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The Common Skin Care MYTHS Heard by Dermatologists (and the REAL truth!)

It’s interesting how certain “facts” can take on a life of their own.

Some skin care “tips” repeated enough get accepted as truth. Others just seem like common sense so don’t get questioned (like drinking water hydrates skin or “natural” products are best)…

The real truth is that these skin care myths can sometimes be the opposite of what works! Often they are used to advertise a particular product/ingredient and may be harmful… or simply useless…

So we decided to consult the experts.

The dermatologists and skin care specialists on this page deal with real skin everyday – and they have heard it all!

So we asked them – what are the common skin care myths you hear?

Some of the answers may surprise you – all will help you. So let’s go!


The Skin Care Myths Heard by Top Dermatologists and Skin Experts:


Cynthia Bailey MD

Drinking plenty of water will keep skin hydrated” – It won’t any more than taking a bath will quench your thirst. Moisturizer needs to be applied to skin after getting it wet and towel drying to trap water in the top skin layers. These layers are what dries out and can only be hydrated from the outside due to the great protective barrier that skin gives our inner body.

Cynthia Bailey MD – California Dermatologist and international skin wellness expert, founder of DrBaileySkinCare.com


Charis Wipfler APRN-FNP, BC

If you dermaplane or shave, your hair will grow back thicker and darker” –  If this were true, balding men would shave their heads and solve the problem. Dermaplaning is a great exfoliating tool to not only lose the peach fuzz, but the top layer of skin to reveal baby soft skin.

“Botox is only for your mom” – Preventative Botox is becoming more and more common for a younger age group trying to prevent the signs of aging, rather than fighting a losing battle later in life. It’s easier to prevent than correct.

“Retin-A is only for pimples” – Retin-a is a powerful anti aging tool and is great for preventing wrinkles.

“You only need to apply sunscreen in their makeup” – NO! They need a stronger one under makeup and re apply during the day. A product like Coloresciene Sunforgettable Mineral Powder is SPF 50 and can be re-applied all day, even over makeup.

(IMPORTANT) – Adult onset acne and increased facial hair may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, not just poor skincare habits – Talk to your ob/gyn about Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Charis Wipfler APRN-FNP Board Certified Nurse Practitioner – GRACE MEDICAL AESTHETICS


Jennifer T. Haley, MD FAAD

Toothpaste cures a pimple

The “need” to scrub your face skin to clean it or that acne is from dirty faces” – Acne is caused by a combination of hormones, inflammation and clogged pores.  While proper exfoliation can be helpful, vigorous and aggressive scrubbing will often cause further inflammation and scars.

Moisturizing will make you break out” – Even oily skin needs a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to help maintain a healthy skin barrier and reduce inflammation.

Sunscreen is more dangerous than the sun” – Come to the office and work with us one day and you will realize this is not true.  Physical protection with long sleeve clothing and hats is preferred over sunscreen, but I recommend everyone apply sunscreen spf30+ prior to leaving the house every day to face, neck, chest, and back of hands.

Even 10 minutes of exposure of those areas walking to and from car, mailbox, walking dog etc adds up to over 50 hours a year!  Avoid the chemical sunscreens and looks for sunscreens with zinc oxide, which are inert and will not get absorbed by the body.

Tanning beds will help your body make Vitamin D” – Tanning beds are a disaster and since they have become trendy, Dermatologists are now seeing melanoma in 20 year olds on the genitals and places that have rarely been seen before.

Most people don’t burn in a tanning bed because the UVB rays are removed and only the deeply penetrating, wrinkle-causing, aging UVA rays are present.  This is extremely dangerous.

Also, as we age, our bodies do not convert Vitamin D from the sun efficiently and effectively so a high quality supplement is recommended. I personally use Thorne Vitamin D/K2 Liquid as the supplement for myself and my family.

You don’t need sunscreen when cloudy” – I always tell my patients that if you don’t need a flashlight to see outside, UV radiation is present.

Jennifer T. Haley MD FAAD – Board Certified Dermatologist, Scottsdale, AZ


George Skandamis MD

Selling skin care products makes a person a skin care expert” – I’ve seen many patients who were being treated for a skin condition by a friend who sold them skin care products.  The conditions never improved and many times worsened, costing the patients lots of wasted time and money when they should have seen a board certified dermatologist and used prescription-grade products which are often cheaper (with insurance) and work much better.

“The more expensive the skin care product, the better it will work  – The more expensive products are not always necessarily going to work any better than inexpensive products.  Drugstore ingredients are being sold at boutique prices based solely on marketing and brand awareness.  See a board certified dermatologist who can help formulate a skin care plan with your skin and budget in mind.

“You don’t need sunscreen when it’s cloudy” – The same amount of UV rays reach earth on cloudy days, but you don’t feel the heat of your skin being damaged.  So use spf even on cloudy days to keep your skin protected!

“Your lips don’t burn” – The lower lip is very commonly forgotten when we consider protecting our sun-exposed areas.  Burns in this area are high risk for developing cancer so use a lip-protecting spf product.

“Organic and all natural products are safe for everyone”  – I like to tell my patients that poison ivy is organic and all natural but it’s not safe for everyone to apply to their skin.  Many natural products can be potential allergens and irritants on the skin so beware.

George Skandamis MD – Board Certified Dermatologist, Medical Director and co-founder of Universal Dermatology & Vein Care Columbus, OH.


Maricela Lewis Watson – Cosmetic Specialist

“Hypoallergenic products are better for sensitive skin” – The term “hypoallergenic” is meant to imply that a product is unlikely or less likely to cause allergic reactions. The main problem here is that are no ingredient restrictions or regulations for determining if a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. Instead, searching for the label “Hypoallergenic” look for a gentle or fragrance-free label.

Maricela Lewis Watson – Cosmetic Specialist at The Shoreditch Spa, London UK


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Do you have a skin care myth you’re tired of hearing? Share in the comments below!

2 Comments

  • Please clarify that Charis Wipfler is not a board certified dermatologist. This is misleading. It’s offensive to list someone whose only dermatology training (per her own website) is from aesthetic companies. Board certification in dermatology requires four years of medical school and a four year residency.

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