Here’s the deal—you can’t believe everything you hear. Not convinced? Well, we’re here to dispel six of the most persistent skincare myths out there.
Skin Myth #1: It’s safe if I work up a “base tan” before tanning
Let’s get one thing straight—there’s no such thing as a “safe” tan. Tanned skin is the result of excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is massively damaging to the skin. It increases free radical activity in the cell plasma membrane that ultimately activates the transcription factors that encourage the negative genes leading to skin cell damage. When these transcription factors are activated, they produce and release collagen-digesting proteins that result in micro-scarring within the dermis. And yep, you guessed it—these micro-scars lead to macro-scarring, which is basically known as the “birth of a wrinkle.”
Skin Myth #2: Blackheads are just debris trapped in pores
False. The stimulation of the oil glands results in changes, such as the clogging of the pores and increased secretion of the pro-inflammatory fatty acids. The end result? Blackheads, acne, and the list goes on.
One of the main culprits for blackheads and acne is a rise in insulin levels. When our blood sugar and insulin levels increase—whether from poor diet or stress—so do inflammatory chemicals at the cellular level. This leads to worsened blackheads, acne and other inflammatory diseases.
Skin Myth #3: Men tend to break out more than women
Sorry, ladies—not true. In fact, an increasing number of women are reporting more breakouts later in life; beyond the teen years most commonly associated with acne. Acne in part is caused by cortisol and other adrenal steroids, which can act as androgens and stimulate the sebaceous (oil) glands, resulting in an acne flare-up.
The difference between men and women is that men are not affected by high levels of androgens in the same way that women are.
While men may be affected by stress and the pro-inflammatory cortisol response, women suffer from both the cortisol-sugar-insulin connection and the effect of the male-type hormones. They’re also more susceptible to adrenal hormone stimulation because most of the women’s androgens are synthesized in the adrenal glands.
Your best bet is to keep your skin clean, choose oil-free products and follow the anti-inflammatory diet.
Skin Myth #4: All sunscreens work the same way
Nope, unfortunately not the case. There are two main types of sunscreens—chemical and physical (also known as “natural” sunscreens). We generally recommend staying away from chemical sunscreens, as they can cause allergic reactions and/or irritate the skin. On top of that, they can also start to decompose in the presence of UV rays and and lose effectiveness, which means they must be applied continuously and may still leave the skin vulnerable to damage.
A number of studies also indicate that chemical sunscreens can penetrate the skin, getting into the bloodstream and potentially causing harm to your body, while the breakdown of these can also form additional harmful chemicals.
So when looking for a sunscreen, look for one formulated with a non-chemical, broad spectrum, UVA/UVB protection.
Skin Myth #5: I need to scrub my skin to exfoliate 2-3 times per week
Put the harsh scrubs down and step away from the sink. Repeat, put the harsh scrubs down! We recommend keeping any sort of bead or scrub far away from your skin, as these small granules are too large to penetrate into your pores and inevitably end up scratching the skin’s surface, which can result in thinner, more papery skin over time.
Instead, diligent cleansing is key to help eliminate surface debris, dead skin cells and makeup, revealing skin that feels younger and looks positively glowing. Chemical exfoliators—such as Blue Plasma—will gently exfoliate skin and can be used on a daily basis.
Skin Myth #6: My skin is dry because I’m dehydrated
It kind of seems like it should work that way, right? But actually, dry skin is a manifestation of chronic sub-clinical (meaning invisible to the eye) inflammation.
With this in mind, here’s where our Three-Tiered Solution comes in to save the day. You can help counter the causes of dry, flakey skin internally through a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet boosted by antioxidant-rich supplements and topical skincare solutions that contain alpha lipoic acid (ALA), which works synergistically with other antioxidants in the skin to help reduce inflammation.
It’s also important to make sure you have adequate intake of healthy fats such as those found in fish, fish oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc. While topicals can do wonders for the appearance and health of your skin, don’t forget the role dietary components can also play, as they can both cause and worsen all of these conditions.
And there you have it—six of the most common skin myths we often encounter, debunked. Which one were you most surprised by?