Citizen Reporter
11 minute read
9 Nov 2021
11:03 am

Toothpaste for pimples? Coconut oil as a moisturiser? 49 skincare myths revealed

Citizen Reporter

Liberty, a fashion brand in the UK, has picked out skincare myths like toothpaste for pimples and debunked all of them. Here are the facts.

Picture: iStock

Have you ever used toothpaste for pimples? What about apply sunscreen on your lips? Worried that Korean beauty (K-Beauty) products will work on East Asian skin?

There are so many “expert” opinions when it comes to skincare and you’d be forgiven for not knowing what to believe anymore.

Skincare research by international fashion house Liberty, based in London, recently released its research around skincare. It picked out 49 common skincare myths using their own skincare experts in the UK explaining, once and for all, whether they were true or false.

The results are astounding. Some of these myths include things about exfoliating, diet and sun exposure. Here are all 49 skincare myths revealed.

Exfoliation and cleansing

You don’t need to exfoliate. Myth

Exfoliating doesn’t have to be a traditional physical format. Try a liquid exfoliator such as an AHA or BHA toner.

The harder you scrub or exfoliate, the better. Myth

Exfoliation should be gentle with a physical exfoliant; overdoing it may damage your skin barrier.

You need to scrub your face with hot water. Myth

No, lukewarm is always best and never scrub. Your face is not a fence panel you’re repainting in summer!

The more you wash your face, the better. Myth

No, too often can disturb the microbiome of your skin. Twice a day is best: once in the morning to refresh or after your AM workout and then at night as soon as you’re home to remove the free radicals and grime from your day out and about.

Showers should be short, lukewarm and once a day. Myth

Shower as much as you want – just be sure to use a great body cream to ensure your body is hydrated!

Double cleansing is necessary. Mostly true

Double cleansing is best if you wear make-up and SPF at the end of the day to ensure all your debris and product is removed. It will then allow your clean skin to focus on the active ingredients within your night-time regime.

Breakouts and toothpaste for pimples

You will outgrow breakout acne. Myth

Breakout acne can pop up due to hormonal imbalances, genetics or diet. It can also be caused by unclogged pores.

Eating greasy food causes breakouts. Partially true

While there’s no evidence to suggest that eating greasy food causes breakouts, studies have found that dairy products and high glycemic foods such as chips, white rice, and baked goods can trigger it – so diet is certainly a factor.

Breakouts are only a problem during puberty. Myth

This affects many of us only in our teenage years; however, people can experience it at any time in their lives. Some lucky folks never experience it at all.

You are breaking out because you don’t wash your face. Partially myth

People who suffer from breakout acne are genetically predisposed to have oilier skin. This causes pores to become blocked more easily, which results in spots. While washing your face twice a day can certainly help, it’s not the sole cause. Regardless, it’s always best to cleanse the skin to prevent inflammation.

Rubbing alcohol will ‘kill’ your breakout acne. Myth

Infrequent spots can be tamed and resolved with specific products; however, persistent breakout acne is a condition that requires a dermatologist’s attention.

Toothpaste can heal your breakout acne. Myth

No, use a spot solution designed for targeted application for best results.

Breakout acne is genetic. Mostly true

While other factors can influence whether or not we get spots, people with breakout acne are usually genetically predisposed to having oilier skin, and therefore more likely to get spots.

Eating chocolate will make you break out. True

Foods that raise your blood sugar can increase the likelihood of you getting spots, but this won’t occur for everybody. So this one is true, but not for everyone!

Dental floss for blackhead removal is safe. Myth

Instead, break them down with an exfoliation mask, and seek treatment for more persistent ones.

Wrinkles and dark spots

You shouldn’t use eye cream unless you have wrinkles. Myth

Start using an eye cream in your 20s. Prevention is easier than finding a solution!

Face exercises will reduce wrinkles. True

Lymphatic drainage massage or electro-microcurrent devices are all the rage right now. Anecdotal evidence suggests they can help to ensure your skin is working well, though there’s little clinical research available yet.

You can shrink your pores. Mostly myth

The size of your pores is determined by your genetics, so you can’t permanently shrink them. However, with an effective daily cleansing routine you can minimise their appearance.

You can’t get rid of dark spots. Myth

You definitely can! A dermatologist can lighten or even remove dark spots with creams or cosmetic procedures.

Lack of sleep leads to under-eye circles. True

Sleep deprivation can cause red, puffy eyes, dark circles beneath your eyes, and more wrinkles. It can even cause the corners of your mouth to droop.


People with oily skin don’t need to moisturise. Myth

Choose something lightweight and packed with humectants to lock in the actives from your serums.

Coconut oil is a good facial moisturiser. Myth

Coconut oil is too rich to be very effective as a facial moisturiser; it clogs pores more than other oils such as grapeseed oil and almond oil.


You’ll age faster if you wear makeup regularly. Myth

Ensure you have a solid skincare regime to prepare the skin for your make-up application. Hydrated skin is always the best canvas for an artist.

Sleeping in your makeup now and then is okay. Myth

Never! This can lead to localised breakouts.

Sunscreen, SPF and sun

You only need sunscreen while outdoors. Myth

If it’s bright enough to read a book by the window you should be wearing sun cream –  even on an overcast day.

People with dark skin don’t need sunscreen. Myth

This can lead to uneven pigment and premature ageing, as well as put you at higher risk for sun-related skin cancer. Sunscreen is always a good idea.

