6 Common Skin Care Myths

By Kira Mayo

We’ve all heard the standard skin care tips. “Drink more water,” “don’t eat chocolate,” “Proactive is the best acne cure.” Blah, blah, blah. Amid all the advice, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. So here I’ll dispel six common skin care myths. I hope they help you get the facts straight!

Myth No. 1: The higher the SPF, the better the protection.

Fact: While an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 96 percent of UV rays, an SPF of 15 blocks about 94 percent. So that’s just a two percent difference. Regardless of whether you use an SPF 10, 30 or 50, they all wear off within a few hours. Reapplying them is key.

Myth No. 2: Scrubbing your face with soap will keep your skin clear and acne free.

Fact: When you scrub your face, you strip away some protective oils and barriers. This can allow bacteria to enter the skin and cause rashes. It’s better to use a gentle cleanser followed by a moisturizer at night, or sunscreen in the morning.

Myth No. 3: You can’t get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

Fact: The sun’s rays reach the earth’s surface whether it’s cloudy or not. So you really should apply sunscreen every day. Also, don’t think you’re protected just because you’re wearing makeup with an SPF. You’d have to apply up to 15 times the amount of makeup you normally wear to reach the SPF on the label of your makeup.

Myth No. 4: When you get a pimple, you should squeeze it to get all the pus out.

Fact: A lot of the pus in a pimple lies deeper in the skin than what you see on the outside, sort of like the tip of an iceberg. When you pop it, you push a lot of that pus deeper into the skin, which is why you often get another pimple close to where the first one was. It’s best to let nature take its course and stop popping your pimples. But if you can’t resist, do it right: press a warm washcloth on your pimple to soften it. And instead of squeezing the pimple together, pull the skin around it apart. If the pimple doesn’t pop, it’s not ready. Leave it alone and repeat in a few hours. Don’t worry, your life as you know it isn’t over.

Myth No. 5: My T-shirt will protect me from the sun.

Fact: Wrong! A standard white T-shirt has an SPF of 3, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.  To increase the SPF to 30, you can buy some laundry detergent with added UV protection. Wash your clothes with this before spending a long day in the sun.

Myth No. 6: Getting a base coat at the tanning salon will protect your skin before you take off to your tropical vaca.

Fact: I’d like to be frank here: there is absolutely no such thing as a “base tan,” or a “base coat.” Yes, having more melanin, the pigment found in your skin, will prevent sun damage. No, a “base tan” is not the same as having abundant, natural melanin. And multiple studies have shown an association among tanning bed usage and skin cancer and wrinkles. That’s bad, bad, bad.

Originally reported for CavalierDaily.com


3 responses to “6 Common Skin Care Myths

  1. How do you know if you have oily skin? I’ve heard if you do some moisturizers can damage your skin. Can you shed some light on this topic?

    • Hi Nick,
      If you have oily skin, you may notice that it is visibly oily, feels greasy and/or tends to break out often. Here’s a simple test to see if you do in fact have oily skin. Wash your face with water and a gentle cleanser. Wait 30 minutes. When the time is up, blot your face with some toilet paper. If you see oil on the paper, you’re officially part of the oily skin club.
      To answer your question about moisturizers, I don’t think you can actually cause “damage” to your skin by using them. One thing you should probably do every day is wash your face with water and a gentle cleanser. Don’t go overboard though, because you can strip away your skin’s protective barriers, increasing your chance of getting an infection. If you feel like your skin is overly dry after you wash your face, go ahead and use a light, oil-free moisturizer (try to stay away from cocoa butter and mineral oils, as these may be too greasy for your skin).
      Though applying moisturizer is up to you, try to use facial sunscreen as often as possible. Look for an oil-free kind.
      I hope this helps, Nick–feel free to ask more questions if you have any!

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