Major Myths About Cosmetics and The Real Facts

I know these myths seem like an awful lot, but believe me, there could have been lots more.

I struggled with which ones to include that would be the most helpful.

What women are led to believe about skincare and makeup could fill volumes.

We are incessantly bombarded with these myths disguised as truths, and like any brainwashing procedure, it takes effort and facts to get to what is possible and what is worth your time and money.

♣Read more: Common Infections of the Skin

So, these myths represent a snapshot of the typical erroneous information you get from cosmetics companies that end up hurting your skin and budget because they are a poor way to make decisions about the products you buy.

Below are 10 myths and the real facts;

#01. Myths

There are skin-care products that are better than Botox or better than dermal fillers.


Over the past few years cosmetics companies have positioned their skin-care products by claiming that they can compete with or even outdo medical corrective procedures such as Botox.

  • The ads in fashion magazines for these types of skin-care products often make claims about how dangerous Botox injections can be.
  • There is nothing scary about Botox (other than the sound of the botulism toxin material used).
  • In fact, the research about Botox’s effectiveness and safety is overwhelmingly positive for every disorder they treat with it, and there are many, from cerebral palsy in children to headaches and eye tics.
  • On the other hand, there is no research showing that any skin-care product can even remotely work in any manner like Botox, like dermal fillers such as Restylane or Artecol, or laser resurfacing.
  • Regardless of their ingredients or the claims these skin-care products make, it just isn’t possible.
  • Even Botox can’t work like Botox if you apply it topically rather than injecting it into facial muscles.
  • Nor can dermal fillers plump up wrinkles when applied topically rather than being injected.
  • When performed by professionals, Botox, and dermal injections make wrinkles in the treated area disappear almost immediately.
  • Believing that skin-care products can do the same is a complete waste of money.
  • There has never been a single skin-care product that has ever put a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist out of business.
  • It makes sense, then, even with the increasing number of products claiming to be better than Botox, that there were more Botox injections and dermal filler injections performed in 2007 than ever before millions and millions of them.

#02 Myth:

Dermal fillers such as Radiesse and Restylane are completely safe and are the best filler options available.


Absolutely not true!

  • First, more than 30 dermal filler materials are being used, and many of them are even more beneficial and longer lasting than Radiesse and Restylane.
  • Although dermal fillers do work beautifully to fill out depressed areas of the face, such as the nasal labial folds that extend from your nose to your mouth, deep lines between the eyebrows, and marionette lines along the sides of the mouth, they do pose risks.
  • The advertising for these two products, and the repeated mention of them in fashion magazines, have led consumers to believe that this works flawlessly.
  • There are problems (albeit infrequent) associated with these fillers and with all of the more than 30 fillers currently being used.
  • These problems and adverse events are primarily granulomas and nodules, which are lumps or hard spheres that may occur under the
  • Although these sometimes must be corrected with surgery, for the skin. temporary fillers the adverse events do fade with time while the semi-permanent fillers can stay in place for far longer periods.
  • The trade-off is duration versus risk, and the decision is yours.
  • Please don’t take this information to mean you shouldn’t consider using dermal fillers to successfully treat wrinkles (millions of successful treatments have been performed);
  • It’s just that you should be fully informed before you make any decision about any product or procedure you are considering.
  • One more thing: there are no skin-care products that can work in any way, shape, or form like a dermal filler.

♣Read more: Primary, Secondary, and Vascular Lesions (Marks) on the Skin

#03. Myth:

You should choose skin-care products based on your age.


Many products on the market claim to be designed for a specific age group, especially for “mature” women; mature usually refers to women over 50.

  • Before you buy into any arbitrary age division when choosing skin-care products, ask yourself why the over-50 group is always lumped together.
  • According to this logic, someone who is 40 or 45 shouldn’t be using the same products as someone who is 50 (only 5 or 10 years older), yet someone who is 80 should be using the same products as someone who is 50.
  • If you think that doesn’t make sense, you’re right.
  • To clear up the confusion, what you need to know is that skin has different needs that are based on skin type, not on age.
  • Not everyone in the same age group has the same skin type.
  • Your skin-care routine depends on how dry, sun-damaged, oily, sensitive, thin, blemished, or normal your skin is, all of which have nothing to do with age.
  • Then there are the issues of rosacea, psoriasis, allergies, and other skin disorders, which again have nothing to do with age.
  • What everyone needs to do is protect the outer barrier of their skin in the same way avoid unnecessary direct sun exposure (sun protection), don’t smoke, don’t irritate their skin, and use state-of-the-art skin-care products loaded with antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients.
  • Plenty of young women have dry skin, and plenty of older women have oily skin and breakouts (particularly women who are experiencing perimenopausal or menopausal hormone fluctuations).
  • Some skin disorders, diseases, and functionality problems are associated with older skin, but whether they appear or not depends on the woman and her particular skin.
  • They are not universally true of older skin because even these specific maladies can occur in younger people as well (such as ulcerated skin, wounds that don’t heal, itchy skin, and thinning skin).

