Rumors are flying and misconceptions are being shared about skincare. With all the products available and advice being doled out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and, frankly, confused about what’s best for our skin. In an effort to mitigate the chaos, we tapped into six of Nashville’s most knowledgeable skincare experts to set the record straight. They shared the most common myths they hear and debunked them with actual truths. Read on to see which mistakes you have been making and what you should be doing instead.
MYTH: The most important thing is to cleanse and moisturize.
TRUTH: Grayson Woods, M.D., of Woods Aesthetics, notes that many of her clients think if they are using a good cleanser and moisturizer then their skincare is covered. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. “If you’re on a budget and need to skimp on anything in your regimen, let that be your cleanser and moisturizer. Your money is best spent on the products containing medical-grade active ingredients,” she says. “Vitamins and antioxidants, retinol, pigment-treating products and growth factors are just a few of the products to invest in that produce amazing results. We recommend CE Ferulic by SkinCeuticals, SkinMedica Retinol Complex and SkinMedica Lytera, and a great all-in-one with growth factor is SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum. If you invest in your active ingredients and need to save a little, head to your local drugstore and purchase a simple cleanser and moisturizer with limited ingredients such as CeraVe or Cetaphil.”
MYTH: The higher the SPF in sunscreen, the better.
TRUTH: This is actually true to an extent, says Jennifer Lee, M.D., of REN Dermatology. “Studies have shown that SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. There is no sunscreen that can block 100% of UV rays,” she explains. “Over SPF 50, the added benefit of a higher SPF is minimal. I recommend using SPF 30 on a daily basis (to help protect from sun damage throughout the day) and SPF 50 for outdoor activities. Again, re-applying sunscreen every two hours while you’re outdoors is very important. Also make sure you are using enough sunscreen to adequately cover your body and get the full SPF effect. If you are applying sunscreen to your entire body, an easy tip is to use 1 ounce, which is equivalent to one shot glass.
“It is also well established that people of all skin colors get skin cancer,” Dr. Lee continues. “For instance, the skin cancer rates in Hispanics in the United States grew by 43% from 2000 to 2010. More often, their skin cancers, including melanoma, were diagnosed at a later stage and were more advanced. Despite your perceived ability to tan well, it is still important to use sunscreen for skin cancer prevention!”
MYTH: More is better.
TRUTH: “Why waste time and money on a million steps when you can get fabulous, better results using just a few high-quality professional products recommended by a skincare professional?” asks Tami Sprintz Hall of Escape Day Spa + Salon. “When you use too many products, you also run the risk of over-sensitizing your skin. Keep it simple and quick … think quality over quantity.”
MYTH: Don’t use moisturizer if you have oily skin.
TRUTH: Mary Kathryn Yeiser of Therapy Systems was guilty of believing this myth until she got into the business of skincare. “This could not be further from the truth! All skin needs moisture, even oily skin,” she says. “When we wash our face, we strip our skin of its natural moisture. It is up to us to put it back with a moisturizer suitable for our skin type. If not, then our skin can overcompensate, producing more oil. When I started giving my skin the hydration it needed with a great oil-free moisturizer, my skin started looking better than ever. At The Cosmetic Market, our favorite oil-free moisturizer is Therapy Systems Oil Free Moisturizer — 4 oz. for $46 and 3 oz. for $36.”
“Depriving your skin of much-needed hydration will actually cause your body to overproduce oils,” adds Jemma Hurst, RN, of Woods Aesthetics. “That could lead to additional breakouts. For a light, oil-free and fragrance-free moisturizer, I recommend SkinMedica UltraSheer Moisturizer.”
Dr. Lee (REN Dermatology) explains the importance of moisturizing when using a prescription acne cream. “Prescription acne creams can cause dryness and peeling, which can lead to irritation if not used properly. A light, oil-free moisturizer at night can help prevent irritation dermatitis from the acne medication and will not worsen your acne.”
