We're betting that even the filthiest and most jobless of our readers still have at least a dozen beauty products in their bathroom (don't tell us you don't have shampoo, or mouthwash, or a nail file). And these days there is a booming market in selling men on all of the waxes and anti-aging creams that used to only eat into women's budgets.
Now, we're not going to complain about vanity or the rise of metrosexuals or anything like that -- your grooming is your business. No, the problem is that a whole lot of these products and routines are doing the opposite of what they're supposed to. For example ...
Using Cleansers to Fight Acne Can Make It Worse
For some of us, the teen years consisted of waking up every morning looking like we'd spent the previous night wearing a bag full of mosquitoes over our head. Fortunately, there's a whole shelf of acne soaps in the supermarket dedicated to getting that trash off your face. There are bar soaps, foamy cleansers, anti-blemish pads that look like circular baby wipes, toners, moisturizers, mud masks, blotting papers, and exfoliating scrubs that contain actual grit to sandpaper the pimples away.
Introducing the new Black & Decker Pimple Eviscerator!
It's all pretty tempting when your face has exploded into little pus volcanoes; it's just too bad that it probably won't help.
The problem is that most of the acne process takes place underneath your skin, where soap can't even get to. In fact, aggressively washing your face with the strongest cleansers is more like likely to aggravate the situation by drying your skin out and roughhousing the part of your body that needs the least touching right now. Most soaps contain a chemical called sodium lauryl sulphate (or it's slightly less evil twin, sodium laureth sulphate). It's an agent that is super good at being foamy and super cheap to put into cleaning products. It also strips away the grease from your skin, which sounds great, but some of that grease isn't so much "grease" as it is "necessary skin moisture." So foamy acne soaps containing SLS end up irritating skin and provoking pizza-face flare-ups.
"Yes, yes, just try and wash me away! With every scrub, I only become more powerful!"
So What Should You Do Instead?