Today more than ever, both in adolescence and in adulthood, men and women feel increased pressure to look well-rested, youthful, and attractive. The global personal care and beauty products industry is estimated at nearly $650 billion dollars – and despite the seemingly infinite supply of information about skin care online myths and misinformation about skin health continue to persist. Our experts share their top skin care secrets and reveal the truth behind common skin health myths.
TRUE OR FALSE? YOU SHOULD NEVER POP YOUR PIMPLES.
True: Going out to a party with a big red pimple at the tip of your nose may not sound like your idea of a good time, but popping pimples often comes with undesired consequences and most dermatologists recommend leaving your pimples alone. Popping pimples increases the risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring as well as infection.
TRUE OR FALSE? THE SKIN SHOULD BE EXFOLIATED REGULARLY.
False: Periodic or mild exfoliation can help reduce blemishes and give that skin a “natural glow” but excessive or daily exfoliation can damage the epidermis and also cause breakouts. When it comes to skincare and skin cleansing, focus on gentle soaps or cleaners to remove make up and surface bacteria – don’t overdo it with excessive cleaning or exfoliation – you may do more harm than good.
TRUE OR FALSE? ACNE ONLY AFFECTS ADOLESCENTS.
False: In Canada, about 25% of adult women (and about 3% of adult men) suffer from mild to severe acne. Within the adult population, women between the ages of 25 and 50 are most affected. Adult acne is often heredity and exacerbated by premenstrual hormonal variations and stress. Many experience acne when pregnant as well. But women are not the only ones affected. Among adolescents, boys are as affected as girls by acne. In adult men, acne often occurs on the back or torso.
TRUE OR FALSE? COVERING ACNE WITH MAKEUP MAKES IT WORSE.
False: Makeup can help you feel better and more confident about your appearance during a breakout – and as long as you are using non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products (eg. designed not to clog pores) you can cover acne with makeup without making the condition worse. Make sure to remove makeup and residue at the end of the day using a gentle cleanser. Consult a dermatologist to ensure proper treatment for your skin and type of acne, to avoid permanent scarring.
TRUE OR FALSE? PORES CAN BE “OPENED” TO CLEAN AND THEN “CLOSED” TO PREVENT BLOCKAGES.
False: You may have heard that a steam bath can “open” your pores and a cold shower can close them again. Steam may help facilitate the release of accumulated cutaneous debris. However, there is no muscle around our pores that allow them to “open” or “close”.
TRUE OR FALSE? AS YOU AGE YOU NEED A SUPERIOR QUALITY (AKA EXPENSIVE) FACE CREAM.
False: If you don’t have a particular skin problem you are managing and require moisture, most non-comedogenic face creams sold in pharmacies will do the trick. The price of high end face creams is often driven by the selection of expensive ingredients designed to captivate and entice potential buyers (eg. caviar, or rare wild flower extracts, and expensive fragrances) – you will also pay for expensive packaging and the brand name. When choosing a face cream, don’t be fooled by a high price tag (more expensive doesn’t always mean better quality) – look at the active ingredients. Seek advice from your dermatologist to make an informed choice.
TRUE OR FALSE? ACNE AND BLEMISHES COME WITH THE CHANGE OF SEASONS.
False: Some people may feel their acne is less active during the summer months and flares up when the cooler weather arrives, but from a medical standpoint, acne activity is independent of seasons. It is true however, that UV rays can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that exposure to the sun is not recommended to treat acne, since much more effective treatments are available and because sun exposure significantly increases the risk of skin cancer.
TRUE OR FALSE? PEOPLE WITH ACNE SHOULD AVOID MOISTURIZER.
False: Generally speaking, hydrated skin is healthy skin – acne or no acne. When selecting a moisturizer it’s important to choose one that is perfume free, alcohol free, and noncomedogenic (designed not to clog pores). Moisturizer should be applied daily to cleansed skin. Even though acne is often found in people with oily skin, individuals with dry or combination skin also can be acne prone. Individuals with oily skin may prefer a gel based moisturizer or oil-free serum, whereas individuals with dry or combination skin often prefer a crème or lotion.
TRUE OR FALSE? ACNE IS CAUSED BY POOR HYGIENE.
False: Acne is a complex condition caused by a multitude of factors including genetics, excess sebum production, certain hormones, the presence of Propionibacterium (a bacteria) on the skin, and clogged pores. Acne is not a personal hygiene issue. Extremely neglected personal hygiene can exacerbate acne, but on the other hand excessive hygiene (eg. aggressive exfoliation, harsh cleansers, or irritating antibacterial or sanitizing products) can also worsen inflammation and acne.
TRUE OR FALSE? ACNE BACTERIA CAN BE PASSED THROUGH SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT.
False: Acne is non-infectious and non-contagious. Although acne lesions contain a small amount of bacteria, this bacteria is not passed on to other people.
TRUE OR FALSE? BLACKHEADS ARE BLACK BECAUSE THE PORE IS CLOGGED WITH DIRT.
False: The black colour of blackheads is caused by the oxidation of cutaneous debris (sebum and dead skin cells) in the follicle. Only the visible part of this debris is black, behind the black is a reserve of sebum and other white-coloured compounds.