TheHave you ever gotten some BAD advice? I mean, so bad you can’t believe you even listened to it? (hindsight is 20/20, right?) Well, I have heard some pretty bad skin care advice from patients, friends and family. I am going to share the most common and the worst skin care advice I have heard! I have been guilty of believing many of these so no judgment if you do too! We live and we learn!
“I need to tan to get my daily vitamin D”
Ummmm…. NOPE. There are safer ways to get vitamin D than lying in the sun. Ultraviolet light is a carcinogen, like cigarette smoke. If someone said you could get vitamin D or some other nutritional supplement from smoking a cigarette, would you take up smoking? Probably not. The risks here outweigh the benefits. Instead, enjoy a sunny day by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen. Speak to your medical provider about other ways to get vitamin D.
“Popping a zit will help it go away faster”
I know you have heard this one. Who can resist giving a pimple a good squeeze? Keep in mind, it is only “safe” to pop a pimple when it has come to a white head. Even then, it is best to visit an aesthetician or other skin health professional to get a treatment and have these extractions done properly. Randomly squeezing papules (pimples that have not come to a head) can lead to infection and scarring. It is best to keep skin clean and hydrated and use products with either benzoyl peroxide, retinol, or salicylic acid to clear the skin overall.
“A base tan will protect my skin from burning”
Said no Dermatologist ever. Your skin cells see every tan or burn as damage to the cellular network, which signals your skin cells to repair the damage. Repeating this over and over throughout your lifetime causes cellular mutations, and can ultimately lead to skin cancer. Hello sunscreen!
“Toothpaste will zap a zit”
I know you have done it. You get a zit and you reach for the toothpaste. I too have gone to bed dotted with white clumps of the stuff. Many people use toothpaste as a home remedy to quickly reduce the size of the cold sore or pimple, and it often works. That is because some toothpaste contains hydrogen peroxide, which is in fact an antiseptic. However, other ingredients in toothpastes can irritate the skin and cause further breakouts. Instead, use an acne spot treatment which typically contains benzoyl peroxide.
“I can scrub dark spots away”
Hyperpigmentation (dark spots) in the skin is a result of many factors including inflammation, injury, and sun damage. Trying to scrub them off can make them worse but further irritating skin. Especially in brown skin tones. Hyperpigmentation needs to be treated gently with ingredients that treat it such as retinol, kojic acid and vitamin C. Sunscreen is also critical, as it will protect the skin from further sun damage.
“Coconut is a great natural moisturizer”
Ok hear me out here: Coconut oil might not be the best product to put on your facial skin. For some people, coconut oil can be an effective moisturizer that absorbs fairly well into the skin. But coconut oil can also cause clogged pores, pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. I don’t advise it’s use on the face. If you have been using coconut oil on your face for years you are probably thinking “It never bothered me, what is she talking about?’ That is well and fine until it does.
“SPF 80 means I’m covered for the day”
SPF (sun protection factor) is measured in a lab so real life application might be different because it is not controlled. For example, SPF 80 means it will take you 80 times longer to burn than if you did not have on sunscreen. It does not take into account the variables in real life. For instance, most people don’t use enough for adequate coverage. You should use about a shot glass amount for the entire body. (yes, apply everywhere even under clothing) And you need to reapply every 2 hours or when you get wet. I think higher numbers just lull people into a false sense of security. I recommend broad spectrum SPF 30-50. Remember, sunscreen is not the only means of protection. I also recommend wearing protective clothing and avoid long exposures in the sun.
“I work in an office all day; I don’t need sunscreen”
When I tell my patients to wear sunscreen even indoors, they look at me like I have two heads. You definitely need protection anywhere there are windows, like in your car and office. Glass only blocks UVB rays, not UVA light rays—the ones that are associated with accelerated aging and an even increased risk of melanoma. SPF 30 or higher should be worn for all skin tones, all skin types, every day of the year EVEN INDOORS. I like to use a moisturizing sunscreen so I can kill two birds with one stone.
“Natural skin products are better for you”
On any given day, I see a patient with a rash. I ask about products used and the first thing they do is blow me off and say “I only use natural products.” There is such a false sense of security with the word ‘natural’ j when it comes to skin care. Natural just means the skincare product is made from ingredients that originate from plant flowers, roots, seeds, or leaves. There is no evidence that shows botanicals are better than synthetic ingredients but there is plenty of research that indicates that many so-called natural ingredients are sensitizers and cause rashes and other allergic reactions. Let me remind you that poison ivy is 100% natural but you won’t find most people rubbing that on! I am not anti-natural by any means, I just stress the importance of understanding that natural does not = 100% safe.
If you want to hear more skin care secrets, tips and myth busting facts straight from my Dermatology practice, join our Facebook group! We’re waiting for you to join the party!!