Between your magazines and well-intentioned friends or mother there are so many skin misconceptions floating around. There are a handful of some I hear regularly. In this post I am going to share the most common skin myths and share what I know to be true! You’ll enjoy this one!
IF YOU HAVE ACNE-PRONE SKIN, YOU SHOULD USE PRODUCTS DESIGNED FOR ACNE:
FALSE: A skin care line geared toward acne is designed to fight bacteria and dry out breakouts. For someone (like a teenager) whose skin is covered in severe acne, this is appropriate. But for most people who get some breakouts (but not on the majority of their face), acne products can make the situation worse. These products are extremely drying. Although they will help dry up and heal individual breakouts, they will over-dry other non-broken out areas, resulting in dead skin cell buildup. The cell buildup will then act as a barrier to trap oil under the skin, causing more clogged pores and breakouts. So your effort to clear up your skin will actually cause you to break out more! The three most important elements for controlling clogged pores and breakouts are: exfoliation (this will remove dry skin cells to unclog pores and also help fade those red, post-breakout marks), disinfecting (it is important to eliminate bacteria to help prevent the spread of breakout as well as to dry up infection), and yes, even with break-outs you need to add hydration.
THE SKIN SHOULD FEEL SQUEAKY CLEAN AFTER YOU WASH:
FALSE: Your floors should be squeaky clean, but your skin? Not so much! Your cleanser has to be strong enough to clean but not so harsh that it leaves your skin feeling stripped and dry. You want to remove sebum, grime, and pollution from your skin, but you don’t want to wash away your natural skin barrier.
ALL OILS ARE BAD FOR THE SKIN:
FALSE: I often hear, “I can only use oil-free products.” In reality, virtually all creams and lotions use a form of oil or emollient to make the product slip across the skin. But not all oils are comedogenic or pore-clogging. However, the one type of oil that I do not recommend for use in skin care formulas ever is Mineral Oil (think Mary Kay….), it clogs the pores and suffocates the skin.
AN SPF #30 OFFERS TWICE AS MUCH PROTECTION AS AN SPF #15:
FALSE: an SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. Whichever you choose, reapplying your SPF is more important than the number.
IT’S NORMAL TO BREAK OUT AFTER A FACIAL:
FALSE: Many people are skeptical about getting facials because they have had them and broken out afterwards. If you are getting a professional facial appropriate for your skin type, a facial should never encourage breakouts.
“I HAVE AN SPF IN MY FOUNDATION MAKEUP, SO I DON’T NEED TO WEAR SUNSCREEN”:
Makeup does not provide enough SPF coverage. You would need to use seven times the normally used amount of foundation and 14 times the normally used amount of powder to get the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on the label. That is a lot of make-up you would be sporting….
“I CAN’T WEAR SUNSCREENS. THEY CLOG MY PORES AND MAKE ME BREAK OUT”:
FALSE: The newer sunscreens on the market contain Z-cote (transparent Zinc Oxide) which is naturally antibacterial and can actually help with breakouts. They also feel extremely lightweight and grease-less on the skin.
OILY SKIN DOESN’T NEED MOISTURIZER:
FALSE: Oily skin doesn’t need a heavy and greasy oil-based moisturizer (you’ve already got enough oil). However, when moisturizer is not used, sebum goes into overproduction; it is making an effort to quickly prevent the loss of the remaining moisture in your skin. This is in addition to the usual overproduction of oil you commonly experience. A moisturizer can reduce the overproduction of oil and minimize an oily appearance.
YOU CAN SHRINK YOUR PORES:
FALSE: Many products claim to shrink your pores, but there really is no way to do this. Your pores fill up with oil, which stretches the openings of the pores. You can effectively minimize the appearance of your pores by having them cleaned out with regular facials, and also by increasing your exfoliation.
