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Skin Care Myths - Busted!

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Skin Care Myths - Busted!

Summer is here, which means your skin will be exposed to more sun. With that in mind, what level of SPF do you need? This question, like many, often comes to surface when thinking about your skin. You may have heard a few old wives’ tales, but we get to the bottom of some common skin care myths.

From sunscreen to wrinkles, learn how to debunk common skin care myths.

Myth: The higher the SPF, the better.
This is true. The higher the sun protection factor (SPF), the more protection you have against skin cancer and photo aging. However, while the SPF is an important indication of protection against UVB rays, it does not entirely address how well your skin is protected against UVA rays. UVA rays make up more than 90 percent of the ultraviolet radiation hitting the earth and penetrate through glass and into the deeper layers of our skin—thus contributing to skin cancer, wrinkles and broken blood vessel formation.

In order to combat both rays, it’s essential that we apply broad spectrum sunscreen or sun block often, thick and to all exposed areas of our skin. Research shows that people only apply ¼ to ½ of the amount required to achieve the actual SPF indicated on the label. Thus, if one is applying an SPF of 100, they are likely only getting coverage for SPF of 25-50 because of the inadequate amount applied. We recommend that people wear a daily SPF of 30 or more. If venturing out into the sun for a long period of time, make sure that you use an SPF of at least 50 and reapply every one to two hours.

Myth: Expensive skin care is the best.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get good skin care. There are definitely effective skin care products on the market that are more expensive, but to receive optimal skin health there are many cost-saving options.

When you wake up in the morning, you need to protect your skin from the daily ultraviolet radiation you are exposed to. A few products that we recommend for daily application: Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 ($15), Elta MD UV Daily SPF 40 ($25), and Vanicream Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 60 ($20). You can also add an anti-oxidant product in the morning but this can add cost (Revale Intense Recovery Serum $150 or SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF $100 are two of my favorite products).

At night, it’s important to repair your skin. If your skin can tolerate a prescription strength topical retinoid, then your dermatologist is key to getting you on this agent properly. Over-the-counter topical retinoids include RoC Retinol Deep Wrinkle Night and Serum ($25) and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream ($20). Affordable moisturizers include Oil of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream ($25) and Cetaphil Lotion or Cream ($15). Again, you can add products that contain peptides, growth factors and other key anti-aging ingredients; but these can be costly. Two products that are great are SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum ($150) and Tensage Intensive Ampoules followed by its Advanced Cream ($100). They are worth the extra splurge if you are not on a budget!

Myth: Products can erase wrinkles.
The truth is: It’s always easier to prevent a wrinkle than to treat it. This is the same concept our founder, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, uses when explaining the role of preventive medicine. Since we cannot necessarily alter our genetics determining how we age, we should do our best to act against the extrinsic factors contributing to aging. This mainly includes sun protection and not smoking. Other factors adding to aging and skin issues are a poor diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and poor stress management. There is no cream that can correct these problems. Here are my recommendations for dealing with wrinkles through the decades:

  • 20s: Start good skin care and do not sunbathe or use tanning beds.
  • 30s: Talk to your dermatologist about possible Botox and fillers.
  • 40s and 50s plus: Consider the option of surgical procedures and laser treatments.

The bottom line is if you start good skin care early, you won’t have as many damages later.

To learn more about Cooper Clinic Dermatology services, click here or call 972.367.6000.