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There is a lot of misinformation available on television, in magazines and the internet that have people confused as to what to believe about skin care. Here is a list of the top 12 skin care myths:

1.      Are cucumbers good for reducing puffiness around the eyes?  Cucumbers are 90% water and are only good for soothing and rehydrating the skin around the eyes on a short term basis.  You can get the same effect using a tea bag (black tea) that has been hydrated in warm water or use a cold compress.  Tea has tannins that helps to reduce puffiness.

2.      Your skin is better protected if you layer your skin with different levels of sunscreen?  Your skin will only be protected by the highest level of SPF you use at any one time.  Layering does not lengthen the protection.

3.      Mineral oil is comedogenic? Mineral oil or “baby oil” is good for the body, not the face because it can clog pores.  There are two levels of mineral oil, industrial and cosmeceutical.  Cosmeceutical-grade mineral oil may be found in skin care products and does not clog pores.

4.      Are preservatives bad for the skin?  Preservatives are in products to prohibit the growth of bacteria and it keeps bacteria from penetrating through the skin.  Consumers are concerned about parabens because of they may have some carcinogenic properties and rightly so.  Parabens, however, are also found in nature (in strawberries).

 5.      Does eating chocolate cause acne?  No.  Studies have shown that dark chocolate that has 70% or more of cocoa content that is actually good for you.  It is helps to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and can even help you lose weight!

 6.      Is acne caused by dirty skin?  Acne is not caused by having dirty skin, but excessive and harsh cleansing can worsen the problem causing oil glands to produce more oil.  Be gentle in cleansing the skin, use a mild toner, if needed, and moisturize.  If you have to “pop” a zit, cover your fingers with a tissue and immediately wash your hands and face to prevent the spread of acne bacteria on to other areas of the face or other surfaces (cell phones or steering wheels).

 7.      Can cosmetics aggravate acne?  Yes.  Look for products that are non-comedogenic and oil free.  Remove makeup, if possible, before you workout and cleanse the face immediately after a workout.  Body oils, salts and perspiration can mix with makeup to provide a breeding ground for bacteria on the skin that can lead to “cosmetic acne”.  Don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes!

 8.      Are blackheads caused by not cleaning the skin properly?  No.  Blackheads appear because pores have become clogged with oil, dirt, dry skin and makeup.  Avoid excess scrubbing because this may cause the skin to become inflamed.  Use a good cleanser to soften the debris in the pore and have your skin professionally cleansed and extractions performed.

 9.      Do we get the most sun damage to the skin by the time we reach 18?  Studies have shown that less than 50% of sun damage happens before we reach 18.  However, we continue to get sun damage throughout our lifetime.  Protect your skin early in life and make sunscreen a part of your daily skin care routine.

 10.  Can skin damage and signs of aging be erased quickly?  Remember, your skin damage and aging did not happen overnight and no skin care product or treatment will erase years overnight.  There are no “silver bullets” in skin care.  Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals, but they cannot make wrinkles disappear.  There are treatments like phenol peels and laser resurfacing that will get rid of wrinkles and sun damage, but the recovery down time can be slow and painful.

 11.  Does sun exposure help acne?  Sun exposure may help to reduce the inflammation of acne short term, but continual exposure to the sun can increase oil production and make acne worse.

 12.  Can skin care products last longer than three years (shelf life)?  Products are the most effective for the first 12 months and after that the product is still safe to use, but the effectiveness of the ingredients lessens.

 Reference

Trow, C. & Trow, R. (2012). Skin Inc. “30 Skin Care Misconceptions”. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://www.skininc.com/treatments/facial/43995527.html?page=2

Answers to Acne Myths and Misconceptions. (2004-2009). Acne Guide. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://www.acneguide.ca/basics/acne/myths.html

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