There is a great deal of emotion that comes with the desire to improve ones appearance. After all, the way we look and present ourselves to the world is our first impression. It goes without saying that advertisers use this emotion to sell beauty products. Just like soda companies tell teens that their brand will make them “cool,” beauty companies tell women their brand will make them beautiful. And while this is advertising 101, the beauty industry is particularly persuasive with myths says Fargo, ND, board-certified plastic surgeon Ahmed Abdullah, MD. “While commonly accepted myths are prevalent in many consumer industries, they run rampant in the skin care category,” says the doctor. That’s why he has taken it upon himself to bust some of these skin care myths in his new book, Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach, debuting this summer.
Here are some of his “favorite,” and why they are bogus:
Products containing collagen and elastin can rejuvenate skin cells.
Collagen and elastin are major structural-proteins in the skin so it’s no wonder they are advertised when included in creams and serums, but the skin can’t actually absorb them, and even if it could, it would do no good. The molecular size is too large to be absorbed and the “only collagen or elastin our bodies can use is that created by our own cells and tissues. That from another human or animal source is completely useless,” says the doctor.
The key is to stimulate your own collagen. Professionally administered collagen-stimulating treatments work in one of two ways: either by wounding the skin on the surface, which heals by creating new collagen or by stimulating collagen production deep in the dermis. Both methods are effective, but wound-induced production creates faster and more dramatic effects. Madison, WI, facial plastic surgeon Richard C. Parfitt, MD, agrees: “Stimulating collagen with at-home topical products, in-office treatments and proper lifestyle choices helps the skin maintain its strength, resiliency and volume.”
Products containing oxygen ensure youthful-looking skin.
We need oxygen to live, so we must need it to benefit our skin, right? Nope. “Humans cannot absorb oxygen through the skin; it’s only absorbed through the lungs. Secondly, oxygen can’t be put into a skin-care product because it is gas. It simply won’t mix with the product’s other added ingredients. Even if it could be contained in a product formulation, it would release into the atmosphere rather than penetrate the skin when applied, due to its gaseous state,” he says.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. To see the rest of the skin-care myths, check out his book, on sale now.
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