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3 Common Skin Myths

Here are three of the most common misconceptions I hear around skin care. Read on to sort out some fact from fiction.

• If You Skin Is Dry It's Because You're Dehydrated

A person can drink lots of water all day long and still experience dry skin. Our bodies are constantly losing water to the atmosphere. This is called "transepidermal water loss" or TWL. The drier the environment, (think deserts, planes, and indoor heating) the faster the water loss. To mitigate this process, the skin produces its own natural oil called sebum. This helps to form a barrier to protect the skin and maintain hydration. Several things can happen to allow faster transepidermal water loss and cause the skin to become dehydrated and dry. An insufficient amount of sebum production, the use of skin care products that "strip" the skin's protective layer, and products or procedures that cause over-exfoliation can all lead to drying of the skin, no matter how much water is consumed. *Note: Hydration is very important to healthy skin function.

• Acne On Your Face = Dirty Skin

Acne is a very complex skin issue and has various root causes. While it's true that proper cleansing is a key part of acne care, it's not true that "dirt" is the cause of congested pores and pustules. There are three basic components to setting the stage for acne. An abundance of sebum, an overaccumulation of epithelial cells (cells which line the pores), and P. Acnes bacteria. P. Acnes bacteria is a type of anaerobic bacteria which only thrives under the surface of the skin where it is cut off from fresh oxygen. So surface dirt from the environment has little to do with the formation of blocked pores and acne. In fact, over-cleansing can even complicate matters.

• Exfoliate Every Day

Many of my clients mistakenly think that it's a good idea to use a scrub or an exfoliating product daily. This notion is left over from a trend several years back when retinols, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acids, scrubs and micro-dermabrasion were being promoted as the greatest thing you could do for the skin. Now we see that over-thinning the epidermis can lead to several problems. Dry, dehydrated, flaky, sensitive, rashy, reactive, depleted and hyperpigmented skin can all result from exfoliating too much and too often. Most people with normal skin benefit from a light, non-abrasive scrub once or twice a week. In addition to that it's nice to add an alpha hydroxy acid product to your home care routine from time to time. A monthly facial appointment is ideal so your esthetician can evaluate the skin condition and choose the appropriate enzymes, AHAs, BHAs and/or mechanical methods to give the skin a deeper exfoliation.

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