Capital FM (Nairobi)

26 February 2013

Kenya: Ten Scary Skincare Misconceptions

Consumers are bombarded daily with a myriad of information about skin care, skin science and skin health from the media, manufacturers and an ever-increasing number of physicians, all attempting to justify that what they profess and advocate is the truth and nothing but the truth. Sometimes claims are accurate and sometimes they aren't. More often than not, the truth may lie somewhere in between.

1) Skin repair only happens at night.

A good night's sleep is certainly helpful to skin health; however, skin repair is ongoing. Inadequate sleep can cause stress, skin puffiness and can slow the natural development of collagen.

2) Skin care products can last three or more years.

Despite a number of claims to the contrary, most skin care products lose a great deal of their potency within 12 months. It is best to use the entire contents within one year because preservatives do not last forever and ingredients can get contaminated with bacteria, or they can evaporate.

3) Strong scrubs, soaps and abrasives are good for your skin.

Be careful how you wash your face. Too much scrubbing or too many abrasive products can remove protective oils, create tiny micro tears and contribute to aging, irritated skin. Less is more, and a gentle cleanser and light moisturizer work well for most people.

4) Skin damage and signs of aging can be cleared up quickly.

If a product sounds too good to be true, you can bet its claims are false. The damage did not happen overnight, and it cannot be magically repaired. Expect at least three skin cycles--a cycle can be between 21-40 days, depending on age--to begin to see measurable results.

5) 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.

6) Natural and organic products are always better.

Buyer, beware! Many natural and organic products are not as they claim. Plus, many times, active ingredients have to be synthesized to be bioavailable and efficacious. Synthetic compounds can actually be identical to those found in nature and be more effective. Natural vs. laboratory-processed should not lead to an up or down decision about whether a product is good or bad. Not all chemicals are bad, and not all natural or organic ingredients are good.

7) Packaging is not important.

Packaging in skin care is vitally important--not for aesthetic reasons--but to protect the efficacy of the ingredients. Wide-mouth jars, transparent containers and pumps that are not airless all pose problems in keeping ingredients safe and potent.

8) Facial exercises tone facial muscles and make a person appear younger.

The face is the only part of the body where muscles are attached directly to the skin; there are no facial ligaments and tissue. Constant facial exercise and tugging contribute to additional lines. Actually, wrinkles often form along expression lines caused by facial movements.

9) Skin pores open and close.

Pores are openings in the skin that allow oils (sebum) to reach the surface. If pores are larger, this can be due to dead cells, genetics or scarring from squeezing blemishes.

10) Layering several products with SPF ratings increases protection.

You are only protected to the extent of the higher rating of one product. A foundation with an SPF of 10, moisturizer with an SPF of 15 and a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 does not yield an SPF rating of 45.

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