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Three skincare myths, debunked

Three skincare myths, debunked

About this post

Skincare advice flooding your feed? Us too. To get to the bottom of it all, we’ve called for help from facialist expert Latticia Morapedi.

Posted by

Latticia, Urban skin pro


  • Skincare
  • Wellbeing

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We asked Urban skin pro Latticia to debunk some of the most common skincare myths circulating social media, so you can save your skin from the slip-ups.

From how often you should use retinol and the best way to manage acne, to whether you can shrink your pores, here are her top tips.

Skincare myth 1: Pores can open and close

The facts: Pores don’t have muscles, so they can’t physically open or close

There are plenty of videos that suggest steaming your skin can open your pores, but that simply isn’t true. Although some people’s pores might look bigger or smaller than yours, it's due to things like cleanliness, inflammation, and the effectiveness of skincare products you’re using.

How to minimise pores – is it possible?

You can’t shrink the size of your pores, but you can minimise their appearance by keeping them clean. If you want to reduce how big your pores look, regular exfoliation and proper cleansing are key.

Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, giving your skin a smoother, more refined appearance. 

Latticia recommends using a gentle exfoliator two to three times a week to keep your pores clean without irritating your skin. Try to use products with salicylic acid as this helps target deeper into the pores and keep them clear.

Other ways to minimise pores

Use clay masks to absorb oil

Clay masks, especially ones made with kaolin or bentonite, can help to absorb excess oil and draw out impurities from your pores making them appear smaller.

Use niacinamide to boost your skin barrier

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. It does this by improving skin elasticity and boosting the skin barrier.

Avoid these pore-clogging ingredients

Stay away from skincare products with heavy, pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oil or lanolin.

Read more about whether pores can open or close and find out ways to minimise the look of them.

Skincare myth 2: You need to use retinol every night

The facts: Overusing retinol will irritate your skin

Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient for anti-aging and acne, but overusing it can cause more harm than good. This is especially true for retinol newbies, so it’s key to introduce this ingredient gradually to your skincare routine.

How often should you use retinol?

This depends on how new you are to the product. If you’ve never used retinol before, you need to start off slowly so your skin can build its tolerance.

Start by using retinol once a week

This will help you work out how well your skin tolerates retinol. If you don’t have any irritation, you can gradually increase this to twice a week as your skin builds tolerance.

Continue to keep an eye on how your skin reacts. If you notice itching, burning, or redness, it’s a sign you might be using it too often. Use a hydrating moisturiser to help buffer the retinol and reduce potential irritation.

Wondering how to use retinol? Follow these steps

Apply retinol on dry skin

Applying retinol on damp skin can make it easier for your skin to absorb, leading to more irritation. To minimise irritation as much as possible, wait 20 - 30 minutes after cleansing your face before applying.

Use suncream every day

Retinol makes your skin a lot more sensitive to the sun, so it’s super important to use SPF50 during the day to protect your skin – yes, even if it’s cloudy!

Combine it with soothing ingredients

Since retinol can be quite drying, add other products alongside it to help hydrate your skin. Look for products that include soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or niacinamide to counteract potential dryness or irritation.

Avoid applying retinol alongside exfoliating ingredients

Exfoliating chemicals like salicylic acid and glycolic acid increase your skin’s sensitivity, so don’t use these products if you’re using a retinol.

Be patient and don’t overdo it 

It can take several weeks to notice results from retinol. Be consistent but patient, and avoid the temptation to use more product than recommended.

For a more detailed guide about retinol, read our in depth blog – how often should you use retinol. We also go over the best strength retinol for your skin type, what other ingredients you should avoid using alongside it and much more.

Skincare myth 3: Drying out your skin is the best way to manage acne

The facts: Over-drying your skin can make acne worse

If you have acne, you might think moisturising your face will make your acne worse. But it’s actually the opposite that’s true – over-drying the skin will cause irritation and increase oil production (causing more spots). 

Instead opt for gentle, hydrating formulas that maintain your skin's balance while effectively targeting acne.

Latticia says: “One of the most common issues I encounter as a facialist was clients over-drying their skin in an attempt to control acne, which often led to more severe skin problems. Educating clients on the importance of maintaining hydration while treating acne makes a significant difference in their skin health.”

Hydration is key

Drying out the skin can strip it of its natural oils, leading to a compromised skin barrier. When the skin barrier is damaged, it can cause increased sensitivity and inflammation, making acne worse.

Manage acne with the right skincare regime and be picky with products

Use non-comedogenic skincare products

Clogged pores are known for causing breakouts, which is why it’s important to hunt for non-comedogenic products.

If a moisturiser or suncream is labelled as non-comedogenic, that means it doesn’t include ingredients that will clog your pores, making it safe for acne-prone skin. 

It should say on the packaging if a product is non-comedogenic, but if it doesn’t you can do a quick search online to check.

Use gentle cleansers

Avoid harsh cleansers that strip the skin of its natural oils, like foaming cleansers. Opt for gentle, sulphate-free cleansers instead to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance.

Avoid over-washing

Washing your face too often can strip the skin of its natural oils which leads to more oil production, causing breakouts. Stick to cleansing twice a day, morning and night. But some people are happy washing their just skin once a day, so do what suits you best.

Use a hydrating mask once a week 

To boost hydration, try adding a hydrating mask into your routine once a week. Look for masks with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and cucumber extract.

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