its needs change so there is nothing wrong with adapting your skin routine to its needs since an inadequate routine can cause skin imbalances (drier, oily, or duller skin, breakouts, etc.) that you might want to blame on your products. However, there’s one exception in the skin immunity matter: retinoids. Our skin can build some tolerance to lower concentrations of retinoids and this is why many brands present the same product with different concentrations so that it can increase it over time.

You only need SPF in the summer

We saved the worst for last. The supreme of the skin sins and the one who ruins all the progress that our daily routine makes. We expect not to have to explain in detail why sunscreen is the most important part of the skincare routine, but we cannot throw away an opportunity to reinforce it. The sun's rays are the main responsible for premature skin aging and the appearance and aggravation of dark spots. In addition to aesthetic reasons, skin cancer is currently the most common type of cancer. And if in the summer it is easier to have concerns about the sun to avoid the dreaded sunburn, the sun doesn’t become less dangerous when the weather changes - in fact, in areas where it snows, the opposite happens, since the snow can reflect 80% of UV radiation. Both UVA and UVB contribute to skin aging and DNA damage, which can cause skin cancer. Besides, UVA rays can even penetrate glass windows, so you should be applying SPF even while staying at home and 365 (or 366) days a year.