These days, it’s difficult to know who and what to believe when it comes to skin care. Google searches yield thousands of articles with contradictory information. Some so-called beauty experts claim to have the answers, but lack the credentials to back them up.
Your skin is the first thing you present to the world, so you want the most up-to-date (and accurate!) information available. And that’s why it’s always best to rely on information backed by dermatologists and estheticians… like the Pretty Pimple! Our founder, Dr. Sandra Lee — aka Dr. Pimple Popper — is here to help you separate skin facts from skin fiction.
Skin Myth: You only need sunscreen when you’re going to be in the sun
Did you know that sunburns, premature aging, and skin cancer are ALL caused by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays?! When the sun is behind the clouds you may feel like you’re safe from sun damage and therefore skip the sunscreen, but beware: Up to 80% of UV rays go through clouds. Yep, it’s true!
Partly cloudy days are perhaps the most dangerous. Why? Because more UV radiation reaches the earth’s surface when it’s partly cloudy than on a clear day. Scientists suspect this is because the sun’s rays bounce off the clouds or are redirected by thin clouds and become more concentrated.
“The sun is especially potent when it reflects onto other surfaces, like water or snow, so it’s very important to apply SPF all the time, but especially when you’re skiing or out on the water. You can even get sun through windows!” reminds Dr. Pimple Popper herself.
No matter the weather, make sunscreen or a lotion with SPF 15 or higher part of your daily routine… and up the SPF if you’re going to be outside. SLMD’s Daily Moisturizer is the perfect moisturizer & sunscreen hybrid!
Skin Myth: Using hot water to wash your face will open and cleanse your pores.
It may feel good to run hot water over your face, but you’re not doing your skin any favors when you turn that heat up. Despite what you’ve heard, the temperature of the water you use doesn’t have any effect on your pores.
What does have an impact is steam. According to Dr. Lee, “Steam can help loosen debris within your pores, and help dilate them somewhat, whereas hot water won’t necessarily do this.”
Don’t get the two confused, because you may end up drying out your skin — hot water softens your skin’s natural barrier and washes away your skin’s natural protection: oil! This can easily lead to dryness and irritation. Lukewarm water is recommended for washing your face and your bod. Warm, not too hot, temps will leave your skin clean… without depleting it of natural moisture.
Skin Myth: You ONLY get pimples because your skin is dirty
Do you wash your face twice a day, yet still get pimples on a regular basis? This is because break outs are caused by multiple factors — and dirt is only a minor one. Acne is caused by clogged pores, hormones, food sensitivities, stress, and underlying medical conditions… not because your skin isn’t clean enough.
Dr. Lee has some important insight: “You CAN get pimples because your skin is dirty or occluded, but, in general, people with pimples don’t have dirty skin.” It’s a common misconception that blackheads are black because of dirt. It’s actually oil, bacteria and dead skin cells that have combined and then oxidized — meaning that delicious concoction has turned black because it’s been exposed to air.
Of course, it’s still important to wash your face twice a day to remove makeup, oil, and other pore clogging substances, but it’s more important to get to the bottom of what is causing your acne… and find a targeted solution.
Need a simple, three-step system to help battle your acne? Check out the SLMD Acne System!
Skin Myth: You should exfoliate every day
“No!” says Dr. Lee. “How often you should exfoliate depends on your skin type. The oilier you are, the more likely you can handle more frequent exfoliation, but you can definitely overdo it.”
There are two types of exfoliators. Physical exfoliants are the most common and contain microbeads or granules that slough off dead skin. While they serve a purpose when used sparingly, the problem with these types of exfoliators is they can spread bacteria across your face and dry out the skin.
The other type of exfoliator comes in the form of acids, and these are called chemical exfoliants. Don’t be intimidated by the name, these exfoliators are actually far gentler. They contain things like glycolic acid or fruit-based enzymes, which dissolve oil and dead skin cells so they can be washed away.
However, even with these gentler products, you can still exfoliate too often! A good rule of thumb is to exfoliate two or three times a week. A bit more if you’ve got oily skin, and definitely less if you’ve got dryer or sensitive skin.
If you’ve got dry skin, you may be tempted to constantly scrub at the dead flakes of skin. We feel you, but it’s more important to moisturize!
Skin Myth: Wrinkles and age spots are genetic
Like anything related to health, genetics are a factor, but your habits are much more important. Things like gender, skin type, and ethnicity are genetic and they do play a role in how you age, but did you know that the sun and the environment are responsible for 80% to 90% of all aging?! That’s more than any other factor combined.
“There are extrinsic and intrinsic factors that lead to aging. Genetics DO play a role, including ethnicity and skin type,” says Dr. Lee. “However, extrinsic factors definitely play a role, too. Interestingly, it’s now known that pollution plays a big role in premature aging, especially lentigines/brown spots. Studies have shown that people living in areas with more pollution show more signs of premature aging.”
Want to decrease your chances of these premature aging spots? Stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen, don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, hydrate, de-stress, and care for your skin. If you live in a city, make sure you’re using products that protect you from free radicals, always applying SPF, and washing your face regularly. Genetics will be there in the background, but statistically you’re in control.
Got dark spots you want to get rid of, stat? Try these 13 ways to tackle dark spots!
Skin Myth: Acne goes away after you turn thirty
“I wish this were true, but it’s just not.” says Dr. Lee. “It’s especially untrue for women, because hormones play such a role in their acne. More women get adult acne, which tends to be cyclical and based on their hormonal cycles.”
It’s very discouraging to continue getting breakouts long after you think they should be gone, but keep in mind you’re not alone. Up to 35% of women over between the ages of 30 and 39 report experiencing acne.
Like Dr. Lee explains, hormones do play a major role, so if you’re getting pimples at the same time every month and they’re deep and painful, you may be coping with hormonal acne. This is one of the most common causes of acne in women over thirty —and it’s also one of the most difficult to treat. If this sounds like you, consider seeing a dermatologist to get to the bottom of it.