While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, beauty myths are another story. Some are a result of longstanding consumer perceptions while others are old wives tales passed down from a lineage of women. And then there are half-truths turned fables generated from marketing campaigns. Whether it’s our own interpretation or a message being straight-up sold to us by the beauty industry, tales of how we should understand our skin and its changes begin to morph.
So let’s get down to business and bust toxic beauty myths, the ones shaping how we view ourselves and negatively affecting our self-worth. Because a lot of them are total BS and ain’t nobody got time for that!
You need to “feel” products “working” or else they’re ineffective
I remember working my magic during a facial and my client saying, “I can’t feel anything, I don’t think it’s working.” Often enough, I heard this concern. And I would explain how everything was working as intended. It’s not always necessary to feel a product, tool, or treatment in order for it do its job… no matter what skin issue you’re trying to tackle.
Some products are designed to be felt with varying intensity. I truly believe some have been created this way because of our general perception as consumers. It’s been ingrained into our psyche, it must not be worthwhile if I can’t feel a tingle, prickle, heat or stinging.
More often than not, if you can feel sensations other than cooling, it’s typically considered to be not good. Tingling, prickling, stinging and heat are all warning signs from your skin telling you it’s not feeling so hot with what you’re using. It’s the warning signal before experiencing symptoms of over-exfoliating or compromising your barrier. The exception to the rule is advanced treatments where our skin is being damaged in a controlled setting to create a positive result, like lasers or microneedling at a medspa.
You already know your fate with aging because of family genetics
While genetics definitely play a role in aging, environmental factors can make or break how you actually end up aging. Our lifestyle has a bigger impact on our physical aging than genetics do! Your momma might look amazing at 60, but if you don’t do your part, those genes won’t do you much good.
How we live our daily lives directly impacts our skin’s aging process. From diet to sunbathing to drinking and smoking, are all of these can drastically change how we age. Even if you think you were dealt a poor hand in the gene pool, you can age gracefully by making smart lifestyle choices. Good skin is largely determined by our environment and our environment can be controlled by the daily choices we make. It’s not always about finding the perfect skincare routine.
You can shrink your pores
Our pores have a specific purpose, helping our skin regulate oil production and excreting lipids to keep our complexion lubricated. We all have them! Some are smaller than others, but there’s no true way to shrink your pores.
If we neglect exfoliating, become dehydrated, or take poor care of our skin, our pores can begin to appear bigger than they truly are. When dirt, oil, and dead skin cells begin to build up, they can make our pores look bigger. So while we can’t shrink them per se, we can keep our skin well hydrated, moisturized and regularly exfoliate to maintain their natural appearance.
You only need to start using anti-aging products once you see signs of aging
Essentially, the time to start using anti-aging products is now. The sooner the better. If you wait until you’re beginning to see fine lines, sun spots, and increased redness, the damage has already begun to show its effects on your skin’s surface. At this point, you’re working to reverse aging instead of preventing it.
Prevention is the name of the game! It’s best to start in your 20’s with specific products to help eliminate the effects of living and enjoying life. These include SPF, retinoids, and antioxidant serums. If you’re later in the game, don’t worry that you’re behind or that you won’t be able to reverse the damage you’re seeing! The sooner you begin caring for your skin in a deliberate, strategic way, the better your results will be. Aging gracefully with topical skincare can truly be achieved.
Natural ingredients are better for your skin than chemicals
Thanks to natural, green beauty marketing, a lot of fearmongering has scared us into thinking we need to avoid chemicals entirely. But the notion of natural ingredients being better for your skin isn’t necessarily true. In many cases, synthetic ingredients can be much safer and cause less irritation compared to natural ingredients like essential oils.
Of course, be aware of unhealthy ingredients that are dangerous to our bodies or environment. But know the debate between “chemical” and “natural” isn’t a black and white affair. There’s more than what meets the eye, so don’t feel the need to shy away from synthetic skincare.