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November 12, 2010

Top 10 Skin Myths Debunked

Are you approaching your regimen all wrong? Dermatologists expose common blunders that could be sabotaging your complexion.

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Photo Credit: Pando Hall

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MYTH 6: Leaving a mask on overnight gives you more for your money.

TRUTH: Masks deliver a potent dose of active ingredients or moisture quickly into the skin, but you can overdo it, causing irritation or breakouts. "You should use things as directed. Rarely do you outsmart the people who have done the clinical testing for a product," says Hirsch.

MYTH 7: Wearing foundation with an SPF means you're being sun safe.

TRUTH: You should still apply a sunscreen underneath, says Chapas. "Unless you're slathering on a mask of makeup, you're not getting enough protection. You need to wear an SPF of at least 30 on your face every day, and nobody puts on enough foundation to get that SPF value out of it."

MYTH 8: Nano-size titanium dioxide sunscreen causes cancer.

TRUTH: "The majority of studies show that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are not absorbed through the normal skin," explains Dr. Chapas. "There are animal studies that show a link between nano-size titanium dioxide and organ damage, but the mice tested were ingesting or inhaling multiple times the amount that you would put on your skin. As far as we know, nano-size sunscreens that are applied topically are safe."

MYTH 9: The more wrinkle cream you apply, the better your results.

TRUTH: Morning and evening applications are a waste of money, says Hirsch. Most active ingredients work really well once a day, and antiaging retinols should be used only at night (because they're broken down by sunlight). Plus, slathering on too many retinols will cause irritation and make your skin look worse, leading to redness, peeling, and inflammation.

MYTH 10: The best way to get rid of blackheads is extractions.

TRUTH: Pulling and pressing on pores can cause scarring, warns Chapas. "After extractions, skin just fills right back up with oil. Using retinols and gentle acid peels at home is enough to unclog pores."


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