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8 Common Dermatologic Myths

By Ross Levy, MD FAAD | Dermatology, Laser and Dermatologic Surgery

1. Soap is bad for the skin.

Soap which should be expanded to include cleansers contain surfactants that are essential for facial care. Water alone cannot rid the skin of excessive oils and dirt and grime that we encounter each day.  For a bright and shiny complexion, do not be afraid of cleaning your skin at least twice per day.

2. Dry skin will lead to or encourage wrinkling.  

Dry skin does not cause wrinkles.   The wrinkles that most of us develop are due to sun exposure and sun damage.

Additionally, smoking, smiling, laughing, frowning are the other culprits. We all need to smile, laugh and talk, but eliminate smoking and make sure to wear sunscreen.

3. Drinking lots of water is the key to good skin.

The body tells you how much water it needs or doesn’t need.  The kidneys are very well tuned to regulate our water needs. Water is certainly important for our general health, but more is not better for your skin.

4. Pores can be made to be smaller.

Genetics. Genetics . Genetics.  We certainly can be good to our pores and keep them open and allowing them to do their biological job. Cleansing and often the use of Tretinoin ( generic of Retin-A ) can make the pores appear smaller, but the truth is that they are what they are and cannot be adjusted.

5. We all need to moisturize!

Common sense dictates here. The cosmetic companies and the salespeople at cosmetic counters want to sell products.  Certainly there are times when we do need to moisturize, but it should not be  a  knee -jerk response. If the skin has been dry, scratchy, or red then perhaps a moisture cream will be indicated. Another point is that our skin is very different during a cold winter than in a hot/humid summer.  Sunscreen makes more sense than a daily moisturizer.

6. I am too old to start using sunscreen.

It’s never too late. Even though much of the damage that we do to our skin has been done by our 20’s, you still can slow or halt the progression of sun-damage. If you don’t use sunscreen, make today the first day that you do.

7. Washing your hair frequently can contribute to hair loss.

This is not at the case.  The scalp is skin and needs to be cleansed. Washing does not cause or contribute to any hair loss process.

8. The more expensive the cream, the greater the benefit.

This is hogwash!  Value often has nothing to do with price. Certainly this is as true in the cream and lotion world as well. You often are paying for advertising and pretty containers, but the product may not be any better than the more economical one.

 

Look out for more common dermatologic myths in future president’s blog posts.