There's so much misinformation out there regarding skin care, not to mention plenty of old-wives' tales (some of which are actually right) and lots of well-intentioned bad advice. That's because skin care is tricky, and depends on your skin type. However, there are some tried and true rules — most of which violate at least a rule or two you may have heard elsewhere — that really do work for all skin types.
How have I learned the information below? From speaking with skin experts, makeup artists (natural and conventional) and testing out literally thousands of products over the last 10 years that I've been reviewing natural beauty products.
1. You don't need to wash your face with hot water to get it clean.
In fact, hot water can cause redness and irritation in people with sensitive skin, and for those with normal skin, it can still dry out delicate facial skin, leaving it more susceptible to all kinds of issues, from red, flaky dermis to acne. Wash your face with mildly warm to air-temperature water. It will get the job done without irritating your skin. The same goes for the rest of your body; it may feel good to burn it up in the shower, but especially as cool weather draws closer, this is guaranteed to irritate your skin.
2. Oil is good for your skin, not bad.
Many vegetable oils are old-school ways of moisturizing the skin that we have long ignored. (I can't be the only one who has heard stories of her great-grandmother lathering her hands up with olive oil and then wearing cotton gloves to bed.) You can wash your face with coconut oil or slather it on after you've showered; same with sesame oil and olive oil (go with the smell you prefer). After using an oil a couple of times, you will notice that your skin — whether oily or dry — evens out and is either less oily or more naturally moisturized. Most new formulations of high-end beauty products contain skin-protecting oils because they work (use argan or sea buckthorn oils on your face if you want to start with a lighter lipid first).
3. You don't need to scrub to exfoliate.
Scrubbing with most drug-store brand cleansing scrubs is much too harsh for most skin types (more frequent and harder face-washing can actually exacerbate acne, so lighten up). Instead of using toxin- and chemical-packed scrubs in a tube, exfoliate naturally using fruit. As long as you are not allergic (obviously), rubbing the inside skin of a fresh mango, mashed strawberries, or fresh pineapple chunks directly on your face, leaving the natural, fruit acid AHAs on there for a few minutes, then rinsing off, is the best exfoliator you can get. This method may be a little too much for extra-sensitive skin, but works well for other skin types.
4. What matters most for healthy skin is what you eat.
A healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of water, and maybe a skin-benefiting tea, minimal alcohol and plenty of sweat-drenching exercise will make skin glow more than any expensive cleanser or moisturizer. You'll feel great too.
5. Chocolate doesn't cause acne, but bread and pasta might.
There have never been any conclusive studies linking chocolate-eating to acne, though there have been some that connect high-glycemic foods to breakouts.