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5206 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

(480) 948-5045

A Kernel of Truth: Debunking Cosmetics Myths

By Dr. Susan Van Dyke
July 26, 2010
The Kernel of Truth

The Kernel of Truth

I was reading my email this morning and up pops my daily Groupon (a popular discount coupon service that I subscribe to).  Today’s offer is too good to be true 92% off spa services, so I look further. Great marketing, “made me look”!  And there was an amazing statement, and I quote: “Lying in the sun causes the tiny gold deposits under the skin to heat up and explode, resulting in a million dollar tan”.  Ok, nobody actually thinks they have little pieces of metal that ingnite causing their skin to change color….or does somebody take this as a truth?   It got me to thinking about all of the myths and misconceptions that float around simply because someone heard someone say something.  Lack of education is our problem with perhaps a tad bit of gullibility thrown in.

Here are a few myths that I hear from time to time and a kernel of truth.

  • Tans are caused by exploding gold nuggets (actually this is a new one on me)
    • MYTH
      • Tans are a way for your skin to defend itself against the cancer causing and aging forces of the sun.  Pigment (melanin) is stimulated by sun and acts as an umbrella to shield you. Culturally, we have associated tan with health (we used to also think smoking improved health but that is another story). Economically, an industry that delivers artificial yet still damaging sun rays has developed, hence the flowery language that caught my eye. Maybe people are more likely to pay for cancer inducing skin treatments if they imagine gold explosions rather than DNA damaging radiation.
      • Bottom line:  Stick to the spray tan or better yet, embrace your natural color whatever shade that is.
  • Over swollen fish lips can be the only result of fillers in the lips.
    • MYTH
      • As much as everyone seems to be in love with Angelina Jolie, I must say that women are not in love with those lips.  The most common fear expressed in my office and at cocktail parties is “I would never get my lips ‘done’!!  I don’t want to look like Angelina Jolie!”
      • Bottom line:  Fillers are like jello, they make a change by filling space.  A little filler restores the lost volume of aging.  Yes, our lips get smaller as time goes on starting in the early 30’s.   A lot of filler can be added to produce gigantic lips.  The resulting lip depends on the skill of the physician or licensed medical professional doing the treatment.  Find an established reputable medical provider and be clear on what you want. Then think of all of the areas on the face that could use just a little fill, I think you will be very pleased with what can be done.
  • Beware the frozen face of Botox, all expression is lost.
    • MYTH
      • Not to pick on celebrities, but they can give cosmetic dermatology a bad rap.  Nicole Kidman, as beautiful as she is, has from time to time overindulged in Botox , I think.
      • Bottom line:  Botox (and now its new competitor Dysport) are certainly capable of relaxing anything that moves, but who wants that?  Find a capable cosmetic medical provider and their experience and your clear desires result in very pleasant softening of harsh movement related lines with out overdone “frozen face”.
  • Sure Latisse grows great eyelashes but it will make my blue eyes brown!
    • MYTH
      • There is some reality here.  Latisse started life as Lumigan, a prescription eye drop that is used for glaucoma.  A small percentage of hazel eyed patients did see darkening of the iris. The MYTH part is that to date no reports of eye color change have occurred with Latisse which is not an eye drop but is applied to the lash line with a brush, like invisible liquid eyeliner.
      • Bottom line:  It seems when used correctly, applied to the lash line, not dropped into the eye, Latisse has not made anyone’s blue eyes brown.
  • Sunblock causes cancer, don’t use it.
    • MYTH
      • Don’t believe it even though it has been all over Twitter lately.  Yes there is a study cited (referred to as junk science by real experts from the Skin Cancer Foundation ) indicating an ingredient of some sunscreens is a problem. The ingredient retinyl palmitate is related to Retin A, one of the original anti wrinkle creams with known anti-cancer properties.
      • Bottom line: Sunscreen is your best way to reduce skin cancer and aging.  Use an SPF of 30 daily and don’t smear massive amounts of retinyl palmitate on your rats.

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Anti-Aging, Blog, Botox, Cosmetic, Dysport, Fillers, Safety, Skin Cancer, Skin Care


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