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30 Skin Care Misconceptions

By: Carol and Rob Trow
Posted: April 29, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
30 Skincare Misconceptions

Skin care professionals and consumers alike are bombarded daily with a myriad of information about skin care, skin science and skin health from the media, manufacturers and an ever-increasing number of physicians, all attempting to justify that what they profess and advocate is the truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes claims are accurate and sometimes they aren’t. More often than not, the truth may lie somewhere in between.

Everyone from late-night television host David Letterman to mass-market publications proudly announce their top 10 lists. Well, this is no different except that it focuses on 30 skin care myths. The following list offers up a variety of skin care facts—not in priority order—that may well call into question some common beliefs and long-held traditions. See how many you agree with as you review the list.

This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but hopefully it will inspire thinking about what is real and how you know it is real and also inspire you to question those making a variety of claims about products, ingredients and the science behind them. Your role as a skin care professional has a large educational component that mandates remaining current in the field, as well as providing education on skin health to clients and patients. Sharing these myths with clients will help to strengthen your credibility as a skin care expert. Remember, you are not selling hope in a jar, but rather providing realistic and truthful solutions to help deal with extrinsic and intrinsic aging.

  1. Facial exercises tone facial muscles and make a person appear younger.

    The face is the only part of the body where muscles are attached directly to the skin; there are no facial ligaments and tissue. Constant facial exercise and tugging contribute to additional lines. Actually, wrinkles often form along expression lines caused by facial movements.

  2. Vitamin E minimizes scarring.

    Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps build skin, but there is no evidence that it does anything to help with scarring. There is even some research that suggests it may have a negative effect on scarring.1

  3. Cucumbers help reduce puffiness around the eyes.

    The principle ingredient in cucumbers is 90% water with the balance being inert fiber. They can be soothing and, with moisture, hydrate skin temporarily. The same results can be obtained from a cold compress.

  4. Skin pores open and close.

    Pores are openings in the skin that allow oils (sebum) to reach the surface. If pores are larger, this can be due to dead cells, genetics or scarring from squeezing blemishes.

  5. The higher the skin protection factor (SPF) rating, the better.

    SPF ratings, soon to be revised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only refer to protection from UVB rays. A person needs sun protection that has chemical and physical blockers, plus antioxidants. A higher SPF also gives a false sense of security and introduces more potentially harmful chemicals to the body. Plus, an SPF of 50 is only marginally more protective than an SPF of 15; an SPF of 30 has only 2% more protection than an SPF of 15, and a 40 has only 1% more than a 30. Sunscreens need to be reapplied every 90–120 minutes.

  6. Layering several products with SPF ratings increases protection.

    You are only protected to the extent of the higher rating of one product. A foundation with an SPF of 10, moisturizer with an SPF of 15 and a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 does not yield an SPF rating of 45.

  7. Topical creams containing collagen can replace collagen.

    There is a lack of impartial, empirical evidence that the topical application of collagen or elastin can penetrate the dermis, even when using nanotechnology. They can provide moisturization to the epidermis, but only injections are conclusively effective.

  8. Mineral oil is bad for your skin.

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