Face and Body Myths

After the better part of over three decades in this industry, a lot of myths have entered my ears.

Some are humorous and always taken with a grain of salt; others should also be taken with the same seriousness, but quite often aren’t.

Let’s dive in and try to dispel some of these myths.

Higher SPF Is Better

Research in the past 26 years has shown that the ozone has depleted by 3%. What that comes out to is an estimate that there will a 6% increase in skin cancers. Yes, this is true, higher SPF sun-blockers are better, but the difference between a 15 SPF and 30 SPF is 2 to 4 percent. You want to look for a UVA and UVB blocker that includes antioxidants and a minimum of at least 30 SPF; we tell everyone to shoot for 50 SPF. At this point zinc oxide and titanium oxide as the body does not detect as foreign to human tissue.

Alcohol Ingredients in Products are No Good

Natural versus man-made; which products are good and which ones aren’t; just a few questions regarding if alcohol ingredients in your products are good. Alcohol-based emollients are tricky products to pin down, but one fact should be known, alcohol ingredients can decrease water loss. Benzyl, cetyl and oleyl alcohol are good examples of emollient feeling ingredients. The debate is out there, but when moisture is a key factor in the health of your skin, keep this in mind.

You Should Get a Base Tan Before Vacation

The thought is that if you get a base tan before flying to that tropical beach, you won’t burn as bad.

As far as the body is concerned a tan is a scar, no way around that! A half hour in a tanning bed is equal to a weeks worth of UVA rays.

My advice is to get always protection. Reapplying your sun-block every 1 ½ to 2 hours and than at the end of the day, measure how the product works in conjunction with your environment.

What is Best for Shelf Life of Products?

I recommend trying to use up your products within a year. Even with preservatives, A, C and E vitamins can lose their potency if they receive any sunlight.

Vitamin E Helps Prevent Scarring

There has been no definitive research that upholds the idea that Vitamin-E helps with scars.

Nighttime Repair of the Skin

Some products tout that their products will be better for repair in the evening. A good night’s rest cannot be beat specially in terms of stress – which can slow the natural collagen production, but in terms of repair, nighttime versus daytime is not likely a determining factor.

Wrinkles and the Role of Antioxidants

Our three favorite ingredients for age management skin care products are: vitamin A, antioxidants, and peptides.

In terms of antioxidants alone they help prevent free radical damage, but they will not make wrinkles go away.

The mechanism for dissolving wrinkles is a lot more intricate than just one component.

Natural and Organic Ingredients – Are they More Effective?

This is a big discussion because of the current state of affairs regarding organic versus not.

The issue is the lack of consistency in labeling, and research with some of these available products. Our experience is that formulations that are higher functioning have not come up the ranks yet. An apple is a chemical. Oils don’t hydrate, essential oils can be too stimulating, and some oils are more stimulating than others so because of that people who experience rosacea, sensitive, or acne have to be more vigilant with ingredients.

In general, we find dermatology-based products tend to work best for sensitive-rosacea-acne. If you burn, itch, or feel dry you’re probably allergic.

Cleansers should not tend to make the skin dry or tight, moisturizers should feel like you can get thru the day and not need to reapply, and pore size can be an indicator as to whether or not your product is too rich or not enough. Synthetic compounds can actually be identical to naturally occurring compounds.

There are more than 1,300 non-approved, or illegal ingredients for use in Europe and about half that in Canada where in the US there is less than 15. The classic ones are talc, parabens, toluene, phalates, and sulphates.

What we have found is that there are more products in competition with each other. The hype is mass produced…and then onto the next magic ingredient. Marketing will drive ingredients.

At this time, some of the natural and organic products can run 400 to 1000 percent markup because going clean is “in”.

As the dust settles hopefully, we will see products that are not just a trend but formulations that will stand the test of time.

Packaging – How Important

When it comes to certain types of products, packaging can be an important factor.

We tend to not like wide mouth containers because you’re dipping your hands into it for generally a length of time so that bacteria may be an issue.

