Top Skin Care Mistakes and Myths
As a dermatologist, I’ve seen many people working hard to take good care of their skin but falling for some of the big myths and mistakes that seem to have a life of their own. Let me share some of the most common:
What are the most common mistakes people often make with their skincare routine?
The two most common mistakes are:
1. Using a soap or cleanser that is too harsh for their skin.
Skin needs to retain its structural lipids to stay healthy. Soap removes them. Your skin-cleansing routine should remove only excess oil, product and dirt but not strip the deeper lipids in your skin’s outer, dead-cell layer called the stratum corneum.
I prefer pH balanced facial cleansers for face cleansing. Click here to see the facial cleansers I trust.
Choose your cleansers carefully, and use them only where you need them. - Dr. Bailey
For example, arms and legs are often not so soiled or dirty to need lathering; often, the simple rinsing of soap used to cleanse from your face, neck, chest, and armpits will cleanse your arms. To see the body cleansers I trust click here.
The same applies to your legs. The rule of thumb is, if your skin feels tight and dry when it dries after washing, you’ve over-stripped your important, structural skin lipids.
2. Learning about skin care from product advertisements.
They are spinning a story to sell you products. Learn about skin care and treatment of your skin problems from credible sources. This applies to moisturizing, anti-aging skin care, acne care, facial redness, etc.
People often want radiant, soft, moisturized skin and go about it with expensive products that claim to hold rare ingredients, or mediocre products with cleaver advertising campaigns.
What is the best way to get radiant and dewy skin fast?
Radiant and dewy skin can be achieved with exfoliation followed by application of a product that locks water to the outer, skin layer.
- Exfoliation is often a combination of physical (for example, a rough scrub or shower cloth) used on moist skin in the shower. This removes rough, dead cells that give skin a dull appearance.
- Then, within the magic three minutes after toweling skin dry, apply a hydrating moisturizer with ingredients that lock in water. These can include hyaluronic acid, PCA, glycerin, and oils.
Some great choices to hold water inside your skin for a dewy radiant glow include:
Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum (loaded with fractionated hyaluronic acid and other water binders). I like to apply this right after washing and under my facial moisturizer.
Daily Moisturizing Face Cream (loaded with ceramides and squalane). I use this daily over my serums.
Natural Face and Body Lotion (made from natural botanical oils). This is a great head-to-toe moisturizer for those wanting truly natural skin care or who are minimalist with their skin care routine!
What are some secrets people might not know (that a dermatologist does) about properly caring for one's skin?
First, sunscreen needs to be truly broad-spectrum meaning it blocks UVA and UVB.
It also needs re-application if you are depending on it for sun protection, especially if you are using a chemical UV-filter. Those are all of the ones that are not zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Of the two mineral filters just mentioned, zinc is far superior for broad-spectrum protection. My Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreens are truly broad-spectrum and pure mineral sunscreens. I have a range of products for all skin types and activities.
Second, big molecule actives don’t get into skin.
For example, using a collagen cream won’t add collagen to your skin because molecules of collagen are too big to enter skin. They just sit on the outside and are a waste of money. The same is true for all, big molecules.
Let science guide you in picking active ingredients for anti-aging.
I offer the most effective ingredients to improve facial anti-aging skin concerns.
- I also have products that help counter the signs of skin aging on body, arm and leg skin.
These products and routines include ingredients proven by science to get into skin to stimulate your skin’s cells to make collagen — ingredients such as retinol, Vitamin C and glycolic acid, for example. These ingredients need to be formulated into products correctly to work. Professional-grade products are more likely to be correctly formulated.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about skin care?
My two favorite skin care myths are that:
- The price of a product equals the benefits.
- Only celebrities and the rich and famous have access to the best skin care.
If you do your homework, and learn about skin health and your skin problems from credible sources, you can create your own skin-care routine that will really work for you!
My third favorite myth deserves it’s own focus - that’s the concept of skin hydration!
How does hydration fit into the equation of healthy skin?
The concept of "hydration" is different for your skin than it is for your overall physiology. Skin hydration has to happen from the outside because the skin-barrier function is absolute. If not, your body’s fluids would be seeping out through your skin constantly!
What this means is that drinking more water won’t make any difference to skin hydration, unless you are so severely dehydrated that you are faint and ill. Only then, is skin visibly crepey and flaccid from physiologic dehydration. Drinking adequate water is good for healthy, overall physiology. A healthy body has a better complexion. That’s the connection to water and skin appearance – not dehydration.
Think of this from the reverse perspective. Does taking a bath quench your thirst? No, it doesn’t because the skin is a barrier, keeping the inside in and the outside out. Skin dryness that you see is happening on the outside of this barrier.
Yes, the skin dryness that you see on a daily basis is all dehydration that is happening on the outside of your skin’s important barrier layer (called the stratum corneum).
This barrier, and the underlying living cell-layer, called the epidermis, keeps your inside physiology in and the outside world out. When broken, the barrier fails to do this, as well. It begins to look dry and rough, and eventually, there is redness, scale and chafing.
Your skin has to be properly hydrated from the outside to maintain healthy, barrier integrity. Hydrate skin daily with a good moisturizer matched to your skin type. Apply this within the magic, three minutes after toweling dry so that it locks in water to the barrier to maintain soft, dewy skin tone and texture.