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5 Skin Misconceptions

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We're all told specific skin care do's and don'ts, but have you ever wondered about their validity? We're going to break your hearts with some of these myth-busting realities—sometimes facing the truth isn’t so pretty.

1. MYTH: Steam is good for acne-prone skin.

“Excess steam can clog the superficial corneal layer of your skin," says New Orleans-based dermatologist Nia Terezakis, M.D. While a warm mist usually feels pleasant on the skin, the harsh and humid steam-room environment can cause sensitive, acne-prone skin to flare up. "Your sweating, exposed pores trigger your sebaceous glands to produce excess fluid," says Dr. Terezakis.

2. MYTH: The eyes and ears don’t breakout.

Why is it that everyone—including experts—seems to forget the outfielders of the face? The pores around your eyes, in and around your ears, and even inside your nose are just as susceptible to breakouts as any other part of your skin. Maintain good eye health, clean your ears regularly using a cotton swab and an astringent toner such as Thayer's Witch Hazel, and clear out your nose with saline spray to eliminate excess bacteria and promote healthy nasal passages.

3. MYTH: “All natural” means “all good.”

You wouldn't rub poison ivy all over your body just because it's natural, right? So why is it that we continue to blindly slather ourselves in any products deemed all-natural? There are some fantastic green options in skin care, but Mother Earth’s essences aren't always so friendly. Essential oils, plant extracts, and natural colorants can irritate the skin just as much as their synthetic counterparts. Be wary and test out any potentially irritating ingredients on your hand first.

4. MYTH: Vitamin E is a wonder ingredient.

It seems like every skin care product features some form of vitamin E or tocopherol, a chemical compound that encourages skin rejuvenation. But because it easily gives up electrons to stabilize free radicals, it can be hard to predict its behavior in heat, light, and oxygen. "Most tocopherol formulated for skin care is not stable and can potentially irritate the skin," warns Dr. Terezakis.

5. MYTH: Pain equals potency.

The term “no pain, no gain” should never be part of your skin routine. Many are accustomed to thinking that they need to feel some sort of tingling, burning, or itching to trust the effects of their favorite products. Perhaps it's a placebo effect, but we're in the full opinion that your moisturizer shouldn't hurt upon application. Whatever painful products you're using, wash them off!