We all know that you need to wear sunscreen in the winter (clouds do not protect from UV rays!) and that laser hair removal doesn’t guarantee fuzz-free skin for life, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Do your pores get bigger as you get older? Does Botox really prevent wrinkles? We asked Dr. Zein Obagi—Beverly Hills board-certified dermatologist and founder of two eponymous lines of skincare products: Obagi Medical and ZO Skin Health—whether a handful of beauty myths were true or false.
Fact or Fiction? 11 Skin Myths Set Straight
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The higher the SPF, the stronger the sun protection
False. “The higher the SPF the longer you’re protected,” Dr. Obagi says. Apply Clinque’s Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Face Sunscreen ($21) protection.
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Botox prevents wrinkles
This one isn’t so black and white. “Botox prevents dynamic lines (deep lines and furrows), but not age wrinkles (fine lines),” Dr. Obagi says.
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It’s good for your skin to exfoliate twice a day
False. Put down the face brush! Dr. Obagi says it’s okay to exfoliate once a day if you have oily or rough skin, otherwise a few times a week is best.
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Your pores get bigger as you get older
True, but only if you have large oil glands and elastin tissue damage, Dr. Obagi says. If you’re concerned about pore size try a serum, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum ($45).
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Foods like French fries and chocolate can make you breakout
This one is controversial, Dr. Obagi says. “It’s true that diet can affect some people’s skin,” he says. Try jotting down your diet for a few weeks to help you determine if there’s a correlation between your breakouts and what you’re eating.
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Eyelash curlers are bad for your eyelashes
Unfortunately this one is true, according to Dr. Obagi. “Eyelash curlers weaken the lashes,” he says. Be gentle when using a curler and only use on bare lashes.
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If you over-pluck your eyebrows they won’t grow back
It may take a while, but Dr. Obagi says this one is false! Try a serum, like Anastasia’s Brow Enhancing Serum Advanced ($45), to speed up the process.
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If your skin is dry it means you’re dehydrated
False. While hydration is important, skin dryness has to do with a disrupted barrier function, Dr. Obagi says, not how much water you consume. Try a mask with hyaluronic acid, like Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask ($88), followed by a rich night cream to combat dry skin.
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Your skin will age the same way as your mother’s
False, aging is much more complicated that that. It’s caused by loss of collagen and elastin, which is influenced by dozens of factors like lifestyle (smoking, drinking) and sun damage, as well as genetics. Try Murad’s Environmental Shield Day Moisture SPF 30 ($60), which has anti-aging benefits as well as a broad spectrum SPF.
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False. Squinting probably won’t create wrinkles, but it can accentuate deep wrinkles, Dr. Obagi says. Use an eye cream if you’re concerned about crows feet—and always wear sunglasses outside! Try Ren’s Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Ageing Eye Cream ($40).