With all the misinformation online and in the media, it’s easy to be misled by what is fact and what is fiction in the skin care world. Some of us may have been taught early on by our parents or peers common misconceptions about proper wound and skin care. Some common beliefs, such as certain foods causing acne or using vitamin E to help your scars fade don’t have any evidence to support them. When it comes to your skin, you want only clinically-proven ways of keeping it looking young and healthy.
Continue reading to learn more about the common myths surrounding skin care.
Antibacterial soap is most effective for cleaning skin
The surface of our skin is covered in microbes, some of them good, some bad, and others neutral. In fact, the microbiome that resides on our skin contributes to its pH balance which plays a role in the skin’s protective barrier. By always using antibacterial soap, you will be wiping out much of the good bacteria that promote healthy skin. Regular soap is fine for normal, everyday use. The main factor that prevents infection is running water and lathering soap, not antibacterial agents.
Eating certain foods causes oily skin and acne
The claim that fatty, greasy foods cause oily skin is only speculative—there is no scientific evidence to support it. Oil on the surface of the skin is caused by the production of sebum by sebaceous glands. Acne develops in reaction to a mixture of sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria that clog up the pores of the skin. Some people have overactive sebaceous glands and produce more oil than others, which is why their skin is always oily and acne more prevalent.
Vitamin E helps scars fade
One study compared the effects of using topical Aquaphor (a common emollient) versus Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E on patients with post-surgical scarring. The study consisted of fifteen patients who had each undergone skin cancer removal surgery. Each patient was asked to apply the regular emollient to side A of their scar and the vitamin E emollient to side B of their scar. The researchers evaluated the cosmetic appearance of the scars after 1, 4, and 12 weeks. Conclusively, 90% of the patients saw no change in the appearance of their scars. In 33% of cases, the patients contracted contact dermatitis from the vitamin E and the appearance of their scars worsened.
Sunscreen with higher SPF gives better protection
The belief that sunscreen with higher SPF (sun protection factor) is better seems reasonable—the higher the number, the greater the protection, right? The truth is, once you go past SPF 30, the amount of protection from UV rays is negligible. An SPF of 30 will block out 97% of the sun’s damaging rays. Higher SPFs may stay on your skin longer, so if you are planning on being in the sun all day, you may want to pay the extra cost for a stronger sunscreen. But for most purposes, SPF 30 is all you will need.
Organic skincare products are better than synthetic ones
This will depend on the person because everyone’s skin is different. A product that works for one person may not work for another. Also, just because a product is organic does not mean it is clinically proven to benefit your skin. Organic products also have a shorter expiration date than synthetic ones, so make sure you check the date before using them. On the other hand, a synthetic product like medical-grade silicone for scars has tons of clinical evidence
supporting its safety and efficacy.