If you’re reading this, you have probably used toothpaste in hopes of clearing a pimple (or a lemon or baking soda for other skin concerns) at least once in your life… or at least thought about it. That’s the thing about beauty, it’s so personal that everyone has their own ritual, tip or trick, and home remedy—and a list of old wives tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. Then come the ones in the business of beauty, brands with their lengthy lists of claims, ingredients and how-tos, as well as their own benefits and effects that may or may not be accurate according to experts.
In the first part of our “Beauty Myths Busted” series, we speak to four experts on the common mistake of not reapplying physical sunscreen, topical vs aesthetics treatment-type rejuvenation, misleading ingredient perceptions, and the misconceptions surrounding chemical sun protection.
Michelle Wong, science educator and beauty content creator (@labmuffinbeautyscience)
Beauty Myth: Chemical sunscreens are bad for people with darker skin.
Where you keep seeing it: Social media, some doctors as well
Myth busted: Chemical sunscreens, especially those with the newer chemical filters, are fantastic for darker skin! They can give much higher UVA protection than mineral sunscreens (important for fading hyperpigmentation), and don’t leave a white cast on skin. They may not be suitable if you’re sensitive to particular chemical filters, but the newer chemical filters are also very safe for sensitive skin.
What you should do instead: Look for a sunscreen that has very high protection, that you enjoy using and can apply generously.
Stephen Alain Ko, cosmetic formulator (@kindofstephen)
Beauty myth: You don’t need to reapply physical sunscreen
Where you keep seeing it: Social media
Myth busted: This implies that physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are more stable and their protection remains the same throughout the day. In truth, almost all sunscreens will reduce in protection over time. It’s not necessarily because the sunscreen is breaking down, but can be because the sunscreen is removed by inadvertent touching, sweating, or other things.
What you should do instead: All sunscreens, regardless of what UV filters it uses, should be reapplied throughout UV exposure. A common recommendation is at least every two hours.
Victoria Fu & Gloria Lu, founders of Chemist Confessions Inc. (@chemist.confessions)
Beauty myth: Misleading ingredient percentages
Where you keep seeing it: Product packaging
Myth busted: We have always been big supporters of transparent percentages, and it’s great to see many brands take this approach now too! Sadly, we’re seeing a lot of misleading percentage claims. For example, we will see a product claim “20% glycolic acid”. But if you scan the ingredient list you only see extracts listed. Which means that the product definitely has less than 20% active concentration of glycolic acid.
Sylvia Ramirez, founder of Cutis Medical Laser Clinics
Beauty myth: One of the beauty myths is that creams or oral supplements can do the job of injectables or skin tightening treatments like Ultherapy
Where you keep seeing it: I hear this from patients and popular media all the time, that applying collagen creams or taking collagen supplements can build up our collagen stores to the point that we need nothing else.
Myth busted: This is not true! Although there is now limited evidence that oral collagen is beneficial, you cannot get the same degree of collagen building that you would with Ultherapy or with bio-stimulating fillers such as Radiesse with oral collagen alone. Look at this like muscle, the building block is protein and protein intake is important but unless you exercise the relevant muscle, you will not build muscle and the natural state is that we lose muscle over time. Once you understand the structure of the skin, which is built to keep elements from the outside from getting inside the body, you will realize that it is impossible for active ingredients of skincare to reach deeper levels of the skin where the fibroblasts and collagen fibres are located which need to be stimulated to achieve a skin tightening effect.