'Paula's Choice' founder Paula Begoun busts the most common skincare myths

Get ready to rethink all the skincare rules you think you know.
Get ready to rethink all the skincare rules you think you know. Photo credit: Getty.

There are several powerhouses in the skincare game who you just trust - TikTok sensation Hyram Yarbro, skincare author Caroline Hirons and founder of beauty brand Paulas Choice, Paula Begoun.

The latter is known worldwide for her mammoth range of serums, boosters and cleansers, many of which often sell out worldwide. Thanks to TikTok, recently her cult favourite '2 percent BHA Liquid Exfoliant' has gained whole new generation of fans.

Begoun has also written 21 books on beauty, including cult beauty bible Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, published in 1991. 

Begoun in 1995.
Begoun in 1995. Photo credit: Getty.

For over 40 years now, she's developed a reputation for exposing some of the myths and misleading information so rampant in the world of skincare - even when her opinions haven't been so popular. 

Begoun hosted a Zoom last week for Australian and Kiwi media, and I was lucky enough to attend. As we all listened with rapt attention, Bougoun busted some serious skincare myths, the most shocking of which I've listed below. 

Get ready to be shaken to your core - we all were. 

Myth-busting with Paula Begoun: 

Myth: Skin repairs itself best at night.  

Truth: Research shows just the opposite is true: Skin actually heals better during the day than it does at night because. During the day because you are moving around more, increasing blood flow and oxygen intake that stimulates healing far more than just lying still in bed does.  

Myth: A cool, tingling sensation means a product is working. 

Truth: A cooling or tingling sensation is your skin telling you it's being sensitized, irritated, and inflamed and none of that is helpful. Even if you don't see the irritation on the surface of skin, research has shown it is still happening below the surface destroying collagen, elastin, and other support components and increasing breakouts and other skin problems. 

Myth: Your skin adapts to products you use so they eventually stop working. 

Truth: Skin doesn't adapt to skincare products any more than your body adapts to a healthy diet. Spinach and grapes are healthy for you today, and they'll continue to be healthy for you months and years from now, even if you eat them every day. The same is true for your skin. As long as you are applying what's beneficial for skin (and avoiding things that harm skin such as unprotected sun exposure) there is no reason to change.  

Myth: Essential oils are great for treating many skin concerns. 

Truth: Some components of essential oils are indeed beneficial for the skin, but unfortunately essential oils are also comprised of volatile, fragrant compounds that cause skin inflammation. Non-fragrant plant oils such as jojoba, sunflower, argon, acacia, and most berry oils are a far better choice as they impart skin benefits without the negative inflammatory impact.   

Myth: Sheet masks help ingredients absorb. 

Truth: Simply put, sheet masks are a waste of your time [Editors note: I cried into my Tatcha sheet mask]. There is no research showing they have an advantage over using well-formulated skincare products and they don't help ingredients absorb. Skincare ingredients absorb primarily based on their molecular size and the product's delivery system. Plus, you don't need every ingredient to absorb at the same level. The best products are formulated in a way that some ingredients remain on the surface to protect skin from environmental damage, others absorb a bit more to restore hydration and skin's defence substances, and others penetrate even deeper where they can repair and renew living skin cells. 

Myth: Natural ingredients are better for skin.  

Truth: Research makes it abundantly clear that while there are lots of brilliant natural ingredients for the skin, there are also lots of natural ingredients that are irritating and damaging to the skin, and these show up in skincare products all the time. On the other hand, there are lots of lab-engineered ingredients that are brilliant for skin and work far better for skin than natural ones do. The best products contain a combination of both the best natural ingredient and best synthetic ingredients! 

Myth: Scrubbing skin is great for exfoliation and unclogging pores. 

Truth: Using an abrasive scrub, rough cleansing brush, or a loofah generates inflammation and causes micro-tears in the skin's surface, leading to a litany of problems including collagen breakdown, redness, dehydration, increased breakouts, and a weakened outer barrier so skin becomes more susceptible to environmental damage. A gentle AHA or BHA exfoliant is the better way to go for healthy, resilient skin. 

More information about Paula's Choice, including new NZ products, can be found on the website.