MYTH: Taking Vitamin C is as good as using topical Vitamin C
TRUTH: “The skin is the largest organ of the body, but only gets a small amount of the nutrients the body takes in daily,” says Robin Haney of Apropos Advanced Skin Care & Day Spa. “The skin on our face, neck, chest and hands gets daily exposure all year long to sun, pollutants, chemicals and so on. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, exfoliant and skin brightener. It also speeds up cell turnover, and applying it topically will give your skin a much higher dose than an oral tablet. Topical Vitamin C should be at least at a strength of 10% and can range up to 30%. Apply once daily under moisturizer and sunscreen. We love Total Balance C+Ferulic+Peptides!”
MYTH: Anti-aging products (or “wrinkle creams”) can erase wrinkles.
TRUTH: “The one product that has a solid history and reputation for reversing fine lines is a topical retinoid,” says Laurie Hayes of Facial Rejuvenation Center. “Often sold under the name Retinol or Tretinoin, these creams or drops penetrate the skin and reduce cell turnover. Studies have shown them to be fairly effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles, treating acne and reversing the effects of photo-aging or sun damage.”
MYTH: If it burns, it means it is working.
TRUTH: “Actually, you can over strip the skin and interrupt the skin’s natural healing and anti-aging processes at work,” Tami Sprintz shares. At Escape Day Spa + Salon, we believe in ‘gently over time’ and not ‘aggressively all at once.’ Over-peeling and constant aggressive peeling can actually speed up the aging process. Be kind to your skin, and use products that support the skin’s natural processes.”
MYTH: I’m indoors for work all day. I don’t need sunscreen.
TRUTH: “We all get sun exposure on a daily basis, often without realizing it,” Dr. Lee (REN Dermatology) explains. “This can be from brief periods of sun exposure while walking to and from the car in the parking lot, from UV rays coming through the windshield and windows while we drive, from sitting outside for a nice lunch break, or from sunshine flowing through a window at our office. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate and still cause damage to our skin. I recommend getting in the habit of using a morning moisturizer with SPF 30. This way, no matter what the day ends up being, you will be protected. Try keeping a travel-size sunscreen in your desk at work, in your purse, the car and sports bags so you will never find yourself without it.”
MYTH: Caffeine is bad for your skin.
TRUTH: “Caffeine functions as a vasoconstrictor, a tightening agent. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels around the eye area, which in turn makes the dark circles and puffiness less visible. Caffeine needs to be applied topically in order to give your skin a boost and banish dark under-eye circles,” offers Laurie Hayes (Facial Rejuvenation Center).
MYTH: Waxing, dermaplaning or shaving facial or body hair will cause it to come back darker and thicker.
TRUTH: “Waxing actually lightens hair growth over time by weakening the hair root. The hair grows back with a natural tapered end, which feels softer than a cut hair. Shaving or dermaplaning has no effect on the root at all; it is no different than cutting the hair on your head, it’s just a closer cut,” Robin Haney (Apropos Advanced Skin Care & Day Spa) tells us. “The hair will have a blunt end, which can feel stiffer at first; many think this means the hair is growing back thicker, but it will soften as the hair grows longer. And no, waxing your upper lip doesn’t cause lip lines, but pursing lips, sipping from straws, smoking, talking, chewing and sun damage do!”
MYTH: Drinking water helps prevent dry skin.
TRUTH: “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,” says Laurie Hayes (Facial Rejuvenation Center). “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. To combat dry skin, use an exfoliant and moisturizer. An exfoliant gets rid of dead skin cells so skincare products don’t remain 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: Makeup and tinted moisturizers with an SPF are enough sun protection.
TRUTH: “In order to get the SPF listed on the bottle, you would need to apply a thimbleful of foundation or tinted moisturizer! The SPF decreases over the day as well, so relying solely on makeup isn’t enough protection if you’re out much of the day,” says Robin (Apropos Advanced Skin Care & Day Spa). “Apply a moisturizing sunscreen underneath foundation. A touch up with a mineral powder foundation with SPF can help keep you protected — and wear a hat or stay under cover if out more than 30 minutes!”
Now you have the facts, so take care of your skin accordingly. Thanks to our experts for setting the record straight!
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