We talk to skincare expert Dr. Corey Hartman of Skin Wellness Center of Alabama to reveal the 7 most common skin care myths his practice encounters and set the record straight with the facts. Plus, Dr. Hartman shares tips that women of all ages and skin types can benefit from.

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Dr. Corey Hartman, MD, is the founder and medical director of the Skin Wellness Center of Alabama in Birmingham. He is also the assistant clinical professor of dermatology at The University of Alabama School of Medicine. Image: Paul Crawford

MYTH #1: Coconut oil can help cure acne.

Keep coconut oil in the kitchen and out of your skin care routine. While a lot of folks claim that coconut oil can help clear acne, Dr. Hartman says using it on your skin can actually worsen unwanted blemishes.

“All it is going to do is clog the pores and make acne worse,” he says. “I know it’s very popular right now, and there are some oils that don’t clog pores, but there are so many other great options for treating acne. I don’t think any oil, even if it does claim to not clog pores, would be the first treatment to turn to.”

MYTH #2: Lemon juice can be used to even out skin discoloration.

While lemon juice may lighten your locks, the same trick won’t help even skin tone, contrary to popular belief.

“It can actually do the opposite,” Dr. Hartman advises. “Lemon juice and lime juice, and really citrus in general, they’re a part of a class of plant that when the juices are applied to skin and that skin is exposed to sun, it can cause a reaction called phytophotodermatitis, which actually turns the skin darker.”

Contrary to popular belief, lemon juice will not help to even skin tone.

MYTH #3: Ingesting collagen supplements can help eliminate wrinkles and plump the skin.

This myth is simply ridiculous, Dr. Hartman says. “You can’t ingest collagen and expect it to show up in your skin in any way,” he says. “Don’t waste your money on products that claim to deliver collagen to the skin through the digestive tract. It’s not going to happen.”

MYTH #4: Taking biotin can help hair grow faster.

Taking biotin supplements can improve the strength of your hair, but when it comes to hair growth, Dr. Hartman says genetics are the sole player.

“Hair is going to grow at a certain rate regardless,” he says. “You can’t change that.”

Supplements like biotin can also throw off lab results and in some cases, he says, cause acne.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come in complaining that their acne gets worse when they’re taking biotin, and I didn’t think there was anything to it, but after I looked into it, after seeing it a few times, I saw that it was true,” he says. “We aren’t entirely sure why.”

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With so much information out there on skin wellness, it can be easy to fall victim to the myths. Dr. Corey Hartman advises patients to stick with the professionals who have spent years studying dermatology. Image: Paul Crawford

MYTH #5: Facial exercises can help get rid of wrinkles.

Like any other muscle in the body, facial muscles become bigger and more defined when exercised.

“If you go and lift weights with your bicep, then you’re going to get definition in the bicep,” Dr. Hartman explains.

The same concept can be applied with facial muscles. The more you use them, the more definition you get between them, which can create wrinkles.

“So, you’re going to actually accentuate the wrinkles by doing facial exercises,” Dr. Hartman adds.

To sum it up, exercises are best left for the gym, not your face.

MYTH #6: Don’t moisturize if you have oily skin.

When it comes to treating oily skin, Dr. Hartman says it’s all about finding balance. There’s no one magic serum or cream that will cure oily skin.

“You just have to find a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin,” he says.

And, just because your skin might be oilier, that doesn’t mean you should completely skip out on moisturizing, he advises.

“In fact, if you have oily skin, then you might want to consider using a light moisturizer because then your skin is never dry and it doesn’t get that signal to over produce oil,” he says. “It’s all about regulation.”

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Dr. Hartman frequently speaks on cosmetic procedures. His skills have earned him the honor of being named an Allergan Advanced Injector Trainer. Image: Paul Crawford

MYTH #7: Certain skin types don’t need SPF.

Everyone, no matter your ethnicity or skin type, needs to use protection against the sun.

“Some people think that certain types of skin and skin tones don’t have to wear SPF,” Dr. Hartman says. “And while it is true that darker skin types do have inherent sun protection factors because of the melanin in their skin, that’s only going to be 3 to 5 SPF.”

All skin types need to have at least 30 to 50 SPF to completely guard against the sun’s harmful rays, he says. “We still diagnose 2 to 3 melanomas, even in dark-skin patients, every year. No one is totally safe.”

Dr. Hartman’s Big “Do”

DO regularly exfoliate.

“It’s sort of the cornerstone of a good anti-aging regimen,” Dr. Hartman says. “And retinols are the most important way that we exfoliate our skin.”

Some of the numerous benefits of routine exfoliation include unclogging pores, eliminating pesky environmental debris and evening skin tone.

All of these factors, Dr. Hartman says, help skin to function better — thus creating tighter and firmer skin.

To learn more about Skin Wellness Center of Alabama, visit skinwellness.com or call their Homewood office at (205) 561-0236 or their Chelsea office at (205) 650-1419. 

This article is sponsored by Skin Wellness Center of Alabama