By Paula Begoun and Claire Coleman for the Daily Mail
MYTH 1: MATURE IS A SKIN TYPE
Contrary to much of the messaging from the skincare industry, age isn’t a skin type or a skin concern. The products aimed at women over 50 are often heavy, thick and greasy, but at 64, I still have oily skin that’s prone to break-outs so these products wouldn’t be right for me.
It sounds so obvious, but not everyone in the same age group has the same skin type.
Your skincare routine should be based on how dry, sun-damaged, oily, sensitive, thin, blemished, or normal your skin is—it’s nothing to do with age.
Then there is the issue of skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, allergies and other skin disorders, which again, have nothing to do with age. Work out what your skin needs by looking at it, not at your date of birth!
MYTH 2: SKINCARE BEATS BOTOX
I’m so tired of hearing celebrities say ‘I haven’t had a facelift, it’s just good skincare’ when I look at them and know that even if they haven’t gone under the knife, they have had fillers, Botox, radiofrequency or ultrasound tightening and lifting procedures such as Thermage and Ultherapy.
How do I know? Because if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have that face at that age.
There is absolutely no research showing that any skincare product can even remotely work like Botox, dermal fillers or laser resurfacing. Even Botox can’t work like Botox if you apply it topically rather than injecting it into the facial muscles to ‘freeze’ them.
So no, skincare can’t do what cosmetic procedures can, but then they can’t do what skincare can, which is give skin good texture, even tone and radiance.
MYTH 3: COLLAGEN BUSTS WRINKLES
Collagen and elastin are the proteins that occur naturally in the skin and give it its youthful bounce.
In a face cream, they can serve as water-binding agents (ingredients that attract water to the skin and help keep it there), but they won’t boost your skin’s natural supply of these supportive elements.
In most cases, the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate the skin. But, even when it is made small enough to be absorbed, it cannot bind with the collagen existing in skin, and there isn’t a shred of research indicating otherwise.
If you want to encourage skin to protect its natural collagen supply and build new collagen (something that healthy skin loves to do and does quite well under the right conditions), protect it from sun damage.
Use a well-formulated AHA or BHA product—types of acid that help to break down and remove dead skin cells—to exfoliate daily.
Also, look for ingredients such as antioxidants, which protect the skin from external damage, niacinamide (a type of B vitamin), retinol (a form of vitamin A ) and peptides (types of protein), all of which are known as cell-communicating ingredients which instruct the skin to function in a normal and healthy way.
MYTH 4: EXPENSIVE MEANS BETTER
There are good and bad products in all price categories. The amount of money you spend on skincare products has nothing to do with the quality or uniqueness of the formula.
I’ve seen lots of expensive products that are little more than water and wax, and inexpensive products that are beautifully formulated.
Spending less doesn’t hurt your skin, and spending more doesn’t help it. It’s all about the formulation, not the price.
MYTH 5: EVERYONE NEEDS NIGHT CREAM
There is unequivocally no difference between what your skin needs at night and what it needs during the day. In fact, the only difference between a daytime and night-time moisturiser is that the daytime version should contain a well-formulated, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
MYTH 6: SKIN ADAPTS TO ROUTINE
We hear this all the time: your skin ‘gets used’ to a product so you need to change your routine every now and then. This is such incredible nonsense.
Unless you switch from a poorly formulated product to a well-formulated one, switching one product for another isn’t going to make any difference.
Skin doesn’t adapt to skincare products any more than your body adapts to a healthy diet!
If spinach and broccoli are healthy for you, they are always going to be healthy, and they continue to be so, even if you eat them every day.
The same is true for your skin—as long as you are applying what is good for your skin, and avoiding sources of damage, such as unprotected sun exposure, then it remains healthy.
MYTH 7: EYE CREAM IS ESSENTIAL
There is no evidence, research, or documentation validating the frequent claim that the eye area needs different ingredients from those you use on your face, neck area or décolletage.
The ingredients label on these ‘specialty’ products more than proves the point. Eye creams are a whim of the cosmetics industry designed to evoke the sale of two products when only one is needed.
But I have to hold my hands up and say that my line, Paula’s Choice, does have separate eye creams.
That’s purely because no matter how many times I say this, some people will never believe me! And I would far rather that a woman who wants to use an eye cream, too, buys mine, which doesn’t have fragrance that could cause irritation and inflammation.
MYTH 8: AGE SPOTS ARE INEVITABLE
The term ‘age spot’ isn’t quite accurate. Uneven skin tone and brown spots come from years of environmental exposure which leads to enzymes in the skin’s surface causing imperfections. Whatever you want to call them, these spots are unwanted and can show up at any age.
For lightening stubborn dark spots, you need prescription hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, but for skin brightening, more even skin tone and renewed radiance, there are off-the-shelf ingredients that work.
Look for products that contain niacinamide, vitamin C and certain plant extracts like arbutin. But remember: for skin-lightening or brightening products to work, you need to wear broad-spectrum sun protection 365 days a year.
MYTH 9: BUY ONLY HYPOALLERGENIC FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
‘Hypoallergenic’ is a nonsense word, nothing more than an advertising contrivance implying a product is unlikely or less likely to cause allergic reactions and, therefore, better for sensitive or problem skin.
There are absolutely no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures anywhere in the world for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic.
A company can label their product ‘hypoallergenic’ because there is no regulation that says they can’t, so plenty of products labelled ‘hypoallergenic’ contain problematic ingredients that could trigger allergic reactions.
MYTH 10: DRY SKIN? DRINK MORE WATER
We’re routinely told to glug litres of water for clear, glowing skin but, until recently, there was no research indicating that drinking any amount of water had any impact on skin.
But in 2015 a study published in Clinical Cosmetic Investigative Dermatology demonstrated that drinking water did positively impact skin; however, it would take a lot more than the usually recommended eight glasses to see benefits — their results suggested you’d have to drink almost 16 glasses of water every day to get any improvement.
The fact is that however much water you drink, it’s never going to replace skincare entirely. Because dry skin is not as simple as just a lack of moisture. The causes of, and treatments for, dry skin are far more complicated.
It can be down to your genes, sun damage, your hormones, or your health, but generally happens when the skin’s surface becomes disrupted.
So it’s as much what you apply to the surface as what you consume that will keep it looking, and feeling, hydrated.