A common sense approach to skin care

We all want beautiful skin, but with so much advice and so many warnings out there, it can be tough. How do you know what is clever advertising, media bias or good advice? Read on to see common skincare myths debunked for good!

Myth-Buster #1: Acne is caused by not washing your face

False! Acne is a complicated disease, influenced largely by hormones, which affects sebum (oil) production within the hair follicle. This, combined with the abnormal shedding of skin cells lining the follicle, leads to the formation of a plug. This plug is acted upon by bacteria within the follicle, which then leads to a (sometimes dramatic) immune response to the activity in the follicle….Voila! Acne.

This explains why the onset of acne is typically seen around the time of puberty, menstrual cycles, and hormone changes of any kind including menopause and certain body building products which contain hormone like ingredients!

Scrubbing your face, or washing it excessively, can actually cause or worsen acne! This is because skin that is dried out or has all of the oils removed, will stimulate the oil glands to produce more sebum, causing the follicles to get plugged!

Wash your face with gentle products like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, and let your dermatologist determine the most appropriate skin products to best treat your acne and prevent the long lasting affects of acne such as scarring and pigmentation.

Myth-Buster #2: Tape stripping or squeezing the follicles is best way to remove blackheads from the nose

False! The follicles of the nose are surrounded by large oil glands, and the opening (pore) often gets clogged with the shedding skin cells plus oil mixture, forming the “plug” or blackhead. Removing these plugs by squeezing or using forceful mechanical extraction such as with tape stripping or a comedo extractor, can actually stimulate the oil glands to send out more oil and re-start, or worsen, the plug cycle. Repeating the cycles over the years can prevent to follicle from closing properly, and lead to permanent dilation of the follicle or scarring. Sometimes, the harsh removal of the plug can also be a set up for secondary skin infection, and is generally discouraged by dermatologists.

A better method for treating these common blackheads is to use appropriate extraction methods and specific topical medications which are designed to reduce or prevent the formation of blackheads. Facial treatments such as the Hydrafacial MD, which uses vortex extraction followed by infusion of plug-dissolving products, can be very effective, and is considered the leading treatment. Older technologies such as the Silkpeel, and even the Clarisonic Smart Profile can be helpful as well. For maintenance and prevention, retinoids reign supreme as the best medication to use to reduce blackhead formation. Speak to your dermatologist regarding the best product to use, as this can vary person to person.

Myth-Buster #3: Using makeup or sunscreen worsens acne

False! Or True! Not all makeup or sunscreens are created equally, and some products, makeup or sunscreen, can worsen acne, while others can actually help acne.

Picking the right product for you can be challenging. Generally, it’s important to seek expert advice and not give up if you’re getting frustrated with the hunt!

Remember these 3 points: 1) Get appropriate medication for your acne to prevent the long term side effects such as scarring. Despite the commonality of acne, it is a complicated disease, and treatment programs vary greatly. Getting the right program tailored for you can be life changing.

2) Even when on the right medication program, acne is not quick to resolve, and using make up can be a wonderful way to ride out the time to skin clearing. Dr. Kenner’s favorite pick of make up is Oxygenetix, a unique formulation designed to not only cover and sun-protect, but to allow increased oxygen through the skin and infuse salicylic acid into the follicles. This powerful formula not only works, but is lightweight and has ample colors to match all skin types.

3) Skin cancer is the leading cancer in humans, and sunscreens remain the key form of prevention; it is recommended all use sunscreen daily.

Myth-Buster #4: Injectable treatments such as filler or neurotoxin (such as Botox) are painful

Botox, Xeomin and Dysport are the brand names for botulinum toxin, a protein which blocks nerve signal conduction to a muscle, temporarily relaxing that muscle. These injectables have been used in medicine for decades for the treatment of spastic muscle disorders, twitching muscles, tics, and certain forms of headache. As a cosmetic treatment, botulinum toxin is used to relax the dynamic muscles of the face, which lead to furrows, wrinkles, or a scowling appearance. It is also an effective treatment for severe underarm sweating (primary axillary hyperhidrosis) by blocking the nerves that stimulate the glands responsible for sweat production.

Neurotoxin is injected using very small needles, and is only slightly uncomfortable. There is very little, and generally no, down time. Typical treatment areas include the forehead, brow, crow’s feet area, nose, underarms and sometimes lips. The neurotoxin generally takes 3-5 days to become effective, and lasts for about 3-6 months.

Belotero, Voluma, Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane are all brand name examples of dermal fillers which are made of non-animal haluronic acid or calcium hydroxyapetite. These are natural substances that already exists in the human body to provide volume to our faces. This volume generally declines as we age, leading to hollows, creases, and sagging- changes in the shape and proportions of our face that typify aging.

Dermal fillers are used medically to restore volume and fullness to the face, to correct moderate to severe hollows, lines, wrinkles and folds, as well as restore fullness to lips. Depending on the product and location of injection, results can last for 6 months to several years. Results are seen immediately.

Side effects can be bruising or temporary swelling at the site of injection. Generally, the treatments are well tolerated, despite the needle used being somewhat larger generally than the neurotoxin injection needle. Injecting dermal fillers takes more skill than neurotoxin injections, and it is important to make sure your provider is an expert!

The use of dermal filler and neurotoxin by those expert in the art has changed the world of cosmetic medicine, and radically decreased the need for surgical facial rejuvenation. These affordable, minimal-downtime treatments can be done periodically over time to maintain and restore natural and beautiful facial shape without anyone being the wiser…