I remember watching my grandmother get ready for bed when I was a little girl. I would sit on the counter and stare in awe at her ability to roll her shiny, gray hair up into the coolest pin-curls. And then she would always finish by splashing her face with water, rinsing with a cleanser and slathering on some Pond’s cold cream. Every single time, she’d turn to me and say, “Katie, always remember to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!” My mother repeated the same advice to me into my teen years and even still, I can hear both of them preaching the importance of topical cream and lots of water.
That was the extent of my skin care knowledge until I went to school to be a cosmetologist. Skin care technologies and research have advanced far beyond what I was taught as a child. I was amazed by the complexities of our largest organ truly. Here’s a breakdown of the myths and realities I learned about skincare.
1. “Only wear sunscreen on sunny days.”
The sun’s rays affect your skin even on cloudy or snowy days, so it’s crucial that you always stay protected! Even just a little bit of sun damage to your face on a daily basis can add up over time and give way to premature aging. Try adding a moisturizer to your routine that already incorporates SPF like Revision’s Tinted Moisturizer.
2. “The higher the SPF, the longer it protects your skin.”
The amount of “sun protection factor” simply means that: the ability and strength the lotion has to protect your skin. It has nothing to do with it’s length of durability and for good reason. Since everyone’s skin has different factors and considerations, it would be very difficult to prescribe just a few options of SPF factor for everyone across the board. The best way to handle SPF is to re-apply every 3-4 hours and always be mindful of whether it is waterproof.
3. “There’s no such thing as too much exfoliating.”
Exfoliating is such an essential part of your routine because dead skin must be sloughed off in order for new sebum to secrete from your pores and moisturize the skin. Allowing your sebaceous glands to do their job is the very best way to maintain hydrated skin. However, exfoliating too much can irritate and dry your skin. I exfoliate every other day or when I notice my skin looking more dull and to maintain a monthly professional facial to do a better job of clearing anything I haven’t been able to get.
4. “Try out preventative Botox before you have wrinkles.”
If you want to take care of your wrinkles and fine lines, Botox is definitely a viable option. I have plenty of friends who’ve bit the bullet and loved the results . . . but my friends are older. Preventative Botox at a young age (like 21-25) before wrinkles are even present is not only unnecessary, but costly and damaging to your self-esteem. A youthful appearance means having a forehead, mouth and cheeks that move and don’t look too stiff. Incorporate firming creams or other treatments sans the needles to do as much as you can naturally. And then when wrinkles start to pop up, consult with a medical esthetician to see what you can do. Remember, you’re trying to be intelligently preventative, not dramatically presumptuous.
5. “Using steam or heat opens up pores.”
This myth comes more from a lack of explanation. All cosmetologists, dermatologists and estheticians know that heat softens and expands pores allowing for sebum, dirt and other clogging irritants to move toward the surface and be easily extracted. When the heat softens the contents of your pores, it can draw out from the very base of instead of just hitting the surface, so it’s definitely a necessity. But your pores are never “opened” or “closed” and they are always the same size. They just simply expand and soften with some heat and then go right back to where they’ve always been immediately after.
6. “All you need overnight is a great cold cream.”
Leave that cold cream with your grandmother and enter the skin care world of 2014, friend! When you are considering what to use on your skin at night, think about rosehip seed oil. It’s full of antioxidants which work on a cellular level to help regenerate and rejuvenate your skin. It’s also anti-inflammatory, so it can calm down any redness or irritation. And it doesn’t hurt that Miranda Kerr swears by it! Another great idea is to spray your pillow with lavender oil spray because lavender is known for regulating sebum production and it’s calming. A little spritz on your pillow will help you sleep wonderfully and help your scalp, neck and face stay regulated all night.
7. “And when you apply that overnight protection, use as much as you want.”
Your skin does regenerate overnight, so it is important to give it a nice foundation before letting it do so. But over-moisturizing can actually cause build up on your skin and give you the opposite desired outcome. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on how much to use to ensure you get maximum benefits.
8. “Age is nothing but a number.”
“Aging” skin has much less to do with your physical age than it does the condition of your skin. Any kind of hormonal condition like thyroid disease or a skin disorder like eczema can affect how your skin reacts, how it regenerates overnight and what it needs to stay hydrated and healthy. If you have any of these conditions, consult a dermatologist or skin care specialist to find your perfect regime . . . whether you are 25 or 55.
9. “When skin changes, change your products.”
Because your skin changes and regenerates so quickly, you’ll notice subtle changes over time. Things like moving to a new city with a different climate than you’re used to or even just getting a new pillow cover can affect your skin in different ways. A lot of women assume that when your skin care products stop working like they used to, it means your skin has adjusted and they know longer work for you. But what’s actually going on is that your skin has changed and now needs a new regimen. It’s important to evolve your routine and products with your skin as it evolves.
10. “Skin care is a topical issue.”
As your largest organ, your skin is an indicator of your total health. There’s an idea out there that skin care is topical and needs creams, lotions and exfoliants only. But drinking water, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating right can all change your skin for the better. Make sure to add plenty of antioxidants and smart fats into your diet to ensure your perfect health. It’s just like when a pregnant woman has that “natural glow” because of the extra hormones she’s producing and the prenatal vitamins she consumes. Take care of your beauty from the inside out and you’ll always look and feel your best!