Skincare Misconceptions: I Messed Up, So You Don’t Have To

My skin and I have a temperamental relationship at best. Ever since the beginning of puberty I have been dealt with sensitive, combination, acne prone skin. I spent long afternoons at the dermatologist in high school, spent almost two yeas on the highly debated acne medication Acutane, spent ridiculous amounts of money on fad products, and just now after 8 years have figured out the best way to tackle my skin. Does my skin still go through trouble phases? Definitely. However, I can now say that I have a plethora of skin care knowledge to pass on to you lovely people! I have become the go-to skin guru for many of my friends, and now I am here for you.

I have listed below the biggest skincare misconceptions that I struggled through, so you don’t have to.

Dry out the acne
No, no, and no. If you struggle with acne like I do, the best thing you can do to combat acne prone skin is moisturize. Never skimp on moisturizing your skin both morning and night. Drying your acne out will only dry out your skin as a whole, creating a dry, cracked canvas that is actually more prone to breakouts than a plump, moisturized canvas. If you have oily skin, that might also be due to a lack of moisture. If you aren’t moisturizing enough, your skin will hyper-react with excess oil to compensate.

Now, there are many different moisturizers out there ranging from light to very heavy. You will need to do your research and experiment to see what provides ample moisture, yet doesn’t leave you feeling greasy, but never ever skip moisturizing both acne prone and oily skin.

Oils cause acne
This is another misconception that I can vouch for being untrue. While there are some hydrating oils that can be too heavy for acne prone skin, you should never disqualify all oils. Read reviews, look at the ingredients, and do your research. There are many oils out there that are actually great for acne. I have been using a product that is a blend of 22 oils every single night for about a month, and it has made the biggest difference in my skin. I wake up glowing, with my acne significantly diminished.

Ingredients are whatever
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Treat it as such. You wouldn’t drink dangerous chemicals, so why would you put them on your skin. The biggest, and best change I have made to my skincare routine over the past six months is switching to mostly all natural, organic products. If they aren’t all natural, I always make sure to avoid these 10 harmful ingredients: mineral oil, fragrance/parfum, diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monoethanolamine, hydroquinone, triclosan, sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and parabens. I have found that simpler is better for my skin, I would urge you to do the same. Pai Skincare, True Botanicals, Vitner’s Daughter, and Arcona are a few of my go-to natural skincare brands.

Sleeping in your makeup isn’t that bad
It really is that bad. This is the number one way to clog pores, waking up with dull, broken-out skin. Every time I have fallen asleep with my makeup on, I felt the wrath for the next week or two with terrible breakouts. Even if it doesn’t make you break out, you are still damaging your skin by not allowing it to breath. If you find yourself exhausted or forgetting to take off your makeup after a night out, leave makeup wipes right next to your bed, possibly next to the two Advil you set out to battle the impending hangover. It is all about creating a routine that even your most drunk self can handle. Neutrogena and Klorane wipes are two personal favorites!

The more products I use, the better
Nope, a lot of time the simpler your routine the better. Not only can you overwhelm your skin with too many products and ingredients, it is difficult to stick with a complicated skincare routine. I have also found it is not easy to know how all of the ingredients in your products will react if you are not a professional, which is especially true when dealing with peels and more intense treatments. I would advise you to stick to the main three as your base: cleanse, treat, moisturize.

Results happen overnight
I still find myself falling to this misconception, especially when trying a new product or struggling through a breakout. I get it, it’s frustrating to spend money on a product and not see results right away, especially when the product isn’t cheap. However, you have to remember that results do indeed take time. I now force myself to use a product for at least a month before throwing it in the trash (unless you have a terrible reaction). This allows for my skin to go through a few layers, and for the results to really shine through. I currently use a product that first purged all of the nastiness for two weeks before a smoother, clearer layer appeared. I wouldn’t have had those great results if I quit after only a few days.

Skincare is only about skin
You can use all of the products in the world, but if you are not taking care of your mental and physical self, your skin isn’t going to be its best. If you struggle with any sort of skin issue, look to your lifestyle. Alcohol, diet, stress, lack of sleep, and water intake all affect your skin. I tell myself that my skin is a reflection of how well I have been taking care of my body. Sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night, cut down on the alcohol, avoid sugar and dairy (especially true for acne), workout five days a week, drink more water, and above all take care of your mental health. Lifestyle changes first, products second.

I hope the past 8 years of my skin struggles and the lessons I have learned can help you in getting the best skin of your life. It is a process; it might take time and experimenting. Be patient, and above all remember that true beauty is more than appearances.

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