With so much true and false information about skin care available, it can be hard to keep any of it straight. I don’t want to add to the information overload, but I do want to help you understand some important facts related to skin care. Hopefully, these 5 facts will help you feel confident in your skin care treatment.
1. Acne is not caused by dirty skin.
Acne is the result of the overproduction of oil and subsequent clogging of pores. This oil causes dead skin cells to stick together rather than slough off as they should. Washing your face often does not prevent this from happening and may actually cause acne to become worse by drying out skin and making oil glands work even harder to produce oil. Over-washing or scrubbing the skin too hard can irritate the skin and spread bacteria which also makes acne worse. The best way to combat acne is to use a topical retinoid since it prevents dead skin cells from getting stuck in the pores. Also, I advise patients to use an acne wash such as Dr. Bailey’s Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser.
2. There are “critters” that normally live on our skin.
One issue that some people fall victim to are demodex mites that are actually normal inhabitants of our skin. In normal (small) amounts, they live peacefully without causing any problems. In larger quantities, they can cause inflammation in the form of acne or rosacea. Fortunately, our Calming Zinc Bar helps to calm the skin and kill these pesky critters!
3. Dry skin is itchy skin.
When moisture is leeched from our skin by cold, dry weather or harsh soaps and is not replaced by a good moisturizer, the skin becomes dry and flaky. One of the most common causes of “the itch” is dry skin. When people are overall itchy, I always make sure they are using the proper moisturizers and body washes to replace moisture. As we age, skin loses its ability to hold onto water. People with eczema have trouble holding moisture in the skin as well. What’s more, it’s hard for moisturizers to do their job when there is a buildup of dead skin cells preventing the moisturizer from getting more deeply into the skin. Try Glytone Body Lotion to help dissolve dead skin cells so moisture can get where it needs to go.
4. Sun damage can be caused even when you’re indoors.
Being indoors does NOT protect you from the sun. UV rays come in two forms: UVA and UVB. UVB is blocked by windows, but UVA is not. UVA is the most important contributor of wrinkles, and UVB (and to a lesser degrees, UVA) is the most important contributor of skin cancer. See this impressive picture of unilateral dermatoheliosis from someone who had so much sun exposure from driving in a truck for years on end that one side of the face looks dramatically older than the other.
Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen even when indoors! Dr. Bailey says the best sunscreens use zinc oxide. Check out her favorites here.
5. Blackheads are black because of oxidation.
Blackheads are also known as “open comedones.” Whiteheads, conversely are called “closed comedones.” They are caused by pores getting clogged with dead skin and sebum (oil). Blackheads appear black because the oil gets oxidized by oxygen (a chemical reaction). They are not black because they are caused by dirt! Whiteheads are slightly deeper in the skin so they do not have the chance to get oxidized.
For more on what you can do about those blackheads, check out From the Aesthetician: How to Minimize Pores & Remove Blackheads.
Did any of these facts surprise you? What other skin care myths have fooled you? Please share your stories in the comments!
Dr. Hayes – Board Certified Dermatologist
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