We Asked a Dermatologist to Weigh in on Four Common Anti-Aging Beauty Myths
Everyone wants to age gracefully—and we know how to do it. Follow along with Live Well for beauty tips, exercise routines, and lifestyle changes to make as the years go by. Together, they'll make aging simple, which gives you more time to embrace each moment.
There's a lot of information about anti-aging skincare out there—but not all of it is accurate. In fact, there are a slew of common misconceptions constantly swirling in the ether. To help you separate fact from fiction, we chatted with New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green to discover which beauty myths are just that: myth. Ahead, four fallacies that Dr. Green says to put to bed, once and for all.
Your skincare products need collagen and elastin.
When searching for anti-aging products, it's natural to look for cleansers, serums, and moisturizers formulated with the very proteins that are lost with age, but it's not the right move. According to Dr. Green, collagen and elastin-containing products will not magically reverse aging, despite the fact that many companies claim otherwise. "The protein molecules in collagen- and elastin-based skincare products are too large to penetrate the skin," she explains. "Instead, they trap water onto the surface of the skin, giving the temporary appearance of improved texture and elasticity." So, while the ingredients do create the appearance of a plumper, more radiant complexion, the effects are fleeting.
Thanks to the short-lived nature of these ingredients, Dr. Green says that you're much better off adding antioxidants to your regimen. "Antioxidants are substances which protect the inner and outer skin from free-radical damage and oxidative stress," she explains, noting that they're essential to skin health. "They protect the skin from sun damage, reduce inflammation, brighten the skin tone, and aid in cellular repair." Dr. Green recommends vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol most of all; all three have been proven to increase natural collagen production over time.
You don't need to adopt an anti-aging beauty routine until you hit 40.
Aging doesn't magically kick into gear once you hit a certain age. The process is a gradual one—and when it starts depends on several factors, from genetics and sun exposure (the biggest culprit when it comes to premature aging) to daily care. Taking a targeted approach earlier on could ward off the preliminary signs, notes Dr. Green, who suggests making strategic tweaks to your regimen in your 20s and 30s. Swap out a foaming cleanser for a nourishing balm that doesn't strip, she suggests; replace astringent toners (designed to soak up the oil you likely don't produce nearly as much of now) with hydrating, aloe-based iterations that replenish moisture loss. These steps become especially critical when you do reach your 40s, when skin "needs more TLC," notes Dr. Green.
You don't need sunscreen if your makeup already has SPF.
You know that sunscreen is an essential part of an anti-aging beauty routine—or any routine, for that matter. But according to Dr. Green, the SPF baked into your favorite anti-aging foundation doesn't provide enough protection. "In fact, unless your foundation has an SPF of 30 or higher and you apply it every two hours, you really shouldn't forgo sunscreen," she notes. This is an important myth to dispel, since unprotected sun exposure speeds up the aging process, leaving wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin in its wake. While avoiding the sun's rays during peak hours can reduce damage by as much as 60 percent, Dr. Green says that the real trick is to never skip sunscreen with at least SPF 30—and to be sure to look for options formulated with both UVA and UVB protection. "People who diligently use sunscreen every day can slow or even prevent—for a time—the development of wrinkles and sagging skin," she says, noting to apply sunscreen generously to all exposed body parts before going outdoors.
Did your pores get larger over time? You can shrink them.
"Your pore size is genetic," she says, which means that if they become larger as you age (a common occurrence), they were programmed by your DNA to do so. With this in mind, nothing you do to your skin can enlarge or shrink pores. Instead, turn your focus to improved texture and tone—addressing these will, in turn, improve pores' appearance over time.