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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.

woman washing her face

Photo Credit: Claude Guillaumin

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MYTH 1: A complete skincare routine must have three steps.

TRUTH:Cleanse, tone, then moisturize has been drilled into our heads, but feel free to skip the second step, says Cambridge, Massachusetts, dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch: "People think that toning an oily complexion will make it better, but oil is protective and the body produces it in response to injury. When you strip your skin, it reacts by making a ton of grease."

MYTH 2: You need to cleanse your face at least twice a day.

TRUTH: Using a face wash in the morning is just an excuse to go through more product, according to Hirsch, who advises avoiding antibacterial soaps at all costs because they're too harsh for your face. "In the morning, the best thing is water and your fingers, not a cleanser," she says.

MYTH 3: Scrubs make skin glow.

TRUTH: Overexfoliating leads to extra oil production, so the glow you see the first week will eventually turn into a greasy mess. "Skin is actually a good exfoliator on its own, so I rarely recommend manual scrubs," says Hirsch.

MYTH 4: Dryness causes fine lines.

TRUTH: People confuse dryness and flaking with wrinkles, says Hirsch, who suggests smoothing things out visually with a little lotion: "Just moisturizing will make wrinkles look better. The lines are still there, but you won't see them anymore."

MYTH 5: You should buy your best friend's favorite eye cream.

TRUTH: "Everyone has different eye issues, so one size does not fit all," reveals New York City dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas. If you have puffiness, choose a gel (heavy creams can boost swelling) with caffeine and store the tube in the fridge to maximize benefits. If you have dark circles, look for a product with a lightening ingredient like vitamin C and a collagen-builder like retinol.

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