The Worst Skin Care Advice Dermatologists Have Ever Heard

August 17, 2017
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
The Worst Skin Care Advice Dermatologists Have Ever Heard

The beauty community has no shortage of alleged “experts,” who claim to be in the know on foolproof remedies for a throng of skin-related topics. The only difference—and it’s a big, big difference—is that these so-called “experts” spewing dangerous myths typically aren’t any sort of skin care authority at all. Ironically, nobody is as privy to all the bogus out there than a dermatologist; they’ve truly heard it all. So, to separate fact from fiction, we asked three top derms to share the worst pieces of skin care advice they’ve ever heard. Peep their responses below! 

1. Sunscreens are dangerous and cause cancer.

“This one drives me nuts,” says board-certified dermatologist, and consultant, Dr. Michael Kaminer. “It’s based on flimsy research and is not supported by the dermatology community. When sunscreens are used properly—and reapplied every two hours—they are incredibly protective against all forms of skin cancer, and are a mainstay of any good skin care regimen. I believe the theory was that when patients put on sunscreen, they feel invincible, go wild in the sun and don’t reapply, which is risky behavior. But that isn’t the sunscreens fault, rather a problem with how the [person] is using the sunscreen.”

2. Rotating products daily or weekly is good for your skin.

“I just don’t get it,” remarks Dr. Kaminer. “A good skin care regimen is a good skin care regimen, so why would you want to constantly change the products you are using? My sense is that this is a fabricated rationale that some people use to justify the fact that they are skin care junkies! By carefully selecting a few well-thought-out products, anyone can put together a solid skin care regimen that they can use every day, or at the minimum have a weekly plan where some products are used daily, and others weekly. But rotating regularly—or even worse, randomly—makes zero sense to me.”

3. The best way to get adequate vitamin D is to go tanning.

Board-certified dermatologist, and consultant Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali names this as one of the worst pieces of advice he’s heard because it’s downright false. Only a limited amount of vitamin D is produced from UVB radiation, which for Caucasians is reached after just five to ten minutes of midday sun exposure. If you’re exposed to UVB rays for longer than that, it doesn’t increase the amount of vitamin D in the body, but rather begins to break down what’s already stored. Eek! Want to hear some more vitamin D myths? Read this.

4. Tying a string around pimples and warts can make them go away.

Well, this just sounds downright painful. Dr. Bhanusali recommends you don’t try this at home. (But really, why on earth would you want to!?) To help fight a breakout on your complexion, purify your pores with an acne-fighting cleanser, moisturize your skin with a non-comedogenic cream, and apply a spot treatment formulated with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Lucky for you, we’ve listed some of our favorite spot treatments for acne, here.

5. Popping a zit is the fastest way to make it go away.

Let’s face it: We all pick and pry at our skin from time to time but, Dr. Bhanusali can attest that it’s the wrong move. Don’t pop your pimples, people—just don’t. Instead, follow these helpful tips to kick the bad habit and keep your skin from looking like a warzone.   

6. You need a base tan so you don’t burn for the rest of the summer.

Any derm—including Dr. Bhanusali—will tell you, there’s no such thing as a “safe” tan. Any discoloration is a sign of skin damage, even if your skin is not burning, flaking, or itching. Always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen—SPF of 15 or higher—and continue to reapply for the safest protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

7. People with darker skin don’t need sunscreen.

If you follow regularly you’d know this was a big, fat lie, and Dr. Lisa Ginn, board-certified dermatologist and consultant, agrees. “No matter what your ethnicity, sunscreen is important,” she says, explaining that lighter-skinned patients are often more aware of the risk of skin cancer since they burn more easily, causing them to adopt the sunscreen habit early. “With patients of color, unfortunately, by the time we catch the skin cancer it’s too late.” To protect yourself you need to wear—and reapply—sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF every day regardless of your skin tone, because fact is, anyone can get skin cancer! We repeat: Nobody is immune to skin cancer.

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