The Truth About Skin Care: Busting Through Skin Care Myths
Skin care advice is everywhere. It’s hard to escape the endless flow of “do this” and “don’t do that” skin care guidance we find online, in magazines, from advertisements or from well-meaning friends. With sometimes contradicting information, we often find ourselves in the dark on what is truly fact versus what is just plain fiction. With the help of Dr. Ahmed Abdullah , Lexli’s founder and a board-certified plastic surgeon, allow us to shed some light on common skin care myths that just might surprise you:
Skin Care Myth: You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day
This is definitely a skin care myth! There’s never a “sunless” day for your skin. While you may not see the effects of the sun’s UV rays through a visible tan or burn, don’t be mistaken by thinking nothing is happening. The sun causes “photoaging” the technical term for premature skin aging due to UV exposure, and it doesn’t take much exposure to put the process into motion. Just an hour of unprotected skin exposure here and there can add up over the years, resulting in wrinkles, age spots, sagging and thickening of skin, and more. Preserve your skin by wearing protective clothing, staying out of the sun from 10 am to 3 pm (the sun’s most powerful hours) and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day.
Skin Care Myth: The higher the SPF, the better the protection
Consider this: A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 protects your skin from 93% of UV rays, while SPF 30 protects against 95-96%. Sunscreens beyond SPF 30 provide minimal increase in protection. Between SPF 30 and SPF 60, there is only a .1% increase in protection. This is why professionals often recommend the use of SPF 15 – 30. Sunscreens with higher SPF only hurt your wallet; they don’t further protect your skin.
Skin Care Myth: Concept of gentle exfoliation
There is no such thing as “gentle exfoliation.” Exfoliation requires force or strong acid to remove dead and damaged skin cells and encourage the stimulation of collagen. Although rubbing the skin with “granules” or “microspheres” may give a temporary polished feel to the skin, it will not provide the necessary force to slough dead skin cells and boost collagen production. Instead, turn to a chemical peel, such as a glycolic acid exfoliator, which loosens the intercellular glue that holds dead skin cells together, thereby allowing them to be removed.
Skin Care Myth: Products that are “dermatologist recommended” or “dermatologist tested” are proven to work
Many skin care products on the market today are labeled with phrases like “dermatologist recommended” or “dermatologist tested.” It is important to know that phrases like that simply mean that at least one dermatologist has tried the product or used it on a patient with no negative effects. It does not guarantee nor is it in any way valid proof of a product’s performance.
Skin Care Myth: Water-based skin care products keep your skin hydrated
This myth can be debunked quickly and easily because the science just doesn’t add up. Simply put, water-based skin care products don’t hydrate because the skin cannot absorb water. A high concentration of water merely dilutes the active ingredients contained in the product. Look for products that are formulated with a base that will work for your skin. Lexli formulates all products with a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe, which is scientifically proven to penetrate skin tissue to encourage skin healing, reduce inflammation and more. Read more about why aloe vera is good for skin .
Skin Care Myth: Men and women require different skin care products
Skin is skin. And while individuals have different concerns that require different skin care regimens, the differences certainly can’t be reduced to gender. Given the recent growth of the male skin care market, it’s no wonder skin care companies are increasingly adding lines targeted specifically to this audience. The only difference between these products and other skin care products is the packaging and the fragrance, which tends to be more masculine.
Skin Care Myth: Products containing collagen and/or elastin can rejuvenate skin cells
Collagen and elastin are important proteins found in your skin’s middle layer, the dermis. These proteins support skin structure and give skin its smooth and youthful appearance. Through the natural aging process or repeated sun exposure, collagen and elastin fibers begin to break down resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Many skin care products that contain collagen and elastin make claims that by adding these proteins topically, the visible signs of aging will magically be reversed. The reality is this: when added to a product, collagen or elastin has absolutely no benefit to the skin. Collagen and elastin cannot be absorbed into the skin because their molecular size is too large. And, furthermore, if you use collagen or elastin from a human or animal source, the proteins are dead and completely inactive, providing no benefit. The only collagen or elastin that our bodies can use is that generated by our own cells and tissues. Collagen in skin care products simply helps to give the product a pleasant texture.
Skin Care Myth: Hot water is best for washing your face and opening pores
Washing your face with hot water does little for your skin and it certainly doesn’t open your pores. In fact, washing with hot water can wash away essential skin oils, leaving it dry and irritated. It is best to use cooler water when washing your face.
Skin Care Myth: Stress doesn’t affect your skin
Stress can be a definite factor in causing skin issues or aggravating existing skin problems. Stress causes a chemical response in your body making skin more reactive and sensitive. When stress occurs, not only is it harder for skin issues to heal but your body produces hormones which signal your glands to make more oil - and oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin problems. Stress is a part of life, so the key is how you handle it. Here are a few simple ways to reduce the stress that may be causing skin problems for you.
- Don’t neglect your skin, especially during times of stress. Implement a good skin care regimen .
- Exercise regularly.
- Take time for yourself.
- Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises or meditation.
- Get enough sleep – around 7 to 8 hours each night is best.
- Say no. Don’t stretch your commitments beyond your limits or boundaries.
The simple truth is this, healthy skin is beautiful skin. Educate yourself, empower yourself, be realistic about results you will receive from any skin care claim and objectively evaluate the “advice” that will help your skin reach its peak condition.
A follow-up post on this topic is available. Click to read "Skin Care Facts? Separating Truth from Fiction (Part II)."