Top 10 Skin Myths - Fact or Fiction

Are you approaching your regimen all wrong? Dermatologists expose common blunders that could be sabotaging your complexion.

THE MYTH #1: A complete skincare routine must have three steps.

THE TRUTH: Cleanse, tone, then moisturize has been drilled into our heads, but feel free to skip the second step, says Cambridge, University: People think that toning an oily complexion will make it better, but oil is protective and the body produces it in response to injury. When you strip your skin, it reacts by making a ton of grease.

THE MYTH #2: You need to cleanse your face at least twice a day.

THE TRUTH: Using a face wash in the morning is just an excuse to go through more product, we suggest avoiding antibacterial soaps at all costs because they're too harsh for your face. In the morning, the best thing is water and your fingers, not a cleanser.

THE MYTH #3: Scrubs make skin glow.

THE TRUTH: Over exfoliating leads to extra oil production, so the glow you see the first week will eventually turn into a greasy mess. Skin is actually a good exfoliator on its own, so we rarely recommend manual scrubs.

THE MYTH #4: Dryness causes fine lines.

THE TRUTH: People confuse dryness and flaking with wrinkles, instead we suggest smoothing things out visually with a little lotion: Just moisturizing will make wrinkles look better. The lines are still there, but they won't be as pronounced.

THE MYTH #5: You should buy your best friend's favorite eye cream.

THE TRUTH: Everyone has different eye issues, so one size does not fit all, reveals a New York City dermatologist. If you have puffiness, choose a gel (heavy creams can boost swelling) with caffeine and store the tube in the fridge to maximize benefits. If you have dark circles, look for a product with a lightening ingredient like vitamin C and a collagen-builder like retinol.

THE MYTH #6: Leaving a mask on overnight gives you more for your money.

THE TRUTH: Masks deliver a potent dose of active ingredients or moisture quickly into the skin, but you can overdo it, causing irritation or breakouts. You should use things as directed. Rarely do you outsmart the people who have done the clinical testing for a product.

THE MYTH #7: Wearing foundation with an SPF means you're being sun safe.

THE TRUTH: You should still apply a sunscreen underneath. Unless you're slathering on a mask of makeup, you're not getting enough protection. You need to wear an SPF of at least 30 on your face every day, and nobody puts on enough foundation to get that SPF value out of it.

THE MYTH #8: Nano-size titanium dioxide sunscreen causes cancer.

THE TRUTH: The majority of studies show that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are not absorbed through the normal skin. There are animal studies that show a link between nano-size titanium dioxide and organ damage, but the mice tested were ingesting or inhaling multiple times the amount that you would put on your skin. As far as we know, nano-size sunscreens that are applied topically are safe.

THE MYTH #9: The more wrinkle cream you apply, the better your results.

THE TRUTH: Morning and evening applications are a waste of money. Most active ingredients work really well once a day, and antiaging retinols should be used only at night (because they're broken down by sunlight). Plus, slathering on too many retinols will cause irritation and make your skin look worse, leading to redness, peeling, and inflammation.

THE MYTH #10: The best way to get rid of blackheads is extractions.

THE TRUTH: Pulling and pressing on pores can cause scarring. After extractions, skin just fills right back up with oil. Using retinols and gentle acid peels at home is enough to unclog pores.

It is our hope, here at Christopher Stephens, that the information presented here will help debunk some of the misinformation that society accepts as common knowledge. Furthermore, if you have concerns about your skin regimen please feel free to call for an appointment with our knowledgeable esthetician. For serious skin conditions please contact you dermatologist.   

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