THE PURPOSE OF STEAMING YOUR SKIN IS TO OPEN YOUR PORES:
FALSE: When you steam your skin at home, or have it steamed in a professional facial, many people think that the pores open up and can be cleaned out more easily. Pores don’t open and close like doors, however. Steam is beneficial in two ways. The heat that the steam produces raises the skin temperature, thereby softening the hardened oil in the pore for easier extraction and deep pore cleansing. It is also excellent for hydrating the skin as long as you seal in the moisture with a cream afterwards without letting the moisture evaporate. And, by the way, a cold splash after washing your face doesn’t close your pores!
PARABENS IN SKIN CARE PRODUCTS ARE HARMFUL TO THE SKIN:
FALSE: The original study that took place in 2004, which started the controversy regarding Parabens, now holds no valid argument about them being cancer causing. The FDA, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have all come forward, publicly stating that there is no proof of a linkage between Parabens in skin care products and cancer. The scientific reason is that Parabens do not act as estrogen disputers. Once they are applied to the skin, they become a metabolite, which is non-estrogenic. It is my belief that any skin care company that continues to spread this misinformation, despite all of the recent conclusions resulting from further research, is using fear tactics to persuade the consumer to purchase their product. Beware.
ALCOHOLS ARE DRYING:
FALSE: See the word “alcohol” on a product’s ingredient list can make you assume that the product will be drying. But the truth is that alcohols have many different uses. Did you know that Vitamins A and E are alcohols? Alcohols can be humectants, solvents, emulsifiers, surfactants, and antioxidants. Examples of commonly used alcohols are Propylene Glycol (a humectant that binds moisture), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/ free radical fighting antioxidant), Cetyl Alcohol (product thickener), and Stearyl Alcohol (emollient). It’s the evaporative alcohol, like SD Alcohol 40 that is commonly used in toners, that is extremely drying to the skin. But the rest are beneficial!
“I DON’T NEED TO WEAR A SUNSCREEN. I DON’T GO OUT IN THE SUN ANYMORE”:
FALSE: Research indicates that 78% of all sun damage incurred in lifetime is from incidental exposure. It’s all those times when you don’t think that you’re getting sun because you aren’t out there long enough to actually get a tan, such as the drive in the car, the walk to the mailbox. Just because you don’t sunbathe doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to UV damage. Wear a sunscreen 365 days a year and your skin will thank you for years to come!
AN OIL-FREE PRODUCT WILL NOT CAUSE THE SKIN TO BREAK OUT:
FALSE: An oil-free product means that it does not contain any ingredients with the word “oil.” But as I mentioned there are some ingredients that can still be comedogenic despite the fact that they don’t have the word “oil” in their name. Read your labels!
PIGMENTATION COMES ONLY FROM SUN EXPOSURE:
FALSE: Research shows that pigmentation (brown spots) comes not only from accumulative sun exposure, but also from heat and hormones! Pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills, and the heat from hot summers (despite having adequate sun protection on the skin) can all increase melanin activity. Increasing your exfoliation and using topical antioxidants and sunscreen will help discourage melanin formation.
NATURAL INGREDIENTS ARE BETTER FOR THE SKIN:
FALSE: Every ingredient in the product is a chemical, including water, plant extracts, and “natural ingredients.’ There is no legal definition for this term when applied to cosmetics; therefore, the true meaning of “natural” is the matter of interpretation. Just because the ingredient is derived directly from natural sources (plant, animal, or mineral) doesn’t necessarily mean that it is safer or better for the skin. It is well accepted by dermatologists that natural ingredients are more likely than synthetic ones to cause allergic reactions on the skin.
“I HAVE BROKEN CAPILLARIES”:
FALSE: The term “broken” is very misleading. A broken capillary is caused when you get a bruise, where the capillaries actually break and get damaged. The tiny red lines that are commonly found on the corners of the nose or cheeks are considered permanently dilated capillaries. They are caused by repeated constricting and dilating; they no longer have the ability to contract, and will remain visibly enlarged. The common causes for dilated capillaries are genetics (think an Irish complexion), alcohol, hot showers, frequent nose blowing (allergies), spicy foods, and sun exposure.
I hope this has been helpful!