A cosmetic chemist just debunked 6 common skincare myths.

If you're a good skincare nerd, you're probably aware of the fact that there are quite a few dirty fibs floating around the beauty world. 

It's hard to know exactly who's spreading 'em (marketing goblins), but you'll see them pop up on Instagram and TikTok, slapped on the front of your products, in conversations with friends - it's all stuff the beauty industry really wants you to believe. Because, money.

But that's why we have people like cosmetic chemist Dr Michelle Wong showing us exactly what makes sense in the skincare world - and what's total BS.

Watch: There are seven ways to improve your skin while you sleep. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

In case you haven't heard of Dr Wong, she's the author and personality behind Lab Muffin Beauty Science, a popular beauty blog and YouTube channel that's been kicking around for about 10 years.

Her job is to know what skincare actually does. And to help us understand the science behind it all - without all the confusing fluff.

Dr Wong is qualified in organic medicinal chemistry, with a minor in physiology and pharmacology. She is also a qualified cosmetic chemist, which means she knows how to formulate a wide range of cosmetic products, and ensure products are safe and compliant with regulations.


TL;DR she's knows an awful LOT about skincare. And there's really no one better to listen to.

That's why we're looking at the six of the biggest skincare myths Dr Wong has busted.

1. Hydrated skin absorbs ingredients better.

If you're anything like us, you've heard that it's good - nay - ESSENTIAL to spritz your face with a mist before a applying hyaluronic acid. Yes? 

It's been suggested that ingredients such as hyaluronic acid must always be applied to damp skin, so it doesn’t pull moisture from the skin and leave it drier.

But apparently, as Dr Wong pointed out in a recent Instagram clip, this... isn't a thing. 

Applying hyaluronic acid to damp skin isn't actually going to make it work any better - because it won't pull water from the skin in the first place.

''Here is a chemistry skincare secret. You don't really need to put hyaluronic acid on damp skin. And hyaluronic acid and other humectants do not 'suck water' out of skin," shared Dr Wong.


She goes on to explain that transepidermal water loss (the fancy name for when water evaporates out of your skin) and the rest of the product supply offers more than enough water for your HA to work well. It doesn't need to "suck "it out of your skin.

"A serum is at least 80 per cent water and a moisturiser is 70 per cent, so there's going to be enough water in there for the humectants to grab onto."

So, while misting your face and making it damp before applying your serums might make your skin feels more hydrated - it's not totally necessary. You do you!

2. Rubbing in products stretches your skin.

Do you rub or pat your products in? Well, according to Dr Wong, it doesn't matter. 


Yes, really!

In another pervy Instagram clip, she said: "A lot of people ask me if rubbing stretches your skin - and yeah, it does a little bit - but so does slapping, and it probably doesn't make a difference."

Mind. Blown.

All of those videos of celebrities lightly patting their products into their skin might look nice - but it's not entirely necessary. You can just rub 'em in as normal - it's the same thing.

"There are so many other things we do in our everyday life where we stretch our skin way more - and our skin is made to stretch.

"The most stretchy thing you probably do to your face on a regular basis is that if you're a side sleeper and you smoosh your face sideways into a pillow for about eight hours a day." 


"These are the things called sleep lines but they only show up when you're about 40 and that's over 10 ýears of smooshing your face into a pillow - and even then it only shows up because your collagen and elastin are degraded by things like growing old and UV exposure."

"So, unless you're rubbing your skin really, really hard for over eight hours a day, then it probably isn't worth worrying about. How you apply your products won't make a big difference to how well it works, based on decades of drug delivery research. The most important things are the chemical properties of the active ingredient and the formula."

"So, rub it, tap it, pat it, slap it - whatever way you prefer it's probably fine."


3. It doesn't matter what type of cleanser you use.

Your cleanser. Ever wondered just how important is it to your skincare routine? Like, it's all the serums that do the heavy lifting right?

"Cleansers are really underrated," said Dr Wong. "There's actually a ton of research on the importance of cleansers and how you can't really undo bad cleansing with the rest of your routine."



"That's because cleansers contain surfactants that can mess up your skin structure. Water can as well, so during cleansing your skin is much more vulnerable than usual."

Cleansing shouldn't make your skin feel tight and uncomfy - if your face feels like it's *actually* going to crumble off, you're probably using the wrong type of cleanser.

"That's why the pH of your cleanser is so much more important than the pH of any other skincare product. Your skin usually isn't super affected by pH except during cleansing. There are a bunch of studies that found that high pH cleansers can actually make acne worse." 

"As well as just stripping your skin's natural moisturisers, surfactants can bind to your skin's proteins and make your barrier more permeable for a while and it can stay like this even after you've rinsed and applied your other skincare."

So, you need a good cleanser with the correct pH - and no; it doesn't need to be expensive. A lot of cheaper cleansers are honestly pretty good," said Dr Wong.

"Sorting out your cleanser is probably one of the best things you can do for your skin."

4. You need to protect your skin from blue light.

There's been a buzz around blue light and premature ageing for years, and brands have retaliated with new skin care products promising to protect you from the harmful rays of your computer screens and mobile phones.

But is blue light from our electronic devices really damaging our skin? Are all these products worth the extra money and effort?


According to Dr Wong, no.

"You don't need to protect your skin from blue light from screens," she said. "Even with a big monitor, you'd need days or months to get the same blue light as 15 minutes of sun," she explains.

"If you do want to protect your skin from blue light, which honestly isn't a big issue for most people, use a sunscreen. 

While most blue light products contain antioxidants to help combat the effects of blue light, Dr Wong explains that antioxidants actually work after light is already absorbed into your skin. So... most of these products aren't actually going to 'protect' your skin from blue light, anyway.

"Plus, you probably have antioxidants in your skin care already," she said.

5. Moisturisers dry out your skin.

You might've seen some viral clips getting around on TikTok saying you shouldn't use a lotion or moisturiser, which seems very confusing. Apparently by using these products and adding water to your skin, you end up losing more water.

This, Dr Wong said, is... completely false.

In one particular viral video, a dermatologist said "water evaporates and takes other water with it" after a shower, or after you apply lotion.

Dr Wong said, "That's not how water works. You don't make your laundry dry faster by putting more water on it."


"I think he's confused because showering does dry out your skin, but not for the reason he gives. Water in the shower actually washes some of the moisturising ingredients naturally in your skin down the drain," she shared on Instagram.

"Your skin produces its own moisturiser. There are oily substances called lipids in between the cells and there are also humectants, called the natural moisturising factor."


So, yeah - she's fine thanks.

"Your skin doesn't stay wet for long if you're using a lotion or cream, and if you're using a well-formulated lotion or cream, the other ingredients in the formula will more than make up for it.

"There are plenty of studies showing that moisturisers can make your skin hydrated over time - that includes lotions."

6. Sunscreen is impacting our reefs.

This... this one's a biggie. Chances are you've seen a bunch of claims saying how bad sunscreen is for our coral reefs, with a lot of brands now releasing products claiming to be 'reef safe'. 

But according to Dr Wong, it's just another marketing ploy - and it's actually quite a dangerous one, because it could potentially turn people off protecting their skin in the sun.

As Dr Wong said, there's actually no evidence our reefs are being damaged by sunscreen. "It's climate change. The biggest pollutant hurting the reefs is carbon dioxide."

"There's no evidence that sunscreen has impacted a reef - but there are mountains of evidence for climate change killing reefs all over the world."


Wear the sunscreen.

Have you got some skincare myths you'd like debunked? Go on - drop them in the comment section below.

Feature Image: Instagram; @labmuffinbeautyscience; Mamamia

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