In addition,

  • None of these problems have anything to do with “normal,” daily skin-care needs; whatever your age, a healthy skin-care routine for your skin type can do wonders.
  • Turning 50 does not mean a woman should assume that her skin is drying up and that she must therefore begin using “mature” skin-care products.
  • After all, those are almost always just products that are designed for dry skin and are in no way different from any of the other skin-care products for dry skin on the market.
  • Besides, for many women, it does not mean that the battle with blemishes is over.
  • Let me just reiterate this: There are no products designed for older women that address any special needs other than dry skin.

#04 Myth:

Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” are better for sensitive skin.


Hypoallergenic is little more than a nonsense word.

  • In the world of cosmetics, this term is nothing more than an advertising contrivance meant to imply that a product is unlikely or less likely to cause allergic reactions and therefore is better for sensitive or problem skin.
  • To “imply” is never the same as to state a “fact,” and in this situation, it is patently untrue that products labeled “hypoallergenic” are any better for sensitive skin.
  • There are absolutely no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic.
  • A company can label their product “hypoallergenic” because there is no regulation that says they can’t, no matter what proof they may point to and what proof can they provide given there is no standard to measure against.
  • Given that there are no regulations governing this supposed category that was made up by the cosmetics industry, there are plenty of products labeled “hypoallergenic” that contain problematic ingredients that could indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity.
  • The word “hypoallergenic” gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren’t putting on your skin.

#05 Myth:

“Dermatologist tested” on a cosmetics label is a good indication that the product is reliable and can live up to the claims.


You absolutely should not rely on the “dermatologist tested” claim any more than you should rely on the appearance of a doctor’s name on a product’s label to indicate you are getting a superior formulation.

  • There are many misleading and deceptive aspects to the term “dermatologist-tested” as it’s used on a label, but at the top of the list is that this claim does not tell you what dermatologist did the testing,
  • What he or she tested,
  • How he or she performed the testing,
  • Or what the results were.
  • That is, they don’t tell you what they found with their supposed testing; they just tell you that they tested
  • Without all of the testing information and results, there is no way to determine what it means.
  • More often than not it just means that a cosmetics company pays a doctor to say that it’s a good product (and there are lots of doctors on the payroll of lots of cosmetics companies).
  • Or they could have performed a test, but only on six people, or used testing methods that guaranteed a positive outcome, which happens more often than you’d think.
  • But that hardly provides results you can rely on.
  • Dermatologist-tested is nothing more than a marketing gimmick because people like to believe that doctors have the consumer’s best interest at
  • In the world of cosmetics, however, that is not always the case.

#06. Myth:

Cosmeceutical companies make better products than cosmetics companies.


The term “cosmeceutical” is, sad to say, a false advertising gimmick created by dermatologists to suggest that their “cosmeceutical” products are somehow better than other products in the cosmetics industry.

  • What pathetic chicanery and deceit.
  • At the very least what you should expect from the medical world is scientific fact, not these fictitious, sales-oriented machination.
  • When you hear the word “cosmeceutical,” you’re supposed to think a product is a blend of cosmetic ingredients and pharmaceutical-grade ingredients and, therefore, it must be better for your skin right?
  • The fact is, “cosmeceutical” is just a trumped-up word that has no legal or recognized meaning; it has nothing to do with what the product may contain versus the content of any “non-cosmeceutical” cosmetic.
  • A quick comparison of ingredient lists reveals that there is nothing more unique or pharmaceutical about cosmeceuticals than any other cosmetics in the cosmetics industry.
  • Plus, the FDA does not consider the term “cosmeceutical” to be a valid product class, so the term isn’t regulated.
  • So, you should view it merely as a marketing term, and nothing more.
  • Anyone can use that term to represent their brand’s
  • Organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology have muddied the issue even further by stating “Dermatologists know how to use cosmeceutical ingredients and can advise their patients about the best ways to achieve healthy-looking skin” (Source: AAD,
  • But even more to the point, dermatologists don’t agree on what makes one product a cosmeceutical and the other not.
  • Depending on who you talk to, products containing retinol (or other retinoids, which are part of the vitamin A molecule), hydroquinone, or certain botanicals such as green tea, soy, pomegranate, curcumin, or grape, are the gold standard.
  • But all these ingredients are available for use by all cosmetics companies and indeed they show up in all kinds of products and often not in the ones labeled cosmeceutical.

♣Read more: Skin Problems Associated with Menopause and Birth Control Pills.

#07. Myth:

Age spots are best treated with specialty skin lighteners, whiteners, or products claiming to get rid of brown skin discolorations.


First, the term “age spot” is a misnomer. Brown, freckle-like skin discolorations are not a result of age; they are the result of years of unprotected sun exposure.

