Skin is our largest organ and something we may take for granted when it’s healthy. As an academic dermatologist I frequently hear misleading “facts” that seem to be stubbornly enduring. Here are some of the most commonly shared myths that can be cleared up immediately, and some truths you can rely on.
Skin constantly renews itself
TRUE The skin provides a dynamic barrier between your body’s internal environment and the outside world. Cells called keratinocytes in the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) are constantly dividing to produce a supply of cells that move up through this layer and are shed from its surface. Skin is a rich source of stem cells with the capacity to divide and renew themselves.
Drink two litres of water a day for healthy skin
FALSE The amount of water you drink does not directly affect your skin. Water is supplied to the skin by blood flowing through the dermis, the inner layer of skin; water is lost from the epidermis, especially in a dry environment.
Water is needed to maintain skin hydration and when you become seriously dehydrated your skin appears dull and is less elastic. In a healthy person the internal organs – kidneys, heart and blood vessels – control the amount of water reaching the skin. There is no fixed volume of water that you need to drink, it simply depends on the amounts you are using and losing.
Stress can make skin unhealthy
TRUE There are many health issues in modern life that we blame on stress, but several skin conditions have been shown in scientific studies (see below), to be worsened by life events, possibly via stress hormones including cortisol (a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands). Notable examples are alopecia areata, an auto-immune condition where the body’s immunity begins to attack the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out; psoriasis, another auto-immune condition that causes skin thickening, scaling and inflammation; and eczema, itchy red skin inflammation often occurring alongside asthma, hay fever and other allergies. Unfortunately a flare up of these skin conditions is exactly what you don’t need when you are feeling stressed or under pressure.
Eating chocolate causes acne
FALSE Acne vulgaris, the common “teenage” acne which can actually persist into your 30s and 40s, occurs as a result of the interaction between hormonal effects on grease glands in the skin, plus the skin’s immune response to blocked pores and microbes living on the skin.
Eating a high fat diet is unhealthy for many reasons, but it doesn’t cause acne. In fact some tablets prescribed for severe acne such as oral isotretinoin are better absorbed when pills are swallowed with a fatty meal – and that could include chocolate.
Washing powder causes eczema
FALSE Eczema is a condition where the skin is dry, itchy and red. It is caused by a combination of genetic factors (how your skin is made) and environmental effects, leading to inflammation. Soap, detergents and washing powders can irritate the skin and contribute to dryness because they remove oil from the skin (just as washing-up liquid removes grease from your dishes). Biological washing powders contain enzymes – proteins that break down fats and other proteins to remove stains – and these can irritate sensitive skin, so they may worsen eczema. It is important that any washing power is thoroughly rinsed out of clothing before it is worn, to avoid skin irritation.
White marks on nails = calcium deficiency
FALSE Nails are manufactured in the nail matrix, an area under the skin at the top edge of your nail. If the matrix is traumatised, bumped or bitten, an irregularity in the developing nail occurs and air can become trapped. This appears as a white mark as the nail grows out. Calcium is important for healthy nails (as well as bones and teeth) but these white marks are not a sign of deficiency.
Sunshine is good for you
TRUE & FALSE Many people have experienced the feel-good factor of a sunny day, but there are good and bad effects of sunlight. Light from the sun includes a mixture of different wavelengths of light: some are visible to the human eye, some are shorter than the colours we can see – these are called ultraviolet (UV) – and some are longer, the infrared. Different wavelengths have different effects on skin.
UVB is used by skin to manufacture vitamin D which is essential for bone health. Without sun exposure this vitamin must be obtained from the diet. Dermatologists use specific wavelengths of UVA and UVB in carefully controlled doses to reduce skin inflammation, a valuable treatment for some skin conditions.
A good skincare regime starts with removing dirt from skin. Shutterstock
But when the skin is exposed to too much UV it can damage the skin cells’ DNA, leading to uncontrolled growth – the basis of cancer. As a simple rule, unless you have a disease or treatment that suppresses your immune system, sunshine is good for you in moderation, but always avoid getting sunburned.
