We often have patients come in and tell us about skin care do’s and don’ts they’ve heard. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so we’re sharing the top five skin care myths we’ve heard and what the truth really is so you can make sure you’re well-informed and can properly care for your skin.
Skin Care Myth #1: Using a tanning bed helps you get a “healthy tan” for protection from sunburn.
Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute’s Providers often hear patients downplay the damage tanning beds can do to skin, even suggesting that tanning beds help protect from sunburns and aren’t bad for their skin.
The fact is that The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization labels UV radiation from the sun or artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). That’s why any tan, including a “base tan”, is a sign of damage to your skin because a tan is the result of your body increasing pigmentation in an attempt to protect itself against UV damage.
A tan may look good for a few days short-term, but there are long-term consequences to consider including faster skin aging, wrinkles earlier in life, or a higher chance of developing skin cancer at some point in your life.
Skin Care Myth #2: SPF 80 is not any better than SPF 30.
You might have heard that SPFs in sunscreen above 30 aren’t really any different or better.
SPF 80 is, in fact, better than SPF 30. SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. Sunscreens with higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays. However, no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s UVB rays. There are three ingredients to look for in a sunscreen: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and Mexoryl. As for the SPF number, you shouldn’t be wearing anything less than SPF 30 when it comes to UVA and UVB protection.
Skin Care Myth #3: I work in an office, so I don’t need to wear sunscreen every day.
Many people think that working inside means that sunscreen isn’t necessary on a daily basis.
Tyler McKinnon PA-C with Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute explains that windows don’t actually provide protection from UVA rays – the ones that are responsible for those unfortunate signs of aging and increased skin cancer risk. So, unless you sit in a windowless room and don’t drive or walk anywhere, you’re probably getting more sun than you bargain for. Whether you’re looking to reduce your risk of skin cancer or stay looking young longer, sun protection is by far one of the most important things you can do for your skin.
Some good options to check out include high-quality zinc-based sunscreens, like the ones made by Elta MD® Skin Care or SkinCeuticals®. And if you have acne-prone skin like some of us do, you may want to check out Elta MD UV Physical.
Also, people sometimes think they don’t need sunscreen if it’s cloudy outside. However, 80% of the sun’s rays still penetrate even on cloudy days, so it’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen.
Skin Care Myth #4: Chocolate causes acne.
There’s an old wives’ tale that chocolate causes acne.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains, though, that according to current data and research, there are no dietary changes recommended to manage your acne. Limited evidence does suggest that milk, specifically skim milk, may influence acne.
According to the AAD, though, emergency data in research does suggest that high glycemic index diets may be associated with acne. This means that if you’re eating substantial amounts of white rice, sugar-laden foods, and sodas or other high-sugar drinks, those may be worth avoiding if you’re dealing with acne.
In general, eating a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is also beneficial to many of your organs including your skin.
Skin Care Myth #5: Vitamin E makes scars fade.
Some people believe that Vitamin E can help get rid of the appearance of scars.
Harvard Medical School explains that there’s little medical evidence to support this will actually happen. Your best bet is to talk with a Dermatologist or Aesthetician about options to help reduce the appearance of any scars.
Knowing what’s actually true (compared to what’s shared as hearsay online or through the grapevine) is so important since you don’t want to follow advice or tips that aren’t accurate.
Contact the Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute to schedule an appointment with a skin expert to help you address any of your own concerns. There are many available treatments for improving the appearance of scars.