Debunking Lies You’He Always Heard About Skin Care

Ahsika Sanders's picture

All your life you have been told certain things about your skin that you have simply taken to be true. Things like greasy food will give you pimples, or that you are bound to age just like your mother. Luckily for you there are several misconceptions when it comes to skincare and we’ve compiled a few of the most common below.

Woman with an umbrella

Genetics plays the biggest role in how your skin will age.

Many people think that because their mother started getting wrinkles when she was 38 that they will too. You have been taught to believe that you will inherit your family’s tendency to develop wrinkles early or that we are going to be wrinkle free well into our 50s because our grandmother was. That is simply not the case. You have to consider the life you live including your stress levels, sun exposure, how well you care for your skin, your diet and so much more. True you are genetically predisposed to how you look, but your habits are a major factor in considering how you will age. So check your bad habits at the door. You can start by not smoking, wearing sunscreen, maintaining a healthy diet and finding a good skin care regimen that works for your skin and sticking to it.

SPF tells you everything you need to know about a sunscreen

We have all opted for the SPF 50 over the SPF 30 on a particularly hot day or when we knew we’d be exposed to an excessive about of sun. What you’ve done is chosen a longer lasting sunscreen over a shorter one. The SPF number indicates how long it would take for you to get sunburned if you weren’t wearing sunscreen versus the time it will take if you are wearing it. So if you are using an SPF 50 you can imagine that it would take you approximately 50 minutes of exposure before you were likely to get sunburned. Know that no sunscreen offers 100% protection and that a good option is one that will protect against both UVB rays which cause sunburn, as well as UVA, which is related to deeper skin damage (Note: they both contribute to the risk of skin cancer). So make sure you aren’t relying on one application of SPF 80 to do the trick all day. Be sure you are re-applying and make sure your sunscreen offers protection against both harmful rays.

Chocolate and greasy foods cause a break out

If you need to blame your skin’s excess oils and breakouts on something blame it on the sebum. The dead cells that build up in and on your pores create excess oil called sebum. That, in conjunction with bacteria causes acne but neither of these is related to the foods we eat, no matter how greasy or chocolaty. Your ever changing hormones aid in sebum production  and of course a lackadaisical skin care routine can cause oil, dirt and bacteria to build up and form breakouts. So rest assured that eating potatoes chips or chocolate bars aren't causing your unexpected breakouts, unless of course you're rubbing the oil from your hands on your face, but that’s a different issue entirely.

If your skin is oily, you don’t need moisturizers

It makes sense that if you have oily skin you wouldn’t want to use a product that is meant to add moisture. However it is important to understand that having oily skin isn’t the same as having moisturized skin. In fact people with oily skin will often complain that their skin feels tight or dry to touch. That is because the oil is not a moisturizer. Moisturizer increases the water in the skin, further preventing moisture loss throughout the day. They also smooth skin and aid in the skin rejuvenating process. Remember that your oily skin is not hydrated skin, it is actually your skin’s reaction to a lack of moisture so don’t cut your moisturizer out of your skin care routine.

Exfoliating your skin daily is good

When you exfoliate you are removing the outermost layer of skin to get rid of excess dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells. This is a great practice, but in excess it is very damaging to your skin. There are two ways to exfoliate, chemically or physically, and each hastens the process of shedding dead skin cells to reveal living, healthy cells underneath. To an extent the dead cells protect the lower, more delicate layers of the skin from harmful UV rays and other potentially harmful substances. Remember that exfoliating is a great habit to free your skin from dirt and grime, but too much of a good thing can leave your skin vulnerable because you are allowing the cells to regenerate. To be safe limit your exfoliating to about once a week, or as directed by a dermatologist, to make sure you aren't overdoing it.

Dr. Steven Zimmet is an Austin dermatologist at Zimmet Vein & Dermatology. He is dedicated to venous and dermatological advancements and was nominated by his peers for inclusion in the Best Doctors in America Database 2011-2012.

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