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Skincare Myth Busters

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Atul Taneja 91% (863 ratings)
MD (AIIMS), Clinical Fellow,Skin Oncology(New England Medical Centre & Boston University,USA), Clinical Fellow.Photomedicine(Mass.Gen.Hospital,Harvard Medical School,USA), Clinical Fellow,Laser Surgery(Mass.Gen Hospital,Harvard Medical School,USA)
Dermatologist, Kolkata  •  25 years experience
Skincare Myth Busters

Most research on skin care is focussed on white, Caucasian skin types who live in cold temperate environments. Our Indian skin types are darker and in mostly hot, humid climates. Our skin reacts and adapts differently to the environment. Here are some unusual, interesting, skin care myth busters, specifically for Indian skin.

1. Myth: Exfoliation is an essential part of skin care regime.

Fact: Exfoliation is not an essential part of skin care regime.

Your skin is living tissue, which begins growing from the lower layer and is gradually pushed and shed automatically over a period of a few weeks from the skin surface. Simple gentle soap water bath is normally enough for most individuals and there is simply no need for you to try and exfoliate your skin. Let your dermatologist decide whether you need any exfoliation procedures.

2. Myth: It is important to check the type of wash you use.

Fact: It does not matter too much as to which wash you use.

A bewildering variety of soaps, syndet bars, lotions, body washes are available to clean your skin. You don't need to be very choosy. Simply use any one that suits your skin. People with dry and allergic skin need to be more careful and require non irritating, milder products. Avoid using 'antibacterial' or so called 'medicated soaps', since all these 'medications' are going to be washed off anyway along with the rinsing action. Don't expect to kill any bugs in this fashion.

3. Myth: Oily skin needs to be moisturized every day.

Fact: Oily skin may not need moisturizing.

You may have active sebaceous glands on the central part of your face causing oiliness. However, the rest of your skin may be dry. Apply moisturizers after baths on the dry areas. On the oily parts of your skin, you can skip the moisturizer and simply wash gently to keep the oil away.

4. Myth: Natural medicines are safer because they do not contain chemicals.

Fact: Most natural medicines contain many unknown chemicals of unknown significance.

More than $1 billion and over 12.5 years of painstaking work by scores of scientists are typically required to evaluate just one potential new chemical for medicinal use. Only a few chemicals pass through these very stringent series of scientific tests before they are carefully released for human use. It is a common practice in India to use many other unscientific medications. These purportedly safe, harmless and natural medicines are often concoctions of unknown chemicals (yes, chemicals!) that do not pass through any such rigorous testing, leaving serious doubts about their efficacy and safety.

5. Myth: Acne is just skin deep.

Fact: Acne is often driven by hormones.

Obtaining a flawless skin over a few months is actually quite easy under the supervision of any good dermatologist. However, acne is driven by hormones and that is why seen mostly in teenagers and young adults. Some patients may have associated oily skin, weight gain, menstrual irregularities, hair loss and excessive hair on the chin. All this may point to internal hormonal issues which your dermatologist may detect and investigate.

6. Myth: Drinking lots of water results in beautiful skin.

Fact: Drinking excess water does not help.

Inadequate water consumption can severely affect the proper functioning of your internal organs and your body as a whole. It is extremely essential to drink sufficient water to facilitate the proper functioning of your body and to ensure a healthy glow in your skin. However, you should also remember that drinking excess water does nothing extra for your skin.

7. Myth: Skin Brightening Creams Give Fairer Skin.

Fact:Skin brightening creams can be harmful.

Fairness creams have long been accused of being discriminatory and racist, but what is a lesser known fact about the billion dollar industry is that they can land you with far more serious problems. Many of these creams contain harmful compounds, which can permanently damage your skin and also your internal organs.Prescription creams from your pharmacy are meant to be used only under medical supervision and misuse by self medication can land you in serious trouble. Don't use medicines on your own, even if you are a doctor!

8. Myth: Sunscreens are essential for everybody.

Fact: Sunscreens are recommended to prevent skin cancers.

Sunscreens were developed and are recommended internationally to prevent skin cancers. Chances are that you use your sunscreen for another less serious reason: you want to prevent a tan and want your skin to remain fairer. If this is the case, use a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB radiation and also probably against sweat. You need to apply at least an ounce (30 ml) every 2 hours on exposed areas of your skin. Applying this entire amount so frequently in a hot, muggy, climate may not be very comfortable and it will most likely pinch your pocket. You could consider using hats, umbrellas and sun-protective clothing instead.

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