Your Beautiful Body

MythBusters Skincare Edition: It’s Time to Clarify Some Things Once and For All

Dr. Heather Rogers
Check that sunblock expiration date ASAP.

When it comes to your skin, you don’t want to mess around. There are many theories, myths and assumptions that we make about our skin and what the healthiest, most beneficial methods of care are. Dr. Heather Rogers, our board certified Dermatologist out of Seattle is here to set the record straight on 5 skincare myths. Take note.

The higher the SPF, the better the protection. False.

An SPF of 50 means you can stay in the sun 50 times longer than you could without it before burning. But it does not take in account that sunscreen starts to break down as soon as it is applied to the skin. No matter the SPF you use, it still needs to be reapplied every 2 to 3 hours when outside soaking up those rays. Further, SPF only describes protection from UVB rays, the sunburn rays that also damage your skin’s DNA, but the sun also has UVA rays that penetrate the skin more deeply causing wrinkles, brown spots and DNA damage.

Instead of looking for a product with the highest SPF, look for a product with an SPF of 30 that is labeled with UVA and UVB protection or broad spectrum. Hunt until you find one that you like enough to reapply. The best, broadest protection comes from zinc oxide. It used to make you look like a clown but now there are many great products from creams, to sprays and powders. I use a 15% zinc based sunscreen every day on my face.

I use a 15% zinc based sunscreen every day on my face.

It’s better just to pop a pimple. Weirdly satisfying, but definitely False.

The truth is, even though it feels really good to pop it, a lot can go wrong when we start picking. We often pick too much, creating a bigger wound for our body to heal. And when we squeeze it we can push some of the pus deeper into the skin causing more inflammation.

Natural ingredients are better for skin. False.

In the beauty world the term natural can mean almost anything, and is loosely regulated at best. There’s no scientific legitimacy proving “natural” or “organic” ingredients are better for skin. In fact, some “natural” ingredients actually do more harm than good. They too can be a source of irritation and allergy. For those with sensitive skin, fewer ingredients are better than many, and look for products that are hypoallergenic, too.

Everyone needs an eye cream separate from their facial moisturizer. False.

Eye creams are typically more expensive than face creams with fewer anti-aging ingredients because eye skin is sensitive. Most people can simply use their face cream around their eyes. Eye creams are helpful for people with oily skin who do not use a heavy moisturizer or a specific eye problem like dark circles or puffiness where a target treatment could help, but don’t expect miracles. Be careful not to use too much cream around the eye area as it can cause puffiness and irritation.

If I Get a Base Tan I Won’t Get a Sunburn. So very, very False.

No, no, no! There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Tanning is the skin’s response to injury from the radiation of the sun. Your skin cells tan only after the damage to your DNA has begun in an attempt to protect itself from further injury. Tanning bed users are 75% more likely to develop melanoma, 150% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, and 250% more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma because of the increased exposure to UV light. These are not numbers to be taken lightly.

Share the knowledge, take care of your skin!