If you’re anything like me, you do not want to give up your chocolate. Slathering sunscreen on your skin every morning seems like a waste of time, and who wants to walk around smelling like zinc? And—let’s face it—who remembers (or wants to) wash their face every single night before tumbling into bed? Not this girl.
Well, luckily for you collegiettes, I’ve got the scoop on all of the above. The truth is, you don’t have to! Call it #SkinBusters if you will, but there are some major myths of skin care circulating around campus that I am here to deface (pun intended.)
And in true Duke fashion, I’m not just some random schmuck with no citation to support her claims. Everything I’m about to tell you has been told to me (oftentimes repeatedly at the dinner table) by my dad, a practicing Dermatologist for 25 years. You name it—he’s dealt with it. And after spending six summers at his practice checking in patients, I’ve probably seen some version of most skin issues too.
Myth #1:If you want great skin, you need to lay off the chocolate, the caffeine, and sugary sweets.
Wrong (sort of.) The first two are okay, although you might want to watch the simple sugars in foods like cupcakes and pie. Neither chocolate or caffeine have been shown to cause breakouts, and in fact, dark chocolate and small doses of caffeine have proven to actually increase circulation and improve skin. If you would like to indulge in sweets (let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a slice of red velvet every once in a while?) just be sure to increase your water intake for a day or two to flush out the fatty buildups. (Tip: strawberries and avocado are great superfoods for a glowing face!)
Myth #2: I need adhere to a religious skin care routine and wash my face with an acne-fighting cleanser twice daily.Not exactly. If you wash your face with harsher cleansers like benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid more than once a day, you could actually be stripping your skin of the natural oils it needs to repair/replace skin cells. I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but some oil is good for your skin to look fresh. If you insist on doing it twice a day, be sure to replace those oils with a good moisturizer. And if you fall asleep after a night at Shooters and don’t wash the night eyeliner off, it’s not the end of the world. Just be sure to use a toner in the morning.
Myth #3: I have to dish out cash for the more expensive products like Proactive to make sure my skin stays free of those pesky breakouts.Not really—at least for your basic skin care. I know products like Proactive may seem enticing (especially when endorsed by celebs like The Biebs or Julianne Hough) but I’ve learned from my dad’s tirades that spending millions on celeb endorsements does not necessarily guarantee a better product. In fact, want to know a secret? A $30 Proactive cleanser set contains salicylic acid—the same as is found in a $4 Clean & Clear bottle (and the latter smells better!) So save your money for the LoYo truck (or maybe a lifesize cutout of Justin) and grab your daily skin care from Target instead of telemarketers.*
Myth #4: Beauty magazines give the best advice on skin care—and most are backed by Dermatologists, so the information they give must be the truth. That’s technically correct: information presented by M.D.’s in magazines like Marie Claire or Elle cannot by law be falsified, but you also have to remember that endorsed dermatologists often do magazine interviews from the business angle. The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, so be sure to read those interviews with a critical eye. If someone says to go out and buy a cleansing scrub to use once a week, but doing so dries your skin out, just don’t. (Side note: if you want to try a face scrub while saving some bucks, use a little sugar and honey to gently exfoliate. College girls on a budget ftw!)
Myth #5: Acne forms overnight. Nope. Most breakouts take 4-6 weeks to develop. However, there may be hidden flare-up triggers in your daily routine that you don’t even know about, such as the grime that accumulates on your iphone and pillowcase. Make sure to change the pillowcase about twice as frequently as you wash your sheets (or just turn it inside out to save the effort) and clean your phone screen with a cleansing wipe.
Myth #6: I need to put on sunscreen every day, and walk around looking like a Bay Watch rerun.False. At least in terms of looking like a Bay Watch rerun. Sunscreen technology has become so developed and refined nowadays that the formulas are much smoother, sweeter-smelling, and don’t leave a residue on your face. In fact, most moisturizers contain a daily SPF booster (you should aim to buy those!) I would definitely recommend putting on sunscreen daily, however. (May I mention that skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, yet it’s arguably the most preventable? Trust me, I’ve seen so many cases of melanoma. And the removal is not pretty. Just wear the darn sunscreen, please.) And did you know that you actually get a better tan with sunscreen on?
Well, dear collegiettes, I hope my advice has been helpful to you, or at the very least helped to shave off a few pennies from your shopping list (yes, another pun intended.)
*If you have acne that is painful to the touch, itchy, flaky, or accompanied by red patches, please see a dermatologist to see if prescription strength treatment would be the best option for you. Inflamed acne is often the type that scars, so it’s best to see a professional in this case, rather than consulting beauty magazines.