You don’t need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy. Myth

UVA & UVB rays penetrate cloud cover. If you can see your shadow on the ground, you can still burn if you stay out long enough while unprotected!

You don’t need to apply SPF to your lips. Myth

Your lips are affected by sunlight just like the rest of your body. Treat them like your skin, and don’t forget a lip balm with SPF if you’re headed to the ski slopes.

You don’t need to apply an SPF if you have one in your foundation. True

This is generally true, and you will get some protection from foundations that include SPF. Separate SPF still highly recommended, however.

Sunscreen prevents ageing. True

Many studies over the years have found that people who regularly use sunscreen show fewer signs of ageing in their skin, as sunscreen reduces the damage done by the sun’s rays.

Tanning beds are safer than natural sunlight. Myth

Sunbeds, tanning booths and sunlamps all produce the same harmful radiation as the sun, which can age your skin ahead of its time and increase your risk for skin cancer.

You can only get Vitamin D from the sun. Myth

If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to get a lot of sun, you can supplement your vitamin D intake with capsules, or by changing your diet to include foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and orange juice.

Using skincare products

Your skin will get used to the products you use, and then they’ll stop working. Myth

Nope, your skin won’t build up an immunity to the products you use. There’s no process in your body that could cause this to happen!

The order in which you use your skincare products doesn’t matter. Myth

It matters very much, in fact. Your skin wants to keep things out – that’s its job, after all – and only a small percentage of products can penetrate your skin to do their thing. Applying skincare products in the right order therefore ensures the maximum amount of product can be absorbed.

You need to use a lot of skincare products to get good skin. Myth

Quality over quantity. Skincare is personal, and what works best for you may not work for somebody else. You may well find that a simple combination of products does the trick perfectly well.

If you feel a tingling or burning sensation, it means the product is working. Mostly myth

This depends on the product. Mostly no; however, if it’s an exfoliator then a slight burning or tingling is fine. If it’s too uncomfortable, of course, you should discontinue use.

Anything marked ‘natural’ or ‘chemical free’ must be better for you than other types of skincare products. Myth

You see a lot of products on shelves marked as ‘natural’ or ‘chemical free’. However, this doesn’t mean they’re of a higher quality, as there is no agreed-upon legal definition of what constitutes ‘natural’.

You can find skincare products that work as well as cosmetic procedures. Myth

As much as we’d love to say otherwise, the truth is that cosmetic procedures can do things for your skin that products cannot. You should still be using them, however!

Hypoallergenic skincare products are better. Mostly myth

The label ‘hypoallergenic’ means a product is less likely to cause allergic reactions, and may be gentler on the skin. However, as with terms like ‘natural’, there is no lawful definition of what constitutes a hypoallergenic product. They’re a mixed bag.

Serums and oils are a waste of money. Myth

Serums work in a similar manner to creams and lotions; however, they have many elements removed to make them lighter on the skin. Ingredients like petroleum and mineral oil – that don’t let the skin breathe as easily – are left out.

‘Dermatologist tested’ makes a product trustworthy. Mostly myth

You need to have had your product tested by a dermatologist if you want to stamp ‘dermatologist tested’ on a skincare product, but much like ‘hypoallergenic’, ‘dermatologist’ is a term not defined by law. You could pay a self-appointed dermatologist to daub a bit of product on their skin, and you’d be able to use the phrase on your product. Take the label with a pinch of salt.

K-Beauty only works for East Asian customers. Myth

Though skin tones can vary, skin fundamentally works the same way for everybody; there’s no reason K-Beauty should only work for Asian complexions!

You need to start wearing eye cream by a certain age. Myth

It’s never too early to begin wearing eye cream, and certainly never too late. At any age, using eye cream can help slow signs of ageing, lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and help ward off dark circles.

General skincare

Drinking extra water will make your skin look better. True

Water helps your skin to maintain its elasticity, which prevents wrinkles from forming. Without enough water, your skin may begin to feel rough to the touch.

If you don’t get eczema as a kid, you won’t get it as an adult.  Myth

Even if they never experienced it as a child, adults can develop signs of eczema. Atopic eczema (AD) is considered by many to be a childhood disease. However, even this type of eczema can be found in adults (though usually with milder symptoms).

Breast milk is a skincare wonder. Myth

There’s a lot of debate currently as to the effects of breast milk on infant acne, though we’d stop short of suggesting it for use on adult skin.

Microneedling at home is the same as microneedling in a medical spa. Myth

Collagen induction therapy, also known as microneedling, can be performed DIY style or professionally. We’d always recommend you go to a medical spa; the results are far better, and the process is much safer.

Pinching your face can reshape it. Myth

No, pinching various parts of your face won’t reshape them! What it may well do, however, is damage your skin and cause the underlying tissue to swell up. This may give the impression of your face shape changing, but it’s unhealthy and impermanent.

There’s one right way to get glowing skin. Mostly True

Sort of. You can summarise it as: live a healthy lifestyle. You can then break this down into things like: eat a healthy and varied diet, get eight hours of sleep a night, exercise regularly, exfoliate, wear sunscreen, use face masks, double cleanse, don’t smoke, and don’t drink to excess. And of course – drink plenty of water!

If you you would like to read more about toothpaste for pimples and coconut oil for moisturiser read the full research here.