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Top Five Skincare Myths Debunked

Dr. Channing Barnett is a board certified Manhattan dermatologist who empathizes with her female patients who feel they are doing everything ‘right’ and still are unsatisfied with the appearance of their skin. What’s more, she often sees patients who feel they are doomed to bad skin based on myths that “you get the genes your parents have.” She seeks to set the record straight on what really does sabotage the skin and dispels the most common myths mothers or the media have passed on to their daughters.

Here are some of her top skincare myths:

Myth #1: Your skin will age just like your mom’s.

The reality: Sure, genetics play a role in how your skin looks, from the size of your pores to its texture and color. But banking on aging like your mom or grandmother is a big mistake. Habits make more of a difference than genetics. The biggest culprit in aging is sun exposure, and your drinking, smoking, stress, and sleep habits play a role, too. Skipping sunscreen, imbibing too often, coping ineffectively with stress, and sleeping on your side or stomach can all exacerbate and create wrinkles, adult acne, and texture changes.

Myth #2: The SPF number tells you how much protection you’re getting from the sun.

The reality: There are two types of damaging sun rays: UVA, which are responsible for aging the skin; and UVB, which are responsible for burning it. The SPF number on a bottle of sunscreen only gives a guide for how much UVB protection the product offers. It doesn’t tell you whether or not the product protects from UVA rays (which are also responsible for melanoma). All sunscreens protect from UVB rays. To fully protect yourself, however, look for a product that contains UVA-blocking ingredients, too, such as zinc or avobenzone (Parsol 1789), and reapply often.

Myth #3: You need a separate sunscreen and moisturizer

The reality: Sunscreens already add moisture to your skin because of their ingredients. So if you have oily skin, you may want to skip the separate moisturizer. For those who prefer to wear both products, apply the moisturizer first; allow to dry, then apply the sunscreen. Either way, be sure to wear sunscreen daily: Every day is sun day, even if it’s cloudy or overcast.

Myth #4: Most of the sun damage you incur happens before age 18

The reality: Recent studies have shown that by age 18, you’ve only accumulated 18 to 23 percent of the sun damage you’ll incur over a lifetime. That means that there’s still time to protect your skin from the sun and put off sun-induced aging. Do this by using sunscreen and products with sun-damage reversing ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol.

Myth #5: Cosmetic creams can turn back time for your skin

The reality: There’s no such thing as a miracle in a bottle. As you age, your facial bones shrink, you lose fat under the skin, and your skin begins to become loose. Rubbing on a cream isn’t going to address these things. What’s more, cosmetic skincare products cannot, by FDA law, include medications, which are the only things that truly change the structure of the skin. What cosmetic creams can do: Temporarily plump up and hydrate your skin. For the best chance at turning back time, see your dermatologist for medications or procedures.

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2 comments

  1. I started to really take care of my skin in my late 20s. Nobody really told me how skincare was so important. Now that I have my own children I am a bit more informed than my mother was so now I could share my knowledge with them. Great post, thanks!

  2. In my younger years I was a struggling student, school full time, two full time jobs, so skin care consisted of washing and make-up in the morning, and washing and make-up free before bed.

    Finally leaving that behind, and getting married shortly after, I had a career, a husband, new home, new life, so again…skin care consisted of washing and make-up in the morning, and washing and make-up free before bed.

    Soon after, my beautiful, amazing, and flawless children entered this world, but unfortunately they were both born with a chronic, disabling life long condition, which kept me busy from..hell… it kept me busy 24 hrs a day!..lol

    Now, the children are living on their own, with supports of course, and here I am, stuck at almost 44, looking in the mirror and going “who the hell is this old chick looking back at me??” Not having a great deal of money to spend on all of these expensive creams and such…am I destined to look like an old hag before my time? I have to admit, its a rather depressing outlook sometimes.

    But, after looking in that mirror and thinking, “Oh good God..help!”. I turn around and look at my two, beautiful, amazing, strong, young adults that I, me, that same old hag I see in that mirror, raised and brought into this world, I think with a smile….every single wrinkle was worth it!

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