From strict dietary restrictions to crazy home remedies and insanely expensive jars of “miracle” products, it’s fair to say there are a lot of suspect skin care solutions swimming around out there winning all kinds of so called awards.

At SkinMed, we are always hearing what advice they’ve heard “from the guy on the bus” or “the lady talking about it at work”. We’re here to sift through the advice you’ve been hearing for so long and tell you the cold, hard facts, enjoy.

Your behaviour is not to blame for your breakout

It’s not uncommon to hear people blame themselves and think they’re doing something wrong. But you break out because of factors beyond your control, primarily being sensitivity to the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone). People think they’re transferring bacteria to their face by touching it a lot or by sleeping on the same pillow case. Or (and this is very common) they blame their diet. But acne is a result of your genetics and hormones. An unhealthy diet and emotional stress can exacerbate acne, but they are not the primary reason for your breakouts.

All-natural products are safe for your skin

“Do your products contain natural ingredients”, this is a very common question we receive. The answer is in reality, natural products are just like other chemicals—some of them are safe, while others are not. In many cases, there is inadequate data for us to be able to base any recommendations on. Poison oak is natural, but would you really want to put that onto your skin?

The sun is beneficial for certain skin conditions

Believe it or not, the sun actually has limited effects on conditions like acne. Here is what dermatologist, Tyler Hollmig, M.D., director of the laser and aesthetic dermatology at Stanford Health Care had to say; “Photo-therapy is a treatment performed in a medical clinic with parameters set for safety and efficacy (a particular wavelength of light is used, exposure time monitored, etc.). But I once saw a patient who somehow ended up consulting an owner of a tanning salon near her house, and this person convinced her that routine tanning in the salon would achieve the same purpose for treating a rash. The reality is that tanning beds are highly linked to the development of skin cancer and are not used to treat skin conditions like rashes. Indoor tanning also ages skin rapidly, accelerating the development of wrinkles and sunspots, and deteriorating skin tone and texture.” This is an important one to mention, as receiving advice like “use a tanning salon” or “layout in the sun all day” to clear skin conditions is highly dangerous as it will increase your risk of skin cancer.

You should exfoliate daily for clear skin

Over-exfoliating the skin can strip skin cells not ready to be removed; trigger redness, irritation, and inflammation; lead to raw skin and skin infections, and cause acne as a result of overactive oil gland production. Exfoliation is an integral part of a good skincare routine but should be done gently (not abrasively) and only 2-4 times a week depending on the condition of your skin. This will help maintain an active skin turnover cycle, keep skin from clogging and remove dead skin cells and debris in a timely manner.

Sun exposure is the best way to get vitamin D

It’s certainly fair to say opinions are mixed on this. Some evidence suggests that vitamin D produced in the body by solar ultraviolet exposure may help prevent prostate, colon, breast, and other cancers, as well as bone diseases. However, most dermatologists and cancer groups, including The Skin Cancer Foundation, recommend against any unprotected ultraviolet exposure, as there is strong evidence that this contributes to cumulative skin damage, accelerating ageing and increasing the lifetime risk of skin cancer. Plus, there are effective and non-carcinogenic ways of supplementing vitamin D through diet and supplements. So you needn’t put your skin at risk to get your daily dosage.

Eating greasy food will give you greasy skin

It certainly seems like a logical conclusion to assume your skin will pump out more oil because you eat more oily foods, but your skin won’t produce more oil just because you indulge in some greasy meals and snacks. There is evidence that high-glycaemic foods can cause acne because these types of foods cause an insulin spike that results in a hormonal cascade, which ultimately increases the production of skin oils and acne. Certain dairy products have also been linked to acne—more research is needed but hormones in these dairy products may act as triggers, but so far it’s fair to say the evidence is limited. The only way to know for sure if you have a dietary trigger: the best way find out is to eliminate the potential trigger from your diet for at least a month and see if it makes a difference.

Let wounds scab over to help them heal

Now this is perhaps the most debatable, as just about everyone has been told to leave a scab to let the would heal but Christopher Bunick, M.D., assistant professor in the Yale Department of Dermatology says, “The truth is, scabs slow down wound healing and lead to increased scarring.” Peter Roberts, Head Trainer and Mangaging Director at SkinMed recommend using the Terproline EGF (epidermal growth factors), he says “this will help stimulate collagen production, increase healing time and dramatically reduce the chance of it leaving a nasty scar.”

Facial steams are a good way to clear pores

Facial steams can actually exacerbate certain skin conditions, Gervaise Gerstner, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City says; “Steaming actually breaks the capillaries and can exacerbate rosacea. Steam rooms can also be fungus and mould traps. Stay away from steam rooms or steaming as a part of facials.” You’re far better off using a retinol cream because it is a well-known feature of acne development that skin cell production increases and these cells die quicker resulting in more skin surface debris which can increase the risk of hair follicle ducts becoming blocked, leading to blackheads and spots. Peter Roberts says “Retinol helps normalise cell production and reduces the risk of blockages.” Synchrovit A contains retinol (vitamin A) as well as Vitamin E which also has potent antioxidant properties to mop up free radicals generated by stress and ‘life’, so also act as a great anti-ageing solution too.”

You need to buy hypoallergenic products or you’ll have irritation

Hypoallergenic has no actual definition in the skin dictionary. All products are hypoallergenic in a sense: Every product that’s on the market goes through irritancy testing and anything that crosses a line is going to have a change in the formulation to minimise that. People who have especially sensitive skin need to look for products that remove known irritants like perfumes or dyes, which are common allergens. Fortunately, none of the SkinMed products contain either dyes or perfumes, so won’t cause any irritation, not unless you’re over using an exfoliator or you’re allergic to any of the ingredients.