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Debunking–Or Not–6 Skincare Myths

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Some myths are older than our great grandmothers and some seem to have arisen from new technology and skincare products. Whatever the origin, they can derail our best intentions when it comes to taking optimal care of our skin. We asked La Jolla, California dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart to  confirm or debunk skincare myths.


Myth #1: There’s no difference between SPF 30 and SPF 60

This isn’t completely true. The percentage of increase may not be proportional to the number on the sunscreen, but a higher SPF does in fact offer greater protection.  Using larger quantities of a product will yield better results.  Less is more. Normally, a pea-sized amount of facial product will do the trick. Excessive amounts can cause skin problems and waste money.

Myth #2: Chocolate gives you blemishes

Unfortunately, evidence suggests chocolate causes acne-prone individuals to break out.

Myth #3: Toothpaste is a great pimple cream

Toothpaste is great for taking the itch out of a bug bite, but doesn’t seem to work when trying to get rid of a blemish. Try a real acne-fighting formula

Myth #4: Switching to skim milk is better for your skin

Wrong! Skim milk actually contains even more hormones than both 1 per cent and 2 per cent milk, which causes breakouts. Dr. Stuart advises that high-glycemic foods (that is, white foods like bread, pasta, rice, and sweets) are super skin-enemies since they trigger the body to produce insulin, causing age-accelerating inflammation. The solution is easy: load up on colorful fruits and vegetables-particularly green and yellow veggies-which help prevent wrinkles.

Myth #5: Hot water opens pores.

Despite cleansers, scrubs and other skincare products claiming to have pore-opening powers when paired with warm H2O, this advice just doesn’t hold water. Skin’s openings neither change in size nor operate like train doors, says Dr. Stuart. In reality, hot water loosens hardened dirt, oil and makeup within pores, allowing for better cleansing

Myth #6: Sun is Good for Acne

Although a little sun can give skin a nice glow and may even clear up a few pimples, major acne will only be aggravated by prolonged sun exposure. For one thing, the drying effect that sun has on skin will only cause the sebaceous glands to be overstimulated to produce more oil. Overstimulated sebaceous glands are the cause of acne, so it is not advised to provoke these sensitive glands anymore with too much sun exposure.
About Dr. Susan Stuart
Dr. Stuart is co-founder of La Jolla Plastic Surgery Dermatology.
Susan Stuart, M.D. received her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed a highly competitive one year internship at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in San Diego followed by a residency at Emory University, one of the most highly respected dermatology training programs in the U.S. She also completed a one year postgraduate dermatology fellowship in pediatric dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center.
Dr. Stuart’s career began with her undergraduate education where she received her B.A. degree from Duke University and was elected into Phi Beta Kappa, an elite academic honor bestowed upon a small percentage of undergraduates who have achieved the highest standards of scholarship in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Stuart is the founder and past president of a nationally recognized organization for children with physical and emotional disorders at Duke University.
After completing 8 years of postgraduate medical education, Dr. Stuart began offering San Diego skin care services and has remained in the area ever since. She has worked with several internationally respected dermatologists and laser experts while continuing her academic endeavors as a faculty member at UCSD Medical Center, where she has instructed interns and residents. She maintains active staff privileges at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
Dr. Stuart is considered one of San Diego’s leading experts in dermatology and lasers and has been selected as one of American’s top physicians in dermatology. She has been featured regularly on news shows including NBC, ABC, and KUSI for her expertise on a variety of dermatology topics and procedures, including San Diego Fraxel® laser skin rejuvenation and BOTOX® Cosmetic.

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1 thought on “Debunking–Or Not–6 Skincare Myths”

  1. One of the great “myths” that I see constantly “debunked” is that pores do not open or close. The reasons given is that pores have no doors or muscles, therefore they can’t close. I believe this is simply a semantic discussion.
    Did you ever get goose bumps in frigid weather? Do you notice the size of your pores is perceptively smaller? This isn’t because the pores themselves open or close, but obviously the skin surrounding them DOES stretch or contract. This makes the apparent size of the pores change. Go into a steam room and look at the size of your pores as sweat comes out. Do they look bigger than when you had the goose bumps? How about the difference in a pore’s size when a hair is coming through? Does that make zero difference? No door, no muscle, but a hair coming through.
    I submit that the very temporary tightening of the skin when very hot water is followed by cold water, results in an apparent shrinking in the opening size of the pores (because of the changes in the skin). And as the Dr has noted, cleansing of the skin actually “opens” the pores if they are clogged.
    So, I would love to hear the response, because perhaps I am completely mistaken here. But the argument that pores don’t have doors or muscles does nothing to debunk the way I’ve always assumed pores change apparent size.

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