Skin Care Misconceptions Uncovered: 10 Skincare Myths Debunked

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Is SPF 30 double the protection of SPF 15? Does drinking water hydrate the skin? Discover some surprising facts in this article from Skincare-News.

We've all run into our share of skincare myths and misconceptions. Some silly ones are quickly dismissed but others still seem to perpetuate. Some may be seemingly harmless -- like having to use products that come from the same skincare company -- while others may be potentially dangerous -- like misunderstanding how SPF works.'s latest article, "Top 10 Beauty Myths," tackles the top 10 myths that just can't seem to go away.

Myth: Popping a pimple makes it fade.

Fact: Let's face it, it's tough to resist the temptation to pop a pimple, especially when there's hope that it'll instantly go away. But the opposite usually happens: The face becomes inflamed and irritated. That's because popping promotes inflammation, which can cause scarring and more pimples, board-certified dermatologist Sandy Johnson, M.D., tells WebMD. If it's necessary to pop, at least use the right technique. Learn more about good practices here.

Myth: Expensive skincare equals higher-quality ingredients.

Fact: Not necessarily! Oftentimes, people are paying for fancier packaging, fragrance and feel. But how does one know when to save and when to splurge? The not-so-secret weapon is the ingredients label. For instance, the acne-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide is found in a variety of products at the drugstore and the department store. People are better off trying an inexpensive drugstore brand.

Some ingredients, though, are expensive to bottle. Dermatologist Leslie Baumann, M.D., suggests splurging on antioxidant serums. She writes on her Yahoo! Health blog: "The best ones have been packaged properly - which is an expensive process. Look for ones in an amber or aluminum tube (or jar) with a small mouth that does not allow air in." Her picks for powerful antioxidants? Vitamin C and ferulic acid. For those who would like to sample an antioxidant-rich product, consider SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, which features vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid to neutralize free radicals and protect the skin.

Myth: The higher the SPF, the more protection there is.

Fact: SPF, or the Sun Protection Factor, measures a sunscreen's ability to protect against UVB rays, which are the rays that cause skin to redden. So does sunscreen with SPF 30 provide double the protection of SPF 15?

Actually, this is a common myth. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the reality looks like this: SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 blocks 97 percent; and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. Sunscreen isn't additive, either. Putting on sunscreen with SPF 15 over a lotion with SPF 30 doesn't equal SPF 45.

While SPF is an important factor when buying sunscreen, it doesn't protect against UVA rays. Even though these rays don't cause sunburn like UVB rays, they're still dangerous. For starters, UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging, including wrinkles, sagging and discoloration. Worse, they exacerbate UVB's damaging effects and cause skin cancer.

To shield skin from both UVB and UVA rays, find a sunscreen with "broad-spectrum protection" and SPF 15 for everyday exposure (select SPF 30 or higher for longer periods outside). Some ingredients to look for include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, physical ingredients that offer UVA and UVB protection and are gentler on the skin than chemical formulas.

Buying sunscreen is just one side of the story. Learn more about applying sunscreen here.

Myth: I don't need a moisturizer if my skin is oily, or if the weather is warm.

Fact: Even if the skin is oily or acne-prone, the right moisturizer for each skin type will keep skin smooth and supple and provide a protective layer. Some moisturizers will even mattify oily skin and prevent breakouts.

For those who are already using an acne treatment, a moisturizer is especially important. About's acne expert, Angela Palmer, points out that moisturizer helps counteract the drying, irritating effects of acne formulas, which contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and retinoids. To avoid adding more oil, just look for moisturizers with key phrases such as "lightweight," "oil-free" or "noncomedogenic" (doesn't clog pores).

Myth: Drinking water helps prevent dry skin.

Fact: No controlled studies have shown that drinking water hydrates the skin. Only one study has ever made the link and it used pricey mineral water and excluded a control group, writes dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., on The Dermatology Blog. The main culprits contributing to dry skin are external factors, including "cold or hot air, dry heat and the number of oil-producing glands you have," writes beauty expert Julyne Derrick on About.

To combat dry skin, use an exfoliant and moisturizer. An exfoliant gets rid of dead skin cells so skincare products don't sit on the surface but can actually penetrate and moisturize the skin. (Plus, a collection of dead skin makes the complexion look lifeless and dry.) Use an exfoliant two to three times a week, depending on a person's skin type. Apply moisturizer on a daily basis, immediately after showering or cleansing to seal in moisture.

Myth: Bump-like blemishes mean that a person has acne -- always.

Fact: Acne is common among adults, but even though these blemishes may resemble acne, the individual may have an entirely different skin condition. Rosacea is regularly mistaken for acne, as it usually looks like small red bumps and blackheads. But the two are treated differently. Also, over-the-counter acne products can aggravate rosacea, writes Palmer. This makes it imperative to see a dermatologist for the right diagnosis. Rosacea typically occurs in fair-skinned individuals between 30 and 50 years old, according to MedicineNet. See here for more information on rosacea.

Myth: Natural or organic products are better than traditional ones.

Fact: First, let's dissect how natural and organic skincare products get their labels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates products that are labeled "organic," which must contain 95 percent organic ingredients. But any company can slap on a "natural" label, whether it really contains all-natural ingredients or includes harsh ingredients and irritants. The same is true for products "made with organic ingredients." So when searching for a natural or organic product, do the research and be sure to choose a product from a reputable company. The best bet is to bypass the advertising claims and go straight to the ingredients label. Learn how to read a product label here.