The glass containers that are amber or blue will help protect the product from breaking down due to UV rays. Vacuum packed containers will for sure be a better bet with maintaining potency over a jar with a lid.


Are not black because of dirt but because of oxidized oil. What most tend to do is try to make the surface dry and in order to help remove/keep these blemishes away is exfoliation and hydration. The oil needs emulsifying or broken up and then removal of the dead skin. Many blackhead products tend to dry or only take off the top level while the rest of the plug is in the pore.

Facial Exercising

There are massage treatments, machine pulses, etc. that tout tightening the skin but the face is the only part of the body where the muscles are attached directly to the skin – no ligament attachment so if you think about it ..wrinkles form around expression lines.

Collagen and Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid

Lots of people get excited when they see these ingredients in a product. Sorry, they are different forms of hydration, they “reduce the appearance of” that you hear so much about but they do not change collagen and elastin formation.

Pores Open and Close

Pores become pores based on genetic tendencies, oil flow, and how the surface of the skin has been treated.

For example, over drying or over moisturizing.

Once the pore becomes a certain size it is likely to stay that way. Pore size can be an indicator that you may need to think about switching formulations.

Many clients as they mature complain about pore size. We find it is usually is a question of the tissue being dehydrated, and because of aging, there is a tendency for more redness (broken capillaries). Redness to me indicates a possible tendency for sensitivity and heat. The middle of the forehead, nose and cheeks are the usual areas of concern.

Drying Skin Out if Oily

Oils do not hydrate. If you over dry your tissue,  it’s more likely to keep your pores looking large and your zits staying longer.

It’s all about balance. The difficult part is that products cannot usually tell you if it’s going to be either too drying or too heavy of an oil.

As you mature, breaking out is usually hormonal which means oil is not usually the bad guy.

Cucumbers Reduce Puffiness

Cucumber are 90% water and the rest is fiber. Although it can feel soothing, use cold compresses instead. Dark Circles under eyes are usually inherited. The tissue is thin. I recommend some options are taking an antihistamine the day before and day of event. Make sure tissue is hydrated slightly elevate your bed – for example putting a rolled blanket between the box spring and mattress. And eye products in general can temporarily eliminate some of the darkness, but not likely be able to change for the long run.

Mineral Oil is Bad

There are many grades of mineral oils, and many medical grade oils are used in dermatological products. They are non-comedogenic (not pore clogging) and can emulsify sebum, and can prevent water loss. There are also no vitamins that are lost thru the skin and is one of the most common ingredients in skin care products.

Chocolate and Greasy Foods equal Acne

We are acne specialists, and judging from what we have available there is no definitive proven guide that says greasy food and chocolate are a problem.

Obviously, anyone that is experiencing acne, rosacea, dermatitis, eczema, etc. would be an indicator that inflammation is
You may have heard that eating greasy foods and candy can cause an acne breakout. Though there are some links between diet and acne, the relationship isn’t quite what you may think it is.

Thankfully, we are beginning to look at our gut health.

Greasy foods may be off the hook, but there could be other diet culprits behind your acne breakouts.

Vitamin A, Thins the Skin

Vitamin A comes in many forms like Retinol, Retinoic Acid, Retinaldehyde, Retinyl Palmitate, and Retinyl Propionate. Each type of retinol has a distinct reaction within the dermis. In general, Vitamin A is stored and is necessary for the formation of healthy blood cells in the bone morrow as well as making bones healthy; Vitamin A is essential for every cell of the body. Most of the Vitamin A is normally found in the skin in the form of Retinyl Palmitate.

In general, because of the different forms, most Vitamin A is intended to build, not too thin.

Anti-Aging can be Reversed Quickly

Imagine how many products you’ve been looking at thru your lifetime. It takes time to age and it takes time for any product to work. We usually recommend one at a time so you can see and feel what the product does. In order for reversal, it works better if you are aware of what your goals and concerns are. As an esthetician, we think of those that lay down for their first facial, knowing that some will think the presto thought of an instant change.

At home care, in our opinion, is an important first step. Figure what you are willing to invest in terms of treatments and what will bring you the best benefit for the amount of money you are willing to invest.