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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.
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Today’s cosmeceutical mineral oil is a far cry from the industrial type that was previously used on skin. It is a very effective ingredient in helping remove excess oil from the skin. Oil attracts oil, and the modern mineral oil formulated for use in skin care has a different molecular weight and will not harm skin or clog pores. Mixed with kaolin—fine clay—it makes a potent cocktail to assist in controlling oil production in problematic skin. Vitamin A is the best ingredient to normalize skin.
Cosmeceutical-grade mineral oil is not comedogenic. The myth is that industrial-grade mineral oil and lubricants are the same as those used in cosmetic ingredients. So-called medicinal white mineral oil has met with stringent safety standards. To remove sebum plugs in the follicles, an oil-based substance is needed. Water-based products cannot melt or remove sebum plugs.
Preservatives help prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi and 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 the skin. Although there is concern about the use of parabens, the research is not definitive that topical application leads to harmful accumulations. Parabens are found throughout nature; for example, many fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, are naturally full of parabens. But further study is needed.
Packaging in skin care is vitally important—not for aesthetic reasons—but to protect the efficacy of the ingredients. Wide-mouth jars, transparent containers and pumps that are not airless all pose problems in keeping ingredients safe and potent.
Eating chocolate does not cause acne. Hormonal factors, bacteria and skin cells are at the root of problematic skin, and stress can exacerbate flareups. Some individuals may have allergic reactions to foods that can cause inflammation, as well.
Buyer, beware! Many natural and organic products are not as they claim. Plus, many times, active ingredients have to be synthesized to be bioavailable and efficacious. Synthetic compounds can actually be identical to those found in nature and be more effective. Natural vs. laboratory-processed should not lead to an up or down decision about whether a product is good or bad. Not all chemicals are bad, and not all natural or organic ingredients are good.
Less is more. Normally, a pea-sized amount of facial product will do the trick. Excessive amounts can cause skin problems and waste money.
Blackheads or comedones are caused by clogged pores, and excessive scrubbing can irritate and further inflame skin. Blackheads often contain dirt, oil, and dry and dead skin cells that need to be removed. Products that help dissolve sebum are the most effective.
The opposite is true. When skin becomes overly dry, an environment is created in which the skin is signaled that is too dry and produces more oil. Use drying products sparingly, and look to lightly moisture oily skin. The goal is to keep skin balanced.
Any tan is a scar, and there is no such thing as a healthy, safe tan. Self-tanners are the safest way to obtain tanned skin.