Also, bypass the scary hype surrounding chemical preservatives, like parabens, and sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). Some companies tend to vilify these ingredients so people avoid them in favor of a natural or organic brand. However, products with parabens and SLS aren't dangerous. For some people, particularly those with sensitive skin, these ingredients can be irritating. For those who have sensitive skin, here's a how-to on caring for the complexion.

Also, organic and natural products can still contain ingredients that cause irritation and allergies. Irritating ingredients include witch hazel, peppermint and lavender oil. And traditional ingredients can work wonders: Retinoids are incredibly effective at reducing wrinkles, treating acne and repairing sun damage. They can dry out and irritate the skin but they've got years of research to back up their safety and efficacy.

All in all, before avoiding a certain ingredient or investing in a specific product, it's a good idea to do more research.

Myth: Sunscreen is unnecessary if a person is wearing makeup with SPF.

Fact: Though makeup that contains SPF is a nice supplement to sunscreen, it should never replace it. A person would have to pile on quite the heap of cosmetics to attain the SPF. "You need to use seven times the normally used amount of foundation and 14 times the normally used amount of powder to get the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on the label," Dr. Baumann tells WebMD.

Myth: Moisturizers prevent aging.

Fact: Whether it's a rich, velvety cream or a high-end, heavily advertised, fancy-packaged product, moisturizers aren't automatically anti-aging; they don't protect against premature aging or repair it, renowned dermatologist Nelson Lee Novick, M.D., tells Skincare-News.

When looking for anti-aging ingredients in a moisturizer, seek out antioxidants that fight off free radicals, such as vitamin C, ferulic acid, coenzyme Q10 and idebenone. Also, look for other effective anti-aging ingredients such as retinol, alpha hydroxy acids and peptides. Consult a dermatologist about a prescription for retinoids, which truly are powerful anti-agers.

Though people won't get anti-aging advantages from a moisturizer, it's still a key part of a skincare routine. "Moisturizers are necessary to keep the skin supple," Dr. Novick says.

Myth: All of a person's skincare products should be from the same skincare line.

Fact: That's simply, "not true," Dr. Baumann, who's also the author of The Skin Type Solution, tells Skincare-News. Specifically, "You need to know your skin type and what ingredients to look for. You should have ingredient loyalty, not brand loyalty." covers all skincare and beauty topics from head to toe. Check out these latest articles:
Aloe Vera: A Soothing Home Remedy
Aloe vera is one of the most universally used skincare ingredients, and with good reason. The soothing homegrown remedy can provide relief for everything from burns and rashes to dandruff and dry skin. It's been a popular homeopathic remedy for thousands of years and can be taken in pill or liquid form. For a quick fix, a leaf from the bottom of the plant can be sliced in half vertically and the sap applied directly to the skin irritation. Aloe vera is also commonly found in 100 percent concentrations in gels and lotions, or incorporated into other skincare products, such as cleanser, toner, moisturizer, body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Discover more facts, benefits and uses for this multipurpose medicinal plant.

Hydroquinone-Free Options for Lightening Skin
Hydroquinone is a powerful chemical lightening agent that works by suppressing the production of melanin (the chemical that gives skin its color). But what if a person is sensitive to hydroquinone or concerned about its safety? Although hydroquinone is a popular and potent treatment for hyperpigmentation, age spots, freckles and melasma, it's not the only option. Some people can't tolerate hydroquinone or are concerned about its side effects. Fortunately, there are other options for treating hyperpigmentation. Products with ingredients like arbutin, licorice extract, retinoids and vitamin C can provide alternatives. Learn more about the hoopla over hydroquinone and the other options on the market that effectively treat hyperpigmentation.

Psoriasis 101
Plagued by itchy, irritated skin? Psoriasis is a chronic condition that affects as many as 7.5 million Americans. The forms of psoriasis vary based on symptoms, severity and the location of breakouts, ranging from scaly patches on the scalp to widespread redness, pain and swelling of the body. While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, there are common triggers. Stress, a day in the sun, alcohol and even the weather can all lead to an episode of psoriasis. Fortunately, although there is no cure for psoriasis, there are various treatments that can reduce its symptoms. This guide explains the multiple types of psoriasis and how to find the right treatment.

Caring for Your Skin Post Procedure
Understanding how to properly care for one's skin after a cosmetic treatment or procedure is essential for the healing process. Skin procedures like chemical peels, botox, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion all come with their own benefits and side effects. Common side effects include swelling, scarring, sensitivity, bruising and UV susceptibility. In order to maximize the benefits, it's important for a woman to nurture and protect her skin in the aftermath. Fortunately, various treatments can make the transition smoother. Here's how to help skin heal and keep it healthy after undergoing common cosmetic procedures.

Strategies for Soothing Pruritus (or Itchy Skin)
Most people suffer from itchy skin at some point. But for many individuals, dry, itchy skin -- known as pruritus -- is a daily way of life. Loosely defined as itchy skin, pruritus is a skin condition with varying symptoms, including red, bumpy, blistered or scaly skin. Whether the cause is a medical condition or environmental factors, pruritus is best eliminated by first determining the source, then treating the underlying cause. Find out more about options for treatment in this article from Skincare-News.


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