Breakouts, SPF and active ingredients: Popular skincare myths busted by experts

With a cornucopia of information and products out there, misinformation around skincare and how to use it can quickly be amplified. We look at some common misconceptions and counter them with expert advice from skincare creators and skin specialists.

MYTH Breakouts after initial use mean that a product is not right for you.

TRUTH “Certain ingredients that increase cellular production and exfoliate the skin surface such as retinoids, AHAs and BHAs can cause the skin to flare up when initially introduced into a regime. What is happening is that your skin is turning over at a faster rate and any existing underlying inflammation is being pushed out. Keep in mind that purging heals quicker than a breakout and usually occurs in areas where you would normally experience breakouts. If you are experiencing irritation in different areas it may not be purging; it may simply be irritation. “When introducing these new ingredients into your regime it’s best to ease your product in slowly. Applying your products once or twice a week is a good start.”  – Nina Gajic, Founder, Skin Virtue

MYTH Sunscreen in makeup is enough protection.

TRUTH “Using a sunscreen in its optimum state when not within a makeup is best protection. Double protection by using both would be ideal. The key is to reapply the SPF every 2-3 hours.” – Kole Scheib, Technical Skin & Retail Trainer, Lovely by skin institute

MYTH The higher the percentage of active ingredients in a product, the better.

TRUTH “Higher is not always better – a small percentage in clinically proven formulas can have incredible effects on the skin. For instance, retinaldehyde is one of the most powerful actives in skincare, but it is effective at tiny concentrations such as 0.05 per cent. Also be aware that the percentage is not always the most important aspect, but pH and delivery system, alongside stability, are all factors to consider when finding the right product for your skin’s needs.” – Daniel Isaacs, Director of Research at Medik8

MYTH Oily skin types don’t need moisturiser.

TRUTH “Whether a skin is oily or not, all skin needs moisture. “We still see oily skin with dehydration – and what people are not aware of is that the lack of moisture could be contributing to the production of more oil as the skin is overcompensating. A moisturiser with the correct formulation can support oiler skin.” – Vanessa Feehan-Meldrum, National Technical Trainer, Sothys NZ

MYTH You can mix products together before using them.

TRUTH “The formulation of a product is a complete formula and is not intended to be mixed with another product. It is better to apply one after the other once the product has absorbed; ensuring that you start applying the product with higher penetration and finish with those products with a more superficial action. We do not recommend mixing a photoprotector with a moisturiser for instance, because by mixing them you will apply less sunscreen and therefore reduce the protective efficacy. Always follow the recommendation of a skin expert that will prescribe  which products can be combined and are suitable for your skin type and concerns.” – Arantza Azparren, International Trainer, Mesoestetic Pharma Group

MYTH Prescription retinol is better than over-the-counter skincare with retinol.

TRUTH “We cannot say one is better than the other, as they are different. Prescription retinol is stronger than over-the-counter skincare with retinol, which are more general. However, prescription retinol can also be more of an irritant but more effective. With over-the-counter retinol it would take a longer time to see results. “Our recommendation is to visit
an aesthetic professional that will prescribe retinol after performing a complete diagnosis of the skin.” – Arantza Azparren, International Trainer, Mesoestetic Pharma Group

MYTH Sugar or a bad diet doesn’t influence breakouts.

TRUTH “A diet high in sugar and processed foods can influence two major causes of acne and breakouts: inflammation and hormones. Blood sugar levels increase and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. However, by reducing sugar, you may be able to decrease the amount of insulin and as a result, reduce the oil and acne production your body makes.” – Kole Scheib, Technical Skin and Retail Trainer, Lovely by skin institute

MYTH Fragrances in skincare products aren’t good for skin.

TRUTH “Fragrances have a bad reputation, which is why some products are marketed as ‘fragrance free’. Fragrances are considered the most common irritant in cosmetic products and can be allergenic regardless of whether they are naturally or synthetically derived. They are mixtures of various scent substances and anyone can react to the molecules composing the fragrance.

“In saying that, there are many scent substances that are not deemed fragrances and do not need to be labeled as fragrances, therefore a lot of seemingly fragrance-free skincare products actually have a fragrance added to mask the smell of the ingredients that don’t smell very good. “If you are not allergic to perfume and use it regularly, or if you use foundation (which in most cases contain fragrances), then you are probably not allergic to fragrance and you don’t need to worry about them. If however you have sensitive skin, the best way to be safe when choosing skincare is to look for products formulated with allergen-free fragrances, as these formulations are least likely to trigger reactions. “Allergen-free fragrances are fragrances that don’t contain any of the substances recognised as allergens by the current regulations.” – Nina Gajic, Founder, Skin Virtue

MYTH Acids like glycolic and lactic acid thin the skin.

TRUTH “On the contrary, AHAs such as glycolic and lactic acid help skin get plumper and thicker as they stimulate skin renewal and hyaluronan deposition in skin. During a clinical trial quoted in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 12 per cent lactic acid treatment has shown an increase of epidermal thickness from 5.6 to 12 per cent after 4-16 weeks of treatment.” – Regis Haberkorn, President and Co-Founder, PRIORI Skincare

MYTH You can shrink open pores.

TRUTH “Unfortunately, pores are not muscles, therefore they do not open and close. Keeping pores clean will always help to keep your pores from distending. Maintaining a good collagen and elastin structure will produce stronger pore walls. Preventing sun damage and free radicals such as smoking will assist in slowing down enlargement of pores that some clients will develop.” – Vanessa Feehan-Meldrum, National Technical Trainer, Sothys NZ

MYTH Drinking water keeps your skin hydrated.

