Dr Lowe tackles the truth behind some common skin care myths

Myth:
You protect your skin by just picking a high SPF.

Truth: The SPF measures protection against the UVB rays that cause burning and skin cancer, not the deeper-penetrating UVA rays. We now know UVA rays can damage DNA, cause skin cancer and are a major contributor of skin ageing, so pick a product with UVA protection as well as a good SPF. If you have high SPF but no UVA protection you are lulled into a false sense of security - you may not be burning but the UVA rays are damaging your skin.

Myth:
Acne and blemishes are caused by dirt and poor hygiene.

Truth: Acne and blemishes are mainly triggered by hormones, stress and poor diet. Recent research has highlighted that foods high in sugar content and some dairy products can make acne worse. To keep you and your skin at its best look at reducing stress, eating a healthy balanced diet and using a good skincare regime.

Myth: 
Red faces are caused by alcohol.

Truth:  More common in fair-skinned than dark-skinned people, skin redness (often referred to as Rosacea) is a long-term and non-contagious skin disorder that affects the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead. Often skin reddening is a family condition which is passed down and can lead to Rosacea. Symptoms vary and range from facial redness and flushing, frequently resembling a permanent blush, to more severe red spots and veins. Sometimes burning, stinging or itching can be felt.  

Myth: 
You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day

Truth:  Even on a cloudy day, UV radiation from the sun penetrates the earth’s surface. So make sure you use sunscreen every day, rain or shine. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking you are protected by your makeup. Remember, SPF only refers to skin-burning UVB rays, not skin-ageing cancer-causing UVA rays.

Myth: 
It’s better to get the pus out of a pimple by popping it.

Truth:   It might feel good to pop a pimple, but you could actually be doing for damage to your skin. Rather than releasing the pus a lot of it just goes in deeper, causing more inflammation, which can lead to scarring and spread under the skin. That’s why you’ll get another one a few days later close to the first one. Dab on our spot gel 2 or 3 times a day to any new spot - it's safe, effective and easy.

Myth: 
Washing your face with water and soap will keep your skin healthy

Truth:   Stay away from soap if you want your skin to stay healthy and hydrated. Soap and hot water make the skin dry by removing the skins protective lipids or oils, which then becomes more porous and lets moisture escape from the skin, making the skin dry. Wash your way with a gentle cleanser, using warm water.

Myth: 
Initial irritation means the product is working 

Truth:   Many women believe the initial irritation experienced by the skin when using a product shows that the product is working. However, they must remember that there are effective ingredients which work well on your skin without causing any irritation, peeling or dryness. In fact, irritation inflames the skin which leads to more ageing!