Everyone, especially women, wants to look young and radiant. Unfortunately, we cannot reverse the aging process no matter what anti-aging creams and questionable individuals promise. With all the misleading information and false promises, check out some of the anti-aging myths and misconceptions you should definitely ignore from now on.
Washing your face more than once a day causes wrinkles
Washing your face twice a day is critical to maintaining healthy skin. Any dermatologist can attest to that. Some might think they’re off the hook if they spend their entire day inside, protected from outdoor pollutants, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The World Health Organization has determined that indoor pollution is at higher levels than outdoors,” warns Miami-based dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD, co-founder of Dr. Loretta Skincare. “You should wash your face twice daily and directly after exercising to clear your skin of microscopic pollutants before they penetrate and damage deeper layers of skin that can lead to age spots and wrinkles.”
The higher the SPF, the higher protection for your skin
You would think a sunscreen with SPF 90 keeps your skin protected at all times, or at least way longer than an SPF 50 sunscreen. In reality, it’s not the SPF numbers that matter the most but the number of times you reapply the sunscreen. “The more important factor is to apply an ample amount of SPF product to your skin,” says Dr. Ciraldo. Her recommendation is to opt for a sunscreen of SPF 45 and apply it on a daily basis, even when it’s cloudy. Most sunscreens need to be reapplied every two hours to prevent your skin from being damaged by sun exposure and lower your risk of skin cancer.
You don’t have to be a doctor to inject Botox
Botox injections have become quite popular nowadays due to being a painless procedure with fast effects. But Botox is not without side effects if not injected properly and in the right amount. That’s why you can’t trust just anybody with it. “[Botox] truly is very safe when injected by experienced, board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons,” says Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out, reiterates the same idea. “Trusting someone to inject a neurotoxin into your face and muscles is a big deal—it involves risks and side effects.” The best approach if you want the best results is to get your Botox injections (should you opt for that) from physicians, nurses, or other medical professionals with experience in this type of work.
Smiling too much can cause wrinkles
Laughter is the best medicine and can add years to your life. So, why is it that some people believe that smiling can add years to your face? According to Dr. Bowe, this misconception can’t get sillier than that.
“Absolutely smile, laugh, and enjoy your life,” she says. “Your skin is going to age as you age, whether you smile or not, but we have so many ways to proactively address premature aging and fine lines and wrinkles.”
Water alone is enough to keep your skin hydrated
Obviously, a healthy skin is a hydrated one. But water alone is not the solution to get rid of dry skin, at least not according to Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist at Skinney Med Spa and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She recommends “emollients to lock in the moisture in your skin, and we all need these more when the humidity is low, and we lose more moisture from our skin into the air.” Humidifiers might also do the trick and keep your skin soft and hydrated as well as soap substitutes that protect and moisturize the skin.
Exercising accelerates signs of aging on your face and jawline
This just sounds like a good excuse not to exercise. In reality, exercising has numerous benefits, among which keeping your skin feeling and looking healthier by increasing the blood flow and nourishing skin cells.
“When we begin to exert ourselves physically, the blood vessels in our skin contract or shrink and slow the blood flow to our skin,” explains Dr. Bowe. “But as we continue to exercise and our body temperature rises, our blood vessels dilate or become wider, which increases the flow of blood to the skin.” Exercise can also reduce inflammation, helps regulate skin-related hormones and prevents skin damage from free radicals. Need we say more?
Exfoliating daily maintains young and glowing skin
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells. It can make your skin feel and look better, but it can also damage your skin if it’s performed too often. “Exfoliation daily leads to dry, cracked, and aging skin,” warns Lily Talakoub, MD, a dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in McLean, Virginia. “I exfoliate only once a week and, in the winter, once a month to keep the oils on my skin.” As a good rule of thumb, don’t exfoliate your skin more than twice a week, regardless of your age.
Expensive anti-aging creams eliminate wrinkles
As much as we would like to know the secret to the perfect skin, the fact is that apart from, retinol, there’s no magic ingredient that can stop our skin from aging. No matter how expensive an anti-aging cream might be, it cannot eliminate the aging wrinkles for good.
That’s because “the overwhelming majority of anti-aging, firming, and anti-wrinkle creams are formulated to increase the water content of skin, thereby temporarily reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. King. “The most effective product you can use is sunblock.”
Chemical peels lead to thin and saggy skin
It’s true that chemical peels can cause a thinning of the epidermis, but this is usually something that does not last more than a week, so there’s nothing to worry about. “Your skin is a living organism with a dermis and five layers of epidermis that are replaced every 40 days or so,” says Anna Guanche, MD, a dermatologist at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, California. “You may peel off the top layers of your skin and it will be thinner for a day or two, but really what happens is that your skin rejuvenates more effectively and quickly because of the peel.”