Friday, August 20, 2010

Skin Care Myths Explained

From old wife’s tales about stretch marks to urban legends, the myths and stories about skin care that some believe to be true have many an expert confounded.Five common skin care myths are explained below.

1. Prepare your skin for summer sun on a tanning bed. Tanning beds are dangerous because of the concentrated UVA rays they emit. These are the same rays you get from the sun that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Getting a light tan on the sun bed does not protect your skin from further damage, it just means you have already exposed it to harmful rays. Tanning does not produce more melanin in the skin, it just brings it to the surface.

2. You can prevent stretch marks with olive oil. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can apply to your skin to prevent the appearance of stretch marks. A healthy diet, good hydration and regular exercise will improve the elasticity of your skin. Stretch marks occur when the sub-surface splits due to over-stretching, such as when you gain excessive weight or are pregnant.

3. A higher SPF lasts longer in the sun. This is another dangerous myth. The difference in protection offered by an SPF of 15 and one of 40 is only 3%, so a higher SPF does not significantly increase your protection. It does not last longer, because the cream is exactly the same, and sweats or washes off the same no matter what the SPF. It is far more important to remember to apply sunscreen all over your body before you go into the sun, and re-apply it regularly, whether you have been swimming or not.

4. People with dark skin tones don’t need sunscreen. Not only is this hogwash, it is very dangerous. Increased levels of melanin cause darker skin tones. Although darker complexions, such as olive toned Mediterranean or Negro ancestry, results in higher concentrations of melanin, it does not make one impervious to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Although the risk for skin cancers from sun exposure is slightly less than someone with a fair complexion, it is still present for those with darker skin tones. All must avail themselves of sunscreen protection prior to exposing themselves to harmful rays.

5. Chocolate causes acne. This is one of the most common myths. Food products do not cause acne. Your skin regularly sheds dead cells. In acne, these shed cells can stick together, blocking gland openings, which causes a backup of naturally occurring oils. Then bacteria on the dermis will take advantage of the eruption, making the condition worse. A nutritionally balanced diet will promote overall health, including the dermis, but a single food is never the cause of an acne blow up.

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