The Truth About Skin Care
January 02, 2018
Submitted by Doug Leone, MD and Adrienne Schupbach, MD, Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute
In today’s world of non-stop information, there is indeed a lot of “fake news.” When it comes to skin care, the information overload can make it difficult to know what’s true and what’s not. Following are some inaccurate skin care beliefs and the facts you need to know.
You don’t need sunscreen in winter
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage your skin year-round. In fact, winter conditions can actually multiply UV radiation. Snow and ice nearly double your UV exposure — the UV light hits you on its way down from the sun, then again on its way back up to you as it bounces off the snow. Even those cold, gray, overcast days can pose risk, with between 50 and 80 percent of UV rays penetrating through the clouds. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 50 percent of UVA radiation can penetrate through glass, and car windows alone can let in more than 60 percent of these harmful rays. It’s therefore possible to accumulate sun damage even by riding in a vehicle or sitting near a window. Sun protection should be a part of your daily routine, no matter what time of year it is.
The higher the SPF, the longer you can stay in the sun
No, no, no! The SPF, or sun protection factor, does not indicate how long the product protects you from the damaging rays of the sun, but indicates the percentage of damaging UV light it filters out. So SPF 15 blocks about 94 percent of the UV rays, and SPF 30 blocks about 98 percent. Even an SPF of 100 does not block 100 percent of the harmful rays. If you are going to be outside all day in the sun, whether skiing in winter or boating in summer, be sure to re-apply sunscreen every two hours.
Healthy skin needs to be squeaky clean
If your skin feels “squeaky clean” and tight, that means you are washing too often or using the wrong products. It’s important to use a gentle sulfate-free cleanser meant for your skin type so that you don’t strip away the natural oils. Even oily skin can be damaged and breakouts can worsen by using a harsh cleanser or over-scrubbing. For most people, there is no need to wash their face more often than twice a day. Always rinse completely with warm water and use a clean towel to gently pat your face dry.
Use hypoallergenic products if you have sensitive skin
You might be surprised to know that sensitive skin has no medical definition; there are no Federal standards or requirements for a product to be labeled "hypoallergenic." The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. Dermatologists generally consider skin to be sensitive if it is prone to itching and irritation in response to changes in temperature or when using common skin care products that most other skin types can tolerate. However, many people think they have sensitive skin when it is more likely that they are overusing too many products, treating their skin too harshly, or reacting to only certain ingredients in a skin care product. Figure out the specific chemical or ingredient that is irritating your skin, and read labels so you know what is in the products you are using.
“Clinically proven” means that a product has undergone strict testing to make sure it works.
The term “clinically proven” on a product label is meaningless. It could mean that only one person used the product and found it to be okay. Skin care products are not regulated by the FDA, and manufacturers can use a wide variety of deceptive wording in their marketing and on their packaging to give consumers the perception that a product will deliver amazing results. There are some very good products and some key ingredients to look for that can improve the look of your skin, but there is no cream, serum, or lotion that will “erase wrinkles” or reverse the aging process. The closest thing to a “miracle” anti-aging product is sunscreen!
If you aren’t a happy with the way your skin looks, consult a dermatologist who can answer your questions and help you choose products that will work best for your particular skin type. You may want to consider a specialized non-surgical procedure such as Botox, peels, dermal fillers, laser procedures, and micro-needling that can take things a step further and give you more dramatic improvement to the way your skin looks.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451-DERM (3376) or www.dermatologistbloomington.com. Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Dr. Leone is one of the few Mohs-trained surgeons in the area. Their practice, is located at 3024 E. Empire St. 2nd floor (in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center).
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