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Debunking Skincare Myths

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD, Karyn Eilber, MD, and Marianne Madsen on January 3, 2023

When it comes to skin care, there are some hard-and-fast “rules” to which we simply adhere to because we have heard them repeatedly and believe they are 100% accurate. Unfortunately, not all of these tales are true. Here are some common myths about skin care which you can stop believing right now.


Myth 1: Expensive is better


When it comes to great skin care products, you might be tempted to think that you get what you pay for. When it comes to your greatest asset, of course you would prefer to use only uber-expensive brand name products, products that include refined 24-carat gold and South Sea pearls (luxurious and shocking at the same time!). You’d love to be supporting a booming global skincare market predicted to be valued at around $145.2 billion dollars. Yet when we come down to earth, we soon realize that our budgets don’t always (or ever?) spread that far. 

You don’t have to mortgage your home to have great-looking skin. You can get amazing products from less expensive brands that also keep your skin looking gorgeous. Yes, really! In fact, the Business Insider team says that “there are plenty of affordable skin care brands that perform as well or better than luxury products, at a fraction of the cost.” Great news indeed! When you do have the money and really want to pamper yourself, you can always splurge on a super-expensive moisturizer. But until then, don’t worry. Your skin is going to be just fine even if you don’t use mega-trendy designer products – just focus on the ingredients that are featured in the expensive products and make sure they are in products in similar amounts in the products you buy.


Myth 2: Always use toner


You don’t actually need a toner. Gasp! This is really great news for those of us who want to streamline taking care of our faces! Toner is supposed to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin and should be applied before applying moisturizer. The thing is, while toner definitely does help some people, not everyone needs it. And what’s more, your other skincare products may overlap with the toner, meaning that you now have two products (and you paid for both of them!) doing the exact same thing. This is a waste of your time and money. Toner is not altogether unnecessary. It can come in handy if you have dry skin–you could then use either a hydrating toner or a richer moisturizer. If you have oily skin, you can apply either toner or a serum that you like. You can also supplement your skincare regimen with an antioxidant-rich toner–if your other beauty and skincare products don’t already contain antioxidants.


Myth 3: Makeup wipes are good for your skin


I love makeup wipes. They are cheap and super convenient, and I can carry them around in my purse for a quick touch-up. A must have? Unfortunately, this one is a definite no-no! Makeup wipes are formulated to break down makeup, not to cleanse your skin. Not only that, but they can actually cause friction and slowly tear at the skin if you use them every day. These micro-tears can also advance the aging process. Plus, a lot of makeup wipes have alcohol, which can cause stinging for sensitive skin. What about baby wipes? Well, they aren’t good either. Their job is to remove organic material from the surface of the skin. This means that a lot of makeup and environmental debris will remain on the skin, even though it may look clean to the naked eye. Next time you see them at your convenience store or pharmacy, just walk on by.

Myth 4: You should always use a dime-sized amount of skin product


Have you ever heard the one about using a dime-sized amount of product? Well, this one isn’t true either. Because your face is unique, it may respond differently to a product, and often you will need to use more than just a dime-sized amount of product to achieve the desired result. Conversely, you may only need a drop or two of product to get the results you need with your unique skin.


Myth 5: Just try a bunch of products and stick with what works


Another myth is that you can try various products and see which are a hit and which are a miss, without the advice of an esthetician or dermatologist. Even if you don’t suffer from any skin condition, a dermatologist can help you to learn which skin type you have. But if you suffer from chronic or hormonal acne which drives you crazy and just won’t go away no matter which over-the-counter remedies you try, a dermatologist should be the first person you call. Don’t spend a lot of time and money on a product that’s not going to help your skin.


When it comes to skin care, it’s a good idea to try out different products and see which ones suit your face and your wallet. It’s also a great idea to contact a dermatologist for ongoing skin conditions or issues, as she/he has been trained to help your unique skin be clean and clear. Don’t forget, especially with skin care–the internet is a huge place filled with misinformation. Don’t believe everything you read, and get information from trusted sources like Doctorpedia!




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