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You're the Expert: 10 Common Skin Care Misconceptions You Can Clear Up for Clients

As skin care professionals, it’s our job to educate our clients, provide solutions, while strengthening our street cred as skin care experts. There’s so much information on skin care and skin health in today’s market and media, we need to continually question the variety of claims made about products, ingredients, and treatments – and the science (or lack of it) behind them.

As estheticians we are supposed to provide realistic, honest evaluations and recommendations to our clients – not try to sell them hope in a bottle. This is especially true in the areas of intrinsic and extrinsic skin aging and blemish prone or “problem” skin conditions. Always do your own research and stay current. Here’s our short list of some common misconceptions out there. Do you agree?

1. Vitamin E minimizes scarring.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. There is no evidence that it does anything to reduce scarring.

2. Cucumbers help reduce puffiness around the eyes.

A cucumber is 90% water; the rest is fiber. While soothing, and temporarily hydrating, they don’t have any proven effect with respect to reducing eye puffiness, any more than a cold compress.

3. The higher the skin protection factor (SPF) rating, the better.

SPF ratings, which are slated to be revised by the FDA, only refer to protection from UVB rays. Higher SPF’s simply give a false sense of security to the user that they are getting maximally more proection, when in fact, an SPF of 50 is only marginally more protective than an SPF 15. An SPF of 30 has 2% more protection than an SPF of 15, and a 40 SPF has 1% more than a 30.

4. Topical products containing collagen replace collagen.

There is a clear lack of empirical evidence that the topical use of collagen or elastin can penetrate the dermis - even with nanotech­nology. So far, only injections have been shown to be effective at building collagen significantly.

5. Preservatives in skin care products are harmful.

Preservatives are necessary to help prevent bacteria growth which break down the product’s effectiveness and cause spoilage. The concern over the use of parabens is widespread, but the research has not been conclusive yet. Parabens are found in nature (strawberries contain natural parabens). More definitive studies are needed.

6. Packaging doesn’t matter.

It most definitely does! Packaging must be designed to protect the efficacy of the product ingredients. Non-airless pumps, jars with improper seals, clear glass and wide-mouth types can create problems when it comes to keeping ingredients safe and effective.

7. Natural and/or organic products are always better.

It’s not cut and dried – that all natural products are good and all synthetic or lab-produced products are bad. Actives in natural producs often need to be synthesized for bioavailability. Certain synthetic compounds are identical to those found in nature and can be more effective in products. Research ingredients to learn the differences and nuances – don’t rely on company or media influenced claims.

8. Skin damage and signs of aging can be reversed quickly and easily.

If a product claim sounds too good to be true, it no doubt isn’t. There is no way realistically that you, your treatments, or products can repair skin damage in a twinkling – after all, the damage didn’t happen overnight! A minimum of approximately 3 skin cell cycles (21–40 days depending on age) to even begin to see measurable results.

9. Vitamin A thins the skin.

Science has shown this to be false. Skin can become thinner from lack of Vitamin A which helps to create new and healthy skin cells. Vitamin A is still the gold standard in skincare. It is one of the few ingredients backed by over 50 years of non-biased, scientific research.

10. The only form of vitamin C that delivers results is L-ascorbic acid.

L-ascorbic acid stays potent for only a limited amount of time. One of the characteristics (and difficulties) of vitamin c in product formulations is its instability. But a new age of formulations has arrived, after years of working on stable vitamin c compounds. These forms are not water-based, making skin penetration easier and remaining stable (potency) for longer periods of time.


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