10 Anti-Aging Skin Myths and Tips

Fighting wrinkles, rashes and age spots? Here’s MD-approved advice about what works and what doesn’t

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Myth

Water is the fountain of youth.

 

Photo courtesy of Valeriy Velikov / Shutterstock.com

Valeriy Velikov / Shutterstock.com

Fact

Unless you are suffering from severe dehydration, water will not prevent wrinkles. Wrinkles and aging are mainly caused by sun, age and, most notably, genetics. Aside from choosing your parents wisely, the best way to prevent wrinkles is to use a sunscreen at all times. Retinoids are still the gold standard for anti-aging. If your skin can tolerate them, these are excellent products to help prevent wrinkles as well.

 

Photo courtesy of Piotr Marcinski / Shutterstock.com

Piotr Marcinski / Shutterstock.com

Myth

Moisturizers lessen wrinkles.

 

Photo courtesy of Valua Vitaly / Shutterstock.com

Valua Vitaly / Shutterstock.com

Fact

Moisturizers only sit on your skin and help keep it hydrated—they retain the oil and water already in your skin. After you wash your skin, it is normal for it to feel dry. If you already have oily skin then adding moisturizers can actually worsen conditions such as acne. If you have dry, flaky skin, then you should use a moisturizer.

 

Bulent Ince

Myth

You don't need sunscreen on a cloudy day.

 

Photo courtesy of Dudarev Mikhail / Shutterstock.com

Dudarev Mikhail / Shutterstock.com

Fact

You need sunscreen all day, everyday, rain or shine. The ultraviolet rays that reach the earth are UVA and UVB. On a cloudy day, some of the UVB rays are filtered out so you may not burn as easily, but UVA rays penetrate right through the clouds and deep into your skin and can cause premature aging and skin cancer.

 

Photo courtesy of haveseen / Shutterstock.com

haveseen / Shutterstock.com

Myth

If a product is made with all-natural ingredients, you don't have to worry about any adverse effects.

 

Photo courtesy of Alkestida / Shutterstock.com

Alkestida / Shutterstock.com

Fact

You can just as easily have an adverse effect to natural ingredients, such as aloe or vitamin E, as you can to chemical or man-made ones. Mother nature is not always kind. If you are using a "natural" or "organic" product, and your skin becomes irritated, stop using it immediately. If the reaction is mild, you can probably treat it with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. If the reaction is severe, you will need to see your dermatologist for a prescription strength cream or perhaps even systemic medication.

 

Photo courtesy of ampyang / Shutterstock.com

ampyang / Shutterstock.com

Myth

Lasers can get rid of anything on the skin.

 

Photo courtesy of igor gratzer / Shutterstock.com

igor gratzer / Shutterstock.com

Fact

Laser is an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Basically it’s a machine that gives off light that is amplified and has a specific target, such as blood, melanin or water. Lasers can treat dilated blood vessels especially on the face, they are wonderful for brown sunspots and the lasers that target water are excellent for superficial resurfacing/smoothing and fine lines. But lasers, just like any other technology, have limitations. They cannot eliminate moles, growths, rashes or most skin cancers. And a laser cannot make a 60-year-old look 40.

 

Photo courtesy of gosphotodesign / Shutterstock.com

gosphotodesign / Shutterstock.com

Myth

If something worked for your friend, it will work for you.

 

Photo courtesy of Blaj Gabriel / Shutterstock.com

Blaj Gabriel / Shutterstock.com

Fact

Everyone is different and has a different type of skin. A treatment that is perfect for your blue-eyed, fair-skinned, blonde friend might be a disaster for your brown-eyed, olive-complexioned sister. In the world of skincare, we are not created equal, so find what works for you.

 

Photo courtesy of Poznyakov / Shutterstock.com

Poznyakov / Shutterstock.com

Myth

The more expensive a skin-care product, the better it will work.

Daniel Sanchez Blasco

Fact

For the most part, price and efficacy have no relationship. If you swear that a $250-per-ounce cream works best for you, and you can afford it, then that is what you need to use. However, there are many wonderful products available at stores like Target and Costco that will probably do the same thing.

 

Photo courtesy of Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com

Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com

Myth

Acne is caused by dirt.

 

Photo courtesy of stryjek / Shutterstock.com

stryjek / Shutterstock.com

Fact

The causes of acne are multi-factorial. Most people who believe their acne is caused by dirt have scrubbed their faces so hard that they have actually worsened their acne by irritating their skin. Acne is mainly under hormonal control, and it is the sensitivity of one's oil glands and hair follicles to one's own normal hormones that creates the problems. You just need to get on an appropriate skin-care regimen that works for you, which your dermatologist can help you do.

 

Photo courtesy of Aleksandr Markin / Shutterstock.com

Aleksandr Markin / Shutterstock.com

Myth

Liver spots are related to a problem with your liver.

 

Photo courtesy of AISPIX by Image Source / Shutterstock.com

AISPIX by Image Source / Shutterstock.com

Fact

These unsightly brownish spots may have a liver-colored hue, but there is no connection between "liver spots" and your liver. They are caused by sun exposure and become more visible as we get older. The best way to prevent these spots is to use sunscreen and practice sun-safe behaviors like wearing a hat and finding shade. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget your chest, ears and the tops of your hands.

 

Photo courtesy of NicoTucol / Shutterstock.com

NicoTucol / Shutterstock.com

Myth

Warts have roots.

 

Photo courtesy of Lou Oates / Shutterstock.com

Lou Oates / Shutterstock.com

Fact

A common misconception is that if you don't get the “root” out, the wart will come back. Nothing that grows on your skin has roots. Warts are caused by a virus and are notoriously difficult to treat, especially those where the skin is thick, such as the hands and feet. If you don't remove all the cells that contain the wart virus, the wart will grow back. There are many ways to treat warts ranging from topical products that contain salicylic acid, to immunotherapy, to injectable chemo-therapeutic agents. The treatment is tailored to the patient, the location of the wart and the number of warts being treated.

 

Photo courtesy of bart78 / Shutterstock.com

bart78 / Shutterstock.com

About the author

Sheri Feldman, MD, is one of the most well respected dermatologists and foremost cosmetic physicians in the country, with a client roster that includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood. A board certified dermatologist, she has been operating a private practice in Beverly Hills, California, for the past twenty years. Dr. Feldman is often turned to as an expert resource on matters related to dermatology, and has appeared in media outlets including NBC News, ELLE, Vogue, French Vogue, W, the Los Angeles Times Magazine and can be heard regularly on CBS Radio. She is known for being able to provide practical and understandable tips and information that people can use to improve the appearance of their skin and prevent or deal with a wide variety of skin-related issues.

 

For timely updates, follow Dr. Feldman on Twitter.

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Comments

Violet b08.14.2012

Smoking causes wrinkles too. It's pretty obvious by the time a heavy smoker is in her 30's.

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