Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars. This week, he’s tackling the top skincare myths!
Myth #1: Steam opens your pores.
Contrary to popular opinion, steam does not directly open your pores, per se. After all, they aren’t muscles that can flex and contract. What steam does do is soften the top layer of the skin. As such, if you steam and then very, very lightly exfoliate, you can likely remove some of the unsightly pore contents (sebum).
Myth #2: Your diet can greatly affect your skin.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of health, and what you eat unequivocally has a direct effect on your skin. Specifically, dermatologists know that skin conditions like acne and rosacea are affected by diet. Moreover, long term, some dermatologists believe that poor dietary choices may result in inflammation and make you more prone to premature aging and wrinkles. I strongly recommend food with healthy fats, a low glycemic-index, and antioxidants like salmon, avocados, and walnuts. Naturally, it goes without saying that maintaining a healthy weight, hydrating well, and incorporating exercise along with a healthy diet will be your best line to beautiful, glowing skin.
Myth #3: You should never squeeze a pimple.
This is a tricky one. Indiscriminate picking should never occur. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that everyone is going to squeeze a pimple. So, what is the best way to do it? Well, if a pimple is white, after a warm shower, you can use two cotton swabs to gently apply pressure to extract the contents. If nothing comes out, put the Q-tips down, and you can try again the next day. If the pimple is a blackhead, you can use a clean extraction tool to gently apply pressure to extract the contents. And if the pimple is a cyst, don’t even bother — all you’ll do by squeezing it is cause more inflammation and prolong the healing process. Above all, don’t squeeze pimples with your fingers — you can get an infection and cause more harm than good. However, the best way to not squeeze pimples is to not have pimples to squeeze! So consider making an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to have your skin assessed and to see if a prescription anti-acne medication is right for you.
Myth #4: Pore strips — do they actually work?
Pore strips do a great job of removing the sebum that congests pores and causes open comedones (blackheads). The adhesive on them can be irritating, especially if you use them too frequently, but overall, I’m a huge fan of pore strip use and highly recommend them.
Myth #5: Are face wipes as good as a cleanser?
In some ways, face wipes are superior to cleansers. In fact, the trend we’ve seen in the last few years is a movement away from cleansers and gravitation toward gentle wipes. Why? Because while cleansers may have great ingredients, the physical product is obviously diluted by water and then is only in contact with your face for a few seconds, so you don’t benefit from the chemistry anyway. The best part about wipes? you can use them on the go — and no water is required!
Myth #6: If you have oily skin, use fewer products.
Having an oily complexion is bad in some ways and good in others. As an example, young people with oily skin are more likely to have congested pores which manifest as unsightly blackheads. But having oily skin later in life is a big aesthetic benefit because those patients end up having fewer fine lines and wrinkles. So, to answer this question, it is a myth that everyone needs a moisturizer. Those with oily skin can forego a moisturizer altogether, saving one step in their skincare routine!
Myth #7: My makeup has SPF, so I don’t need sunscreen.
As a dermatologist, I can tell you that one of my biggest pet peeves is when a patient doesn’t wear SPF at all. So, will the SPF in your makeup give you solid protection from the sun? The answer is a resounding “no!” While I applaud the effort to get protection from makeup, the truth is that it just doesn’t give you enough coverage because of the small actual volume of product used. My recommendation is to start with a matte finish, color-correcting, protection product with a minimum SPF of 50 before makeup, and then feel free to supplement it with a high-quality, SPF mineral powder as needed throughout the day.
Myth #8: The more expensive the brand, the better the result.
This is a huge fallacy. There is absolutely zero correlation between how expensive a product is and the clinical outcome. I always tell my patients, “You can spend a lot of money on a good product, or you can spend a reasonable amount of money on a good product.” One of the reasons I agreed to be a beauty reporter for Life & Style is to empower consumers to make more informed choices about what products they purchase and how to get great value out of their beauty choices.
So there you have it! Please put your questions in the comment section below and we might address them in a future article!