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Common Skin Care Misconceptions

Topics: Skin Care


The skin care and esthetic markets are flooded with information about proper skin care, skin science and skin health from the media and manufacturers. Some claims are accurate and some are not. With all the information floating around, it can be hard to know what to believe. Here are some of the common misconceptions about skin care and the truth behind the myths!  

1. Cucumbers reduce puffiness around the eyes. Cucumbers are 90% water and while they can be soothing because of the added moisture and can hydrate skin temporarily, the same results could be obtained with a cold compress.  

2. The higher the skin protection factor (SPF) rating, the better. A higher SPF often gives the user a false sense of security. An SPF of 50 is only slightly more protective than an SPF 30. (an SPF of 30 has only 2% more production than an SPF of 15, and a 40 has only 1% more than a 30.) Also, no matter what SPF level is chosen, it needs to be reapplied throughout the day.  

3. Layering several products with SPF ratings increases protection. You are only protected to the extent of the higher rating of one product. For example, using a foundation with an SPF of 10, moisturizer with an SPF of 15 and a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 do not yield a rating of 45.   

4. Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne. Eating chocolate does not cause acne. Hormonal factors, stress bacteria and skin cells are at the root of problematic skin.  

5. Natural and organic products are always better. Many natural and organic products are not as they claim. Many times, active ingredients have to be synthesized to work effectively and produce the desired results. Synthetic compounds can actually be identical to those found in nature and be more effective. Natural vs. laboratory-processed should not be a factor in a decision about a product. Not all chemicals are bad and not all natural or organic ingredients are good.  

6. Preservatives in skin care products are bad. Preservatives help prevent bacteria from forming along with other organisms that can not only deteriorate a product’s effectiveness and spoil the product itself, but also allow harmful bacteria to get on or in your skin. Recently there have been some concerns about the use of parabens, yet the research is not definitive that topical application leads to harmful accumulations. In fact, parabens are found throughout nature. Many fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, are naturally full or parabens.  

7. Larger quantities of product will yield better results. Less is more. A pea-sized amount of facial product normally does the trick. Excessive amounts can actually cause skin problems and waste money!  

8. Drying problematic or oily skin clears up acne. The opposite is true. When skin is overly dry, your body signals your skin that it is too dry and produces more oil. Use drying products sparingly and look to lightly moisturize oily skin. The goal is to keep skin balanced, not dry!

9. Get a base tan to prevent burning before going on vacation. Any tan is a scar. There is no such thing as a healthy, safe tan. Self-tanners are the safest way to obtain tanned skin.

10. Skin damage and signs of aging can be cleared up quickly. The damage did not happen over night and it cannot be magically repaired. If a product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Restoring skin can take months to begin to see measurable results.  

11. Sun exposure will improve acne. Yes, sun exposure can hide the appearance of acne for a short period of time, but will lead to skin damage, pigmentation changes and drying that signals the skin to produce more oils.  

12. Vitamin A thins the skin. Skin can become thin due to LACK of vitamin A because it helps to create new, healthy and normal skin cells. Vitamin A is one of the most essential skin care ingredients. It is one of the few, if not only ingredient that is backed by more than 50 years of objective, scientific research supporting its effectiveness.