As a board-certified dermatologist, I often hear my patients repeat skin care myths that they have heard from friends, family, or even online sources. In this article, I will debunk the top 10 skin care myths that I hear most often in my practice.
Myth #1: Washing your face more often will prevent acne.
Fact: Over-washing your face can actually strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. This can worsen acne, rather than preventing it. It is important to cleanse your face gently once or twice a day using a non-irritating, pH-balanced cleanser.
Myth #2: Using hot water will open up pores.
Fact: Pores do not open or close. Hot water can actually strip the skin of its natural oils and cause irritation, leading to dryness and possibly worsening acne. It is best to use lukewarm water when cleansing your face.
Myth #3: Toothpaste is an effective acne treatment.
Fact: Toothpaste is not formulated for use on the skin and can actually cause irritation and dryness. It is not an effective acne treatment and should not be used on the skin.
Myth #4: Tanning beds are safer than the sun.
Fact: Tanning beds are not safe. They emit ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. It is important to protect your skin from UV rays by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade when the sun is strongest.
Myth #5: You can’t get a sunburn on a cloudy day.
Fact: UV rays can penetrate clouds and reach your skin, so it is important to protect your skin from the sun even on cloudy days.
Myth #6: You can’t get a sunburn in the winter.
Fact: While the sun may not be as strong in the winter months, it is still important to protect your skin from UV rays. Snow and ice can reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your risk of sunburn.
Myth #7: Blackheads are caused by dirt.
Fact: Blackheads are caused by excess oil and dead skin cells that clog pores. Proper cleansing and exfoliation can help prevent blackheads, but it is not necessary to scrub your skin excessively in an attempt to remove them.
Myth #8: You can’t get a sunburn through your car window.
Fact: UV rays can penetrate car windows and reach your skin, so it is important to protect your skin while driving. This is especially important on long car rides, as you may be exposed to the sun’s rays for an extended period of time.
Myth #9: You can’t get a sunburn when it’s cloudy.
Fact: As mentioned earlier, UV rays can penetrate clouds and reach your skin, so it is important to protect your skin from the sun even on cloudy days.
Myth #10: You don’t need to wear sunscreen if you have dark skin.
Fact: It is important for people of all skin tones to protect their skin from UV rays. While people with darker skin have a natural SPF of 13-15, it is still important to use sunscreen to protect against the damaging effects of UV rays and to prevent skin cancer.
In conclusion, it is important to be aware of common skin care myths and to seek reliable information from a licensed dermatologist. Proper skin care involves using non-irritating, pH-balanced products and protecting your skin from UV rays. Don’t believe everything you hear or read (heck, even here – be sure to do your research and seek out a board-certified dermatologist like myself). Happy Myth Hunting!