TRUTH “Drinking water and staying hydrated are important for the overall health of the body and therefore important to help proper blood flow and nutrient flow to our skin. At the cellular level, drinking water and eating water-rich foods help to hydrate cells and filter toxins through the kidneys and out of the body, which again provide benefits to the skin. However, drinking water does not go directly into hydrating the skin. There is no data supporting the notion that drinking extra glasses of water will create a more dewy, hydrated appearance. “While research has shown severe dehydration can negatively impact the skin, it is negatively impacting the entire body and your overall health will suffer. So definitely keep your body hydrated to help your skin! But to keep skin hydrated, it takes more than just drinking extra water to boost your complexion.” – Dr Neal Kitchen, Chief Geneticist from HydroPeptide

MYTH Toners are outdated and a waste of time.

TRUTH “Many people’s skins are lacking in a healthy acid mantle and barrier function. Toners today are much more sophisticated and packed with treatment ingredients that contribute to your skin’s health. A simple way to remember it is that a wet sponge will absorb more product than a dry sponge; a well-hydrated skin will absorb more than a dry skin.” – Vanessa Feehan-Meldrum, National Technical Trainer, Sothys NZ

Your guide to getting great Botox

Remember back at school when you would stew on a question but you were too shy to put your hand up in case everyone laughed? It can be like that when it comes to skin and appearance treatments.

These days it seems like everyone has had something ‘done’ and while most people are happy to admit it, it can feel like they’re in a club you’ve not yet joined, and there’s not a lot of forthcoming chat on the ins and outs.

The team at Caci however, are of the belief that ‘no question is a silly one’ and visiting one of their 64 clinics around New Zealand is always an opportunity to ask away. We asked Caci’s Training Academy team; Caz Hodnett, Jo Fletcher-Morris and Bridgette Lawrence some of the most common queries.


Caz: Most of our customers are everyday Kiwis. Often they have been thinking about having treatment for quite a long time. As women, we often put our family’s needs before our own. A lot of customers are not sure what can be done but want how they feel to match how they look, saying ‘I look tired’ or ‘I look older than I feel’.


Jo: There isn’t a specific time that is best to start, but if you are starting to see the beginnings of a frown line (perhaps like ones you see on older members of your family), come in! The sooner the better but it’s also never too late to start. Often older customers feel they might have ‘missed the boat’, but we have a range of treatments and skincare to help all kinds of concerns across all ages and stages. We want everyone to feel confident in their skin.


Jo: No, they are quite different. Dermal filler is what it sounds like, it is an injectable that fills to address volume loss or deep folds and to enhance volume in certain areas such as the cheeks or lips. Botox relaxes the muscles it is injected into to restrict the movement that causes lines and wrinkles.


Jo: It depends on how advanced and deep a wrinkle is. For some it may take a larger dose and more than one treatment to notice a more visible difference.


Caz: This is a common concern, customers see social media posts of photos of celebrities who look ‘done’, when all they want is to look ‘fresh’. We focus on enhancing customers’ natural features to achieve that refreshed look. Our aim is that you love the results and your friends and family simply notice you looking and feeling great.


Bridgette: The training, experience and expertise of the injector can greatly impact the results. All of our nurses train at our own national training academy – including ongoing assessments – to ensure they are equipped with the skills necessary to obtain a superior and natural result. Our team are also well trained to understand and identify any medical conditions or medications which may mean we would not carry out treatment as everyone is unique. Health and safety come first.


Bridgette: While there is a strong correlation between the dosage and longevity of results, the treatment provider will always consider your anatomical needs, your budget and desired outcome before treating. This ensures a tailored, bespoke treatment for the individual needs of each individual customer.


Jo: There will be a small needle prick, but most customers don’t describe this as painful at all.

Bridgette: An aversion to needles is actually a natural human response. Do make your treatment provider aware of this as they can implement ways of making your experience the most comfortable possible.


Caz: Regular Botox treatments every 3-4 months will maintain the effectiveness of the treatment, meaning you keep the muscle that are causing wrinkles relaxed, allowing your body to infill those lines with collagen, softening the appearance of wrinkles. Consistency means you can enjoy your refreshed look on an ongoing basis and regular treatments can help your results to last longer. Like any muscle in your body when it isn’t being used, it reduces in size and strength. At Caci, our membership and payment plan make this easy – we spread the payments out over time, and you come in for regular treatments.

Some people might treat themselves to a one-off treatment before a big event. It’s important to allow enough time before the event to let the results settle in. For Botox, results can be seen from 3 days to a more full effect at 2 weeks post treatment.


To learn more about Botox, book an appointment with a skin expert at


Botox® is a Prescription Medicine containing 50,100 or 200 units of clostridium botulinum Type A toxin complex for injection. It is used for the treatment of frown lines, crows feet and horizontal forehead lines. It should be administered only by trained medical professionals. Cautions: people with defective neuro-muscular transmission disorders, presence of infection at site of injection, glaucoma , pregnancy and lactation. Possible side effects include headaches, pain, burning or redness at injection site, local muscle weakness including drooping eyelids, lack of feeling & nausea . Talk to your specialist about the benefits/risks of this procedure or if you have concerns or side effects. Note: Botox® treatment lasts about four months and after this time further courses of treatment may be necessary. Speak to your specialist about your own situation. A charge applies. You will need to pay for treatment. For more information see the Botox consumer medicine information available at: Caci, PO Box 41395, St Lukes, Auckland 1345, New Zealand.



Taps: BG1605