The Skin Coach: Top 3 Skin Myths Decoded

"The Skin Coach" column is written by Kimmy Williams, owner of Acqua e Sapone, a skin clinic in San Francisco. Today's post decodes the top 3 skin myths.

Steam Opens Up Pores
Most of us have steamed our faces before applying an at-home mask or popping a pimple in an attempt to open up our pores. This is a false myth that only takes a simple experiment to disprove. Wear a ring and notice how it feels on one of your fingers. Now try taking the ring off the next time you feel hot and you will notice that the ring feels tighter on your finger because heat causes expansion, not constriction. So not only are you not opening up your pores by steaming your face, you are more likely swelling them and causing them to become smaller.

Acne is Caused by an Unhealthy Lifestyle
This myth has probably been around since the beginning of acne itself. With the development of modern science, we now know that acne is not a punishment given to those who consume fried chicken but rather a genetic disease caused by a condition called retention hyperkeratosis. Those with this condition are prone to produce dead skin cells at a faster rate than people without acne and as a result, the skin cells sludge up inside the follicle, mix with oil and bacteria, and form pimples. Sure, certain lifestyle factors like diet and stress can exacerbate the condition but ultimately, acne is not caused by junk food.

The Little Dots on My Nose are Blackheads
Blackhead removal strips are sought out by many in an attempt to get rid of the blackheads on their nose. If you are battling these stubborn little dots on your nose or chin and you have tried those strips with no luck, chances are they are actually sebaceous filaments. These plugs are the exposed tip of your oil glands that have hardened and formed little plugs. Although they resemble blackheads, there are a few ways to tell the two apart. Sebaceous filaments tend to be lighter in color, have a uniform pattern, and are more flush with the skin. When extracted, they reappear within days unlike blackheads which takes weeks or even months to form.