Demystifying beautiful skin - from sunscreen to Botox

Demystifying beautiful skin - from sunscreen to Botox
Cellulaze, a new FDA-approved cellulite treatment, is getting good reviews.

At least one thing never changes. All women, from Cleopatra to now, have jumped through hoops to get beautiful skin. We want it so much that wishful thinking has spawned rumors, old wives tales and glaring inaccuracies. Real Simple magazine interviews plastic surgeons and other specialists to set the records straight, separating truth from misconception.

  • Should skin be squeaky clean? Washing more than twice a day with products that leave your skin tight-as-a-drum strips natural oils, setting your skin up for irritation and dehydration. Avoid cleansers with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS). Instead, look for gentler cleaning agents, which may be glucose based or derived from coconut oil, such as coco betaine, cocamidopropyl betaine, coco glucoside, decyl glucoside, and sucrose laurate.
  • Can Botox or similar botulinum toxin agents prevent wrinkles? Yes and no. If you relax muscles that usually contract, you will see fewer wrinkles over time. But sunscreen and proper skin care are just as important. If you go the Botox route, begin in your 30s for optimal success in fending off wrinkles.
  • Does oily skin wrinkle as much as dry skin? No. Oily skin tends to be thicker, giving you more protection from sun damage, which causes wrinkles.
  • Does junk food cause acne? Food with high glycemic content, i.e., refined carbohydrates, has been associated with breakouts in acne-prone people. Inflammation is known to aggravate acne, and high-glycemic foods (white rice, sweets and sugary drinks) can raise blood sugar and insulin levels quickly, leading to inflammation.
  • Will you get the best results if you use skincare products from the same line? Not necessarily. But if you're trying to improve a problem like acne-prone skin or dark spots, it is best to follow recommendations, using all the products indicated.
  • Can you get rid of cellulite? Creams and massaging treatments may make you look better, but the results are temporary. Liposuction removes deep-fat deposits but not necessarily skin dimpling. However, Cellulaze, a laser treatment that cuts the little vertical bands under the skin that create dimpling, has received FDA approval and is getting good reviews.
  • Can you stay in the sun longer, if the SPF in your sunscreen is higher? Absolutely not. SPF indicates how well the product protects you, not how long. Your sunscreen will be effective if it's reapplied at least every two hours; use at least a teaspoon of it on your face and a shot-glass­size amount on your body.  An SPF of 30 filters out 97 percent of damaging rays. Sunscreens with a higher SPF don't offer much more benefit.

If your skincare is all that it should be and you are still dissatisfied, a board-certified plastic surgeon can offer suggestions to address your skin problems.