Skin is the largest organ in the body and one of the first things people notice about one another; therefore, proper skincare is key to keeping the body healthy, as well as making a good first impression. Over the years, dermatologists and researchers have racked up long lists of recommendations regarding proper skincare. Naturally, several falsehoods have managed to slip in along the way. Some are urban legends that have been passed on for generations, and some are fabrications perpetuated by the skincare industry to influence consumers. Whatever their origins, don’t be fooled by these five popular myths regarding your skin.
1) Body soap is a sufficient cleanser
Substituting body or hand soap for a facial cleanser can do your skin more harm than good. Soaps often contain harsh or abrasive chemicals that can dry your skin of its natural oils, leaving it very vulnerable to irritation and signs of aging. Try using a more gentle cleanser, followed by a moisturizer to provide added protection against rashes and irritation.
2) Only teenagers get acne
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could file acne away as one of those embarrassing conditions that only plagues teenagers? Sadly, acne often does not stay put in our awkward adolescent phase, but follows us well into adulthood. Adult acne, particularly in women, has become extremely common, mainly due to hormonal factors. Acne persisting into the 20’s, 30’s, or even 40’s is no longer considered unusual. And, it’s a particularly difficult type of acne to control. Treatments that work well for teenaged acne are often ineffective. If you’re still breaking out, your best bet is an expert familiar with the latest and most effective treatments, including hormonal approaches.
3) SPF 100 is the best protection against UV rays
Sunscreen labels can be very misleading. According to Skin Inc., “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.” Using an SPF of 100 may give you a false sense of security, but will provide only modest extra protection against the sun’s damaging rays. The best advice:
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Apply enough sunscreen! Studies show people on average apply only half as much sunscreen as is needed to get the labeled SPF. Covering the body requires a “shot glass” sized amount of sunscreen. Don’t skimp!
- Reapply frequently. No matter how good, any sunscreen eventually begins to wear off. That’s accelerated with activity, sweating, and rubbing. Take a break periodically and reapply sunscreen to ensure your protection lasts until the end of the day.
4) Acne is the result of poor diet and poor hygiene
If you believe eliminating chocolate or French fries from your diet will instantly clear up your acne, you’ve unfortunately been led astray. Diet often plays a minimal role in acne. Stress, hormonal factors, genetics, and bacteria are more often the cause of skin troubles. However, recent data suggest that eating poorly (especially “high glycemic index” foods like sugars and white carbohydrates) can indeed contribute to acne. Eating healthily may have the opposite effect (omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may reduce acne). And, while regular gentle cleansing is good for any skin type, acne is not just the result of “dirty skin.” Indeed, excessive washing, scrubbing, astringents, and abrasive scrubs can actually worsen acne and cause skin irritation.
5) Stress won’t significantly affect your health
Most people are well aware of the negative impact stress has on mental health. Fewer people are mindful, however, that high stress levels are also damaging to physical health. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “stress can worsen psoriasis or rosacea, result in acne lesions that are more inflamed and persistent, cause brittle nails and ridging of the nails, lead to hair loss, worsen or cause hives, and induce excessive perspiration.” The increase of blood vessel activity due to stress can be very harmful to skin and general well-being. If you experience any of these skin conditions, visit the dermatologists at Avail Dermatology to seek effective treatments.
If you have any concerns regarding your skin and its health, call Avail Dermatology at (770) 251-5111. We’re happy to answer any concerns, and recommend a proper skincare regimen for your unique needs.