With so much true and false information about skin care available, it can be hard to keep any of it straight. To help you sort through the information, I want to help you understand some important facts related to skin care. Hopefully, these 5 facts will help you feel confident in your own skin care routine and/or treatment.
Skin Care FAQs
FAQ #1. Acne is not caused by dirty skin.
Acne is the result of
- changes in, and overproduction of, oil,
- clogging of pores,
- bacterial or yeast action, and
Oil causes dead skin cells to stick together rather than slough out of the pores as they should. Washing your face often does not prevent this from happening and may actually aggravate your complexion by drying out skin. Over-washing or scrubbing the skin too hard can irritate the skin and create openings for bacteria to infect acne, making it worse.
The best way to combat acne is to use products that target the problems:
Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne causing bacteria and helps dead cells slough off and out of the pores to treat blackheads. The simplest way to use benzoyl peroxide is with a Foaming Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cleanser that also removes oil while leaving a layer of medicated benzoyl peroxide on your skin. I especially love this treatment for back and chest acne where I combine it with pyrithione zinc to address the yeast germ that commonly plays a role in truncal acne. These ingredients are combined in my Back Acne Kit.
Facial acne responds best to a combination of the keratolytics salicylic acid to penetrate oily pores and glycolic acid. Medicated cleansers are the easiest way to apply these. Follow washing by applying a topical Benzoyl Peroxide Cream to acne prone skin. Then prevent skin dryness and hyperpigmentation with an acne-friendly moisturizer and sunscreen. My Ultimate Acne Solutions Kit takes the guess work out of facial acne treatment by giving you everything you need for success in clearing acne.
FAQ #2. There is a yeast that normally lives peacefully on our skin but that can sometimes cause trouble.
One issue that some people fall victim to is seborrheic dermatitis aka dandruff. It can lead to redness, flaking and itching of the scalp, ears, face, back and chest. Seborrheic dermatitis is associated with an overgrowth of Pityrosporum yeast, also called Malassezia. Pyrithione zinc helps suppress this yeast. Foaming Zinc Cleanser is the strongest form of pyrithione zinc you can buy. It is an excellent shampoo and body cleanser to help fight seborrhea. It can be drying for facial skin so Calming Zinc Soap is fortified with the same full 2% pyrithione zinc in a soap more appropriate for your face.
FAQ #3. Dry skin is not prevented or treated by drinking water.
If drinking water hydrated your skin from the inside out then taking a bath would quench your thirst from the outside in. Skin doesn't work that way because it is a strong barrier. Dry skin is dry because the outer dead skin cell layer is damaged and can't hold water.
What are the main causes of dry skin?
- Damage to skin barrier lipids due to harsh soaps or contacts with solvents that strip lipids.
- Excessive water loss from exposure to cold and harsh weather and dehumidified air.
- Ageing changes to skin structure that weaken skin barrier.
- Genetic inherited weakness in skin barrier such as atopic dermatitis type of eczema.
How do you treat dry skin?
- Always apply a good moisturizer daily after washing your skin. For the body I prefer my Natural Lotion which is fragrance free and rich in the right botanical oils to heal and prevent dry skin. For the face I recommend my Daily Moisturizing Face Cream. For hands I recommend my Dry Skin Hand Cream that is deeply hydrating and never greasy.
- Use only mild soaps and cleansers to cleanse your skin and rinse all cleanser off entirely so it does not continue to remove skin barrier lipids. For face, I prefer a pH balanced cleanser such as my Extremely Gentle Cleanser. For the body, I prefer my Naturally Best Bar Soap.
FAQ #4. Sun damage can be caused even when you’re indoors.
Being indoors does NOT protect you from the sun. UV rays come in two forms: UVA and UVB. UVB is blocked by windows, but UVA is not. UVA is the most important contributor of wrinkles, and UVB (and to a lesser degree UVA) is the most important contributor of skin cancer.
See this impressive picture of unilateral dermatoheliosis from someone who had so much sun exposure from driving in a truck for years on end that one side of the face looks dramatically older than the other.
Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen even when indoors! Apply it every morning as you prepare for your day. I recommend only zinc oxide mineral sunscreens. Find the one that's right for you in my sunscreen collection here.
Blackheads are also known as “open comedones.” Whiteheads, conversely are called “closed comedones." Both are caused by pores getting clogged with dead skin and sebum (oil).
Blackheads appear black because the melanin pigment in the plug gets oxidized by oxygen (a chemical reaction) and the result is a dark color. Blackheads are not black because they are plugged with dirt!
Whiteheads are slightly deeper and often covered by a layer of skin so they do not have the same chance to get oxidized.