Keep it simple
The basic principles of keeping skin healthy are mainly common sense. You should wash your skin regularly to remove dirt, but not so much that you remove the essential moisture and water-proofing substances. Use a moisturiser if your skin feels tight or dry – a greasy ointment works best unless you have acne-prone skin, in which case you should use a non-greasy water-based cream. Avoid stress if possible, eat a healthy diet and drink water when you feel thirsty. And finally, protect your skin from too much sun with a hat and clothing or sunscreen.
About The Author
Sara J Brown, Professor of Molecular & Genetic Dermatology, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, University of Dundee
Studio: Kyle Books
Label: Kyle Books
Publisher: Kyle Books
Manufacturer: Kyle Books
For more than 20 years, Hanna Sillitoe suffered from severe psoriasis, eczema and acne. They dominated her life and shattered her confidence. At times she even resorted to wrapping her skin in clingfilm to stop her clothes rubbing against her raw skin. When her doctor told her the only remaining treatment was chemotherapy, she started researching diet and skin, and ultimately changed her life, cutting out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and wheat, with dramatic results. Now free from all skin complaints, Hanna is sharing her methods. Beginning with a juice cleanse, Hanna's plan then moves on to a range of delicious, skin-loving meals including Turmeric and Ginger Chia Pudding, Immunity Ramen, Beet Burgers and even Clean Tiramisu. There is also a selection of homemade beauty products such as Avocado and Honey Facemask and Rosemary and Lemon Salt Scrub. Uplifting and inspiring for those who have been searching for an answer to their skin woes, Hanna's programme is also suitable for people without specific complaints who just want to improve their overall health and complexion. A recipe for good health and clear skin, from the inside out.
- Used Book in Good Condition
Brand: Brand: Robert Rose
Studio: Robert Rose
Label: Robert Rose
Publisher: Robert Rose
Manufacturer: Robert Rose
How to unlock the secrets of beautiful skin.
Whatever the skin type, whatever the skin condition, the reader will find all the help needed to ensure healthy skin in this new book. Every skin condition -- whether minimal or out of control -- can be improved and look fantastic within 8 weeks simply by following this holistic, natural approach.
Everyone can gain health benefits from being on the Healthy Skin Diet because it is a commonsense program for lifestyle change, designed to fit into anyone's life. The plan is based on an anti-inflammatory eating program that was originally designed for dealing with eczema. Along the way it was also discovered to be highly effective in helping the following skin conditions: psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff, acne, cellulite, hives, premature aging and wrinkles, dull /sallow complexion, bags under the eyes, pigmentation, dark circles under the eyes, and dermatitis/contact dermatitis.
There is a specific program to target each skin condition as well as more than 100 delicious, nutritious recipes in menu plans that provide all the tools needed for healthy, beautiful skin. Fischer's guidelines include:
- Think Green and Friendly
- Eat Moisturizing Foods
- Eat Less!
- Be a Sleeping Beauty
- Sweat for 15 minutes Each Day
- Have a Good Skin-Care Routine
- Become a Hat Person
- Relax and Make Peace With Your Body.
These programs and good nutrition develop beautiful skin from the inside out.
Studio: William Morrow
Label: William Morrow
Publisher: William Morrow
Manufacturer: William Morrow
The secrets behind the world's most beautiful skin!
In Korea, healthy, glowing skin is the ideal form of beauty. It's considered achievable by all, men and women, young and old—and it begins with adopting a skin-first mentality. Now, this Korean beauty philosophy has taken the world by storm!
As the founder of Soko Glam, a leading Korean beauty and lifestyle website, esthetician and beauty expert Charlotte Cho guides you through the world-renowned Korean ten-step skin-care routine—and far beyond—to help you achieve the clearest and most radiant skin of your life With Charlotte's step-by-step tutorials, skin-care tips, and advice on what to look for in products at all price levels, you'll learn how to pamper and care for your skin at home with Korean-approved techniques and pull off the "no makeup" makeup look we've seen and admired on women in the streets of Seoul. And you'll get access to beauty secrets from Charlotte's favorite beauty gurus from around the world, including supermodels, YouTube sensations, top makeup artists, magazine editors, actresses, and leading Korean skincare researchers.
With the knowledge of an expert and voice of a trusted friend, Charlotte's personal tour through Korean beauty culture will help you find joy in the everyday beauty routines that will transform your skin.