  • You can demonstrate this for yourself:
  • Just compare the skin on the parts of your body that haven’t seen the sun (like your backside or the inner part of your arm) with the skin on the parts of your body that see the sun regularly.
  • The parts of your body that don’t see the sun will have minimal to no skin
  • And keep in mind that the bad rays of the sun also come through windows.
  • Second, several skin-care products that claim they can make skin whiter or lighter more often than not contain no ingredients that can have any significant, or even minor, impact on melanin production (melanin is the brown pigment in the skin).
  • In addition, even when the product does contain an ingredient that can have an effect, it usually contains such a small amount that it won’t help at all.
  • There is no comparison between the effects (or non-effects) of using one of these products and using a sunscreen plus a product containing
  • Because unprotected sun exposure is the primary trigger for most brown, freckle-like skin discolorations, the primary way to reduce, prevent, and possibly even eliminate skin discolorations is the diligent, daily application of a well-formulated sunscreen.
  • Be sure not to forget the back of your hands and your chest (and be sure to reapply every time you wash your hands because sunscreen does wash off ).
  • No other aspect of controlling or reducing brown skin discolorations is as important as being careful about not getting a tan, and never exposing your skin to the sun without using a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or more and more is usually better

Make sure that the sunscreen includes;

  • The UVA-protecting ingredients of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (which can also be on the label as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), Tinosorb, or Mexoryl SX (which can also be on the label as ecamsule), because they prevent the UVA damage that triggers brown spots.
  • Beyond the use of sunscreen, hydroquinone has the highest efficacy for lightening skin, with a long history of safe use behind it, more so than any other skin-lightening ingredient.
  • Other alternatives show promise for lightening skin, but they have been the subject of far less research and their effectiveness often pales in comparison to that of hydroquinone.
  • It is interesting to note that when applied to the skin some of these alternative ingredients break down into small amounts of hydroquinone, which explains why they have an effect.
  • Technically, these extracts contain hydroquinone-beta-D-glucoside.
  • Pure forms of arbutin, such as alpha-arbutin, beta-arbutin, and deoxy-arbutin, are considered more potent for skin lightening, but again the research is at best limited.
  • Other ingredients that have some amount of research on their potential skin-lightening abilities are licorice extract (specifically glabridin), azelaic acid, and stabilized vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate), aloesin, gentisic acid, flavonoids, hesperidin, niacinamide, and polyphenols.
  • However, no one knows how much is needed in a cosmetic lotion or cream to have an effect, and most of the research has been done in vitro, not on human skin.

#08. Myth:

Women outgrow acne; you’re not supposed to break out once you reach your 20s and beyond.


If only that were true, then a lot of skin-care struggles in life would have been very different.

  • Women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even 50s can have acne just like teenagers, and the treatment principles remain the same.
  • Not everyone who has acne as a teenager will grow out of it, and even if you had clear skin as a teenager, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get acne later in life, perhaps during menopause.
  • You can blame this often-maddening inconsistency on hormones
  • What is true is that men can outgrow acne, because after puberty men’s hormone levels level out, while women’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout their lifetime, which is why many women experience breakouts around their menstrual cycle.


#09. Myth:

Acne is caused by eating the wrong foods.


This is both true and false.

  • The traditional foods thought to cause acne, such as chocolate and greasy foods, do not affect acne, and there is no research indicating otherwise.
  • However, there is the potential that individual dietary allergic reactions can trigger acne, such as eating foods that contain iodine, like shellfish, although there is an ongoing controversy about that.
  • A bit more conclusive is new research showing that milk, especially skim milk, can increase the risk of acne.
  • The same may be true for a diet high in carbohydrates; a high glycemic load can increase breakouts, while a low glycemic load can reduce their occurrence.
  • Glycemic load is a ranking system for the amount of carbohydrates in a food portion; too many carbs in your diet could trigger breakouts.
  • Experimenting for a few months to see which of these food groups either hurt or help your skin is worth the effort.

#10. Myth:

If you clean your face better you can clear up your acne.


Over-cleaning your face can actually make matters worse.

  • Acne is caused primarily by hormonal fluctuations that affect the oil gland, creating an environment where acne-causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) can flourish.
  • Don’t confuse scrubbing or “deep cleaning” with helping acne, because it doesn’t.
  • Over-cleansing your face triggers inflammation that can actually make acne
  • What helps breakouts is using a gentle cleanser so you don’t damage your skin’s outer barrier or create inflammation, both of which hinder your skin’s ability to heal and fight bacteria, along with using gentle exfoliation.
  • An effective exfoliating product that contains salicylic acid or glycolic acid can make all the difference in reducing acne when used with a topical disinfectant containing benzoyl peroxide.
  • None of these products should contain any irritating ingredients whatsoever, particularly not alcohol, menthol, peppermint, or eucalyptus.


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