Let’s face it, we don’t need any more fake news. There’s so much conflicting news about what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing with your skin, we thought we’d help to set the record straight about sensitive skin and acne.
Here’s some of the biggest myths we’ve heard, and the actual truth behind them:
1. You can’t use cleansing products if you have sensitive skin
False! We’re not sure where this one has come from, as even sensitive skin needs to be kept clean and free of impurities. What’s important is that you’re using the right cleansing products. Steer clear of foaming or harsh cleansers that will strip and irritate your skin, and instead invest in skincare products that have been specially formulated to sooth and calm sensitive skin.
Washing with water alone isn’t effective as it won’t remove makeup or dirt from your skin thoroughly.
2. You must double cleanse
Not true. Double cleansing is one of those things that some people swear by, but it’s not always necessary. It depends on your skin type and whether you’ve been wearing makeup/SPF . Heavy makeup or makeup = makes sense to double cleanse and ensure your skin is fully clean.
If you haven’t heard of it before, double cleansing is a technique where you usually use two cleansers (one after the other) – usually with an oil-based cleanser or oil first, followed by a water based cleanser.
It’s easier (which we’re all for) to either use one effective cleanser that removes everything in one go (often difficult to achieve), or use a multipurpose product that you can use for both of your first and second cleanse. You’ll still get the benefits of a double cleanse without the fuss.
3. Acne is caused by washing your face too little
Acne has pretty much nothing to do with how often you wash your face. It’s actually down to four things - hormones, genetics, excess oil production and excessive keratinisation (where you produce too many skin cells, leading to blocked pores).
You may notice that all of these link to genetics and have nothing to do with how often you jump in the shower. Of course, cleansing and exfoliation with the right products is still important for your skin. You can officially ignore those people who say “have you tried washing your face more?”
4. Sunbathing sorts out acne
As much as we love the feel of the sun on our skin, unfortunately the answer is no on this one. The sun and acne don’t really mix. A little vitamin D is amazing for making your skin glow but don’t overdo it. Make sure you wear SPF too, and reapply throughout the day (even when it’s not really sunny, even if your skin contains plenty of melanin). UV rays can damage the skin’s DNA which leads to premature aging, inflammation and even skin cancer, so moderation and protection is key.
In the UK, winter can seem to go on for months and months, so many of us now take a vitamin D supplement to help our skin along. There’s a handy page on the NHS website about this with information about dose etc.
5. Don’t exfoliate sensitive skin
This is a common one we hear a lot - but it’s wrong! If you suffer from rosacea or allergies then keeping exfoliation to a minimum is best. But if you can exfoliate your sensitive skin then it’s worth it to keep pores clear and remove dirt and debris to avoid breakouts.
Chemical exfoliants are much better for sensitive skin than using physical exfoliants (the ones that contain scrubby particles) because they’re much gentler. Chemical exfoliants use acids or enzymes that are good for dissolving and loosening the cells, whereas physical exfoliants are more abrasive and can cause micro-tears to your skin.
6. Pores open and close (or shrink)
Your pores don’t have muscles (or hinges, they aren’t a door) so are unable to open and close, whatever you might have heard. Steam, gentle exfoliation and using the right products on your skin can unclog your pores, which can make them appear smaller but they can’t physically shrink. If you have large pores, or a pore that’s been blocked and stretched in the past, there isn’t a way to permanently shrink it back.
7. Pimples should never be squeezed
Serious conflicts with this one. The official advice is not to squeeze but…the relief and improved appearance that comes from squeezing can sometimes make it worth it. Especially if you have a particularly prominent one that appears before a first date or a special event.
If you have to squeeze (no judgement here), just be clean and careful about it. It’s all too easy to get carried away and damage your skin. Hands up if you’ve ever “dealt with a pimple” to the point of the end result looking worse than the original spot. Sometimes it’s better to throw a spot plaster on and go about your business.
To safely squeeze follow these tips: with clean hands, gently squeeze from the bottom with a tissue over your fingers. Wash your hands before and after the squeezing session, and keep the area clean to avoid infection. Don’t squeeze to the point where it draws blood – this will likely scar.
The Queen of Skin herself, Caroline Hirons has written a great article all about how to pop a spot effectively!
8. Acne is contagious
No, acne is not a contagious condition. You can’t spread it to family and friends through touch, sharing towels or anything else. As with anything, hygiene is important (more for you and your skin than anyone else). Keep the risk of bacterial infection to a minimum by keeping your skin and hands clean and not sharing your pillows or towels while a severe outbreak is happening.
9. Only dry skin types can be sensitive
Nope nope nope. Any skin type can be sensitive, whether it’s normal, dry, oily or combination. Any skin type can also become dehydrated, which can lead to sensitivity and dryness (yes, even if you have oily skin, it can still be dehydrated).
Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a balanced, healthy diet and including an appropriate moisturiser into your routine are all absolutely essential for your skin so incorporate that into your routine if you’re not already.
10. You only need sunscreen if it’s hot, sunny weather
Not true. Even on cloudier days, the sun can still damage your skin, speeding up your skin’s ageing process and leaving you susceptible to discolouration ration, sunburn and even skin cancer. You should make SPF a regular part of your skin routine (even if you think you don’t need it) and get into the habit of applying it.
Just FYI, the SPF in your makeup probably isn’t enough. SPF refers to UVB and some UVA2 protection, and doesn’t necessarily tell us how much of either. This can make it tricky to actually work out what your make up protects you against, so it’s often safer to use a separate one. You can get great sunscreens that don’t add excess oil to your skin or leave a white cast on your face. It can be a little trial and error to find a facial sunscreen that you like but it’s worth it for the protective benefits.
Is your skin sensitive or prone to acne?
Finding the right products for acne-prone skin can be tricky at times. But don’t worry, we’ve got you! Take a look at our beautiful range of skincare products to build simple, straight-forward routines that work without irritating your skin.
Even better, all of our products are ethically sourced, contain no irritants (so are suitable for sensitive skin) and are totally cruelty-free.
Check out our range of simple, effective skincare products.