Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

8 skin myths:

There's lots of advice about skin & skin care, but not all of its right according to Harvard Medical School.
By Motherpedia
Date: December 07 2014
Tags: skin care,
Editor Rating:
skin-spa

Think you know a lot about skin and skin care? You might be surprised at how much “common knowledge” about how to keep your skin clear and healthy is simply not true. Here, we debunk 10 common myths about skin with the help of Harvard Medical School's Health Beat.

1.  The right skin cream can keep your skin looking young

There are hundreds of skin treatments that claim to help you look younger or slow the ageing process. For reducing wrinkles, the topical treatment with the best evidence behind it is retinoic acid (as in Retin-A). Many over-the-counter products contain retinoic acid as well, but it’s difficult to say if one is better than another. But the best ways to keep wrinkles at bay are using sunscreen and not smoking.

2.  Antibacterial soap is best for keeping your skin clean

Skin normally has bacteria on it. It’s impossible to keep your skin completely free of bacteria for any amount of time. In fact, many experts are concerned that the use of antibacterial soap could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibacterial soap is not necessary for everyday use. Regular soap is fine. Thorough and consistent hand-washing, not antibacterial soap, is what helps prevent the spread of infection.

3.  Eating chocolate or oily foods causes oily skin and acne

The truth is that an oily substance called sebum causes acne. It’s made and secreted by the skin. In fact, there’s no evidence that any specific food causes acne.

4.  Tanning is bad for you

Spending an excessive amount of time in the sun or in a tanning booth can increase skin cancer risk, especially if sunscreen is not used. Skin cancer risk is correlated with total lifetime sun exposure and frequency of sunburns. Excessive tanning can also damage skin, causing it to wrinkle and age prematurely.

But developing a light or gradual tan through repeated, but careful, sun exposure isn’t dangerous. As long as you’re taking precautions — such as using a sunscreen of at least SPF 30, applying it thoroughly and reapplying when necessary, and avoiding peak sun exposure times — a light tan with no burning isn’t a warning sign.

5.  Tanning is good for you

People often associate a dark tan with the glow of good health. But there’s no evidence that tanned people are healthier than paler people. Sun exposure does have a health benefit, though. Sunlight activates vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D helps keep bones strong, and may also lower the risk of certain cancers and boost immune function. Depending on how much vitamin D you’re getting in your diet, a lack of sun exposure could increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency.

6.  The higher the SPF of your sunscreen, the better

Above a certain level, a higher sun protection factor (SPF) has little added benefit compared with a lower SPF. Experts generally recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks out 97% of UVB radiation. It may be worth a higher SPF if you’re planning to be outside for more than two to three hours, especially during hours of peak sun exposure (10 am to 3 pm). But in most circumstances, a higher SPF may not be worth the extra cost.

7.  Crossing your legs causes varicose veins

There are a number of risk factors for varicose veins, but crossing your legs is not one of them. Heredity is one of the most important — an estimated 80% of people with varicose veins have a parent with the same condition. Other things that make a person prone to varicose veins include smoking, inactivity, high blood pressure, pregnancy, obesity, and having a job that requires prolonged standing. If you already have varicose veins, elevating your legs and using compression stockings may be helpful. But keeping your legs “uncrossed” won’t prevent or improve the condition.

8.  Scalp massage can prevent baldness

There’s simply no evidence that scalp massage prevents baldness, tempting as it is to believe.

If you see something unusual on your skin or have concerns about how to keep your skin healthy, talk to your family doctor or dermatologist. And if you hear someone repeating these skin myths, you can set them straight.

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Related Articles
beauty-state-of-mind
Feeling confident and radiant is all in the mind, according…
Read more
beauty_routine
If you're feeling tired or pressed for time, these six…
Read more
skincare-40s
No-one wants to be mistaken for Santa Claus in the…
Read more
thick_skinned_hippos
Skin is the largest organ in the body and is…
Read more
Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Vtech giveaway motherpedia

Win 1 of 3 VTech Toys Pack Giveaway
Playtime is so much more with VTech

Trolls-giveaway

Win 1-of-3 Trolls Prize Packs Giveaway
Let's get artsy with the Trolls!

Oral health for pregnant women - motherpedia

6 Early and Unusual Things Women Experience During Pregnancy
Are any of these familiar?

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Motherpedia cover (2)

Make a big difference…
This is Australia’s largest tree planting and nature planning event!

Motherpedia cover (1)

Escape Winter and Giddy…
Are you ready for some good music, Australia?

Motherpedia cover (1)

A Summer Night Season…
Moonlight Cinema announces February program

Motherpedia cover

More Than Fundraising
Why Events Like Relay for Life are Important