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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 1:

‘Natural skincare is safest for my skin.’ any people, especially if they have sensitive or allergy-prone skin, think that ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ skincare is kindest. Even a good many doctors and pharmacists believe that so-called natural ingredients pose the least risk of adverse reactions. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Botanical skincare ingredients such as calendula (marigold extract), feverfew, chamomile, plus a wide variety of essential oils and Botanical fragrances are highly allergenic skincare - so much so, that they are high on the list of topical ingredients ingredients most likely to cause allergic consuch as tact dermatitis.

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I’ve certainly seen many patients in clinic with horrible rashes caused by ‘natural’ skin creams. To call these products ‘healthier’ is misguiding and I strongly urge allergy-prone patients in particular to be cautious with products claiming to be ‘natural’ and/or mentioning plant-based ingredients. Remember, you never react on first contact to an allergen, but tend to build up an allergy over time. So the fact that you’re fine with them now doesn’t mean that they’re safe long-term.

calendula (marigold extract), feverfew, chamomile, plus a wide variety of essential oils and fragrances are highly allergenic

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 2:

‘Good old-fashioned soap is purest for my skin.’ es - cleansing is important. Daily cleansing removes dirt, old make-up, excess oil and dead skin cells and helps control the bacterial load on your skin's surface. But it’s vital to use the right cleanser for your skin type. Surprisingly, patients often ask me about simple soaps and feel that this ‘back to nature’ approach will benefit their skin, especially if it’s oily or ‘impure.’ Sadly, traditional soaps won't do you any favours whatever your skin type. They cause irritation, dryness and roughness by disturbing the skin's natural pH (acid balance); disrupting its protective barrier function; and damaging the fat and protein structure of the surface horny layer. Fatty acids in soap are also comedogenic, so can aggravate breakouts. So bar the soap - it’s no good to anyone. But here’s use. But sorry, I'm not a big fan Many wet wipes the good news. Cosmetic sciof them either. As a cross becontain high ence has moved on and there tween a rinse-off product and a are now some great multi-funcleave-on product, they don't fit concentrations of tional cleansers, which cleanse either category particularly preservatives to the skin surface gently and effiwell. They won't cleanse your ciently while addressing differskin properly because they can't prevent contamination ent skin types and their contain thorough enough problems. If you have dry skin, cleansing agents, as traces of the right cleanser can moisturize at the same time, product inevitably remain on the skin. They might while a well-formulated cleanser for oily skin will on the other hand still contain some potentially lowhelp reduce sebum production and pore-clogging im- grade irritating ingredients, which of course end up purities. While oily skin usually benefits from a staying on your skin. Many wipes contain for examfoaming cleanser (never a creamy, or even worse, an ple high concentrations of preservatives to prevent oil-based formula), a non-foaming creamy wash is contamination (bacteria love moist environments!) best for dry and sensitive skin. After cleansing (and but also raise the risk of reactions. You see? It's a moisturizing), your skin should feel comfortable and no-win situation. Use them in an emergency by all supple, but never tight and itchy. means - and yes, they’re great for travel. But don’t One last word about cleansing wipes. It's easy to see let them get to be a habit. They’re certainly no subwhy they're so popular - they're quick and simple to stitute for your thorough, regular cleanser.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 3:

‘Cleanse, tone, moisturize is the ideal skincare regime.’ should now expect far more than just basic moisturizing properties from our ‘moisturizers’. To protect your skin in the morning, a good, moisturizer should contain broadspectrum sun protection with SPF (UVB) 30-50 and PPD (UVA) of at least 15. For details on this, download our complementary report on sun protection. And, since no sunscreen is ever 100% effective, an antioxidant serum under your moisturizer is a crucial firewall, which helps neutralize damaging free radicals, caused by sun exposure, pollution and many other hile cleansing is an To protect your skin in factors. So think of your morning important part of routine rather as ‘cleanse and proyour daily skinthe morning, a good, tect.’ care routine, you moisturizer should might be surprised to hear that In the evening, if you’re under 30 and don’t yet have issues with toners aren’t strictly necessarily. contain broadlines, wrinkles or loss of elasticity, Toners were originally develspectrum sun you might get away with a simple oped to remove irritating soap moisturizer after cleansing away leftovers from the skin surface, protection with SPF the dirt of the day. However, from but thanks to modern soap-less (UVB) 30-50 and PPD 30 to 35 years onwards (earlier if cleansers, they’re no longer necessary. Toners can even irritate you’ve already noticed first signs (UVA) of at least 15 of ageing) your overnight moisdry and sensitive skin, espeturizer needs active ingredients cially if they have an alcohol base. My feeling is that most toners are a marketing to help repair existing damage and encourage colgimmick. Why over-complicate your skincare rou- lagen and elastin production necessary for firm and healthy connective tissue. Your nightly mantra tine? So to the final step of your daily skincare routine. then, should be ‘cleanse and repair.’ Check out Unless you have very oily skin, you’ll certainly benefit our skincare regimes on www.EudeloBoutique.com from a daily moisturizer. However, I feel that we for examples of good products.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 4:

‘If in doubt, choose a product for all skin types.’ While dry skin needs gentle, creamy and lipid-rich formulas, oily skin prone to breakouts should stick to lighter, oil-free products.

orry - as a dermatologist anything that claims to suit ‘all skin types’ makes no sense whatsoever. Good skincare should be tailored to individual skin types and needs. So whereas a mass-appeal product is likely to generate a healthy turnover for the manufacturer, it’s a short-sighted strategy. Generic skincare doesn’t do anyone any real good in the long term. Think about it - surely half of those hoping for improvements will end up frustrated by problems caused by a product that doesn’t actually suit their skin? I can tell you that every single week I see several patients who come to my clinic with breakouts simply caused by the wrong skincare. And this, by the way, is something they’ve often been advised to use by a supposedly expert beauty consultant. So where skin’s concerned, one simply does not fit all. While dry skin needs gentle, creamy and lipidrich formulas, oily skin prone to breakouts should stick to lighter, oil-free products. I feel strongly that many skin problems could be avoided if people received the right advice from companies less interested in making a quick buck and more dedicated to offering long-term, tailor-made solutions. Or maybe I’m expecting too much…

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 5:

‘High Street Facials help clear breakouts.’

are totally unsuitable. Inexpert ’m generalizing here, I admit. squeezing of blackheads and But it seems that high street whiteheads for example, can salons approach skin that’s Many beauty force bacteria deeper into skin prone to breakouts in a way that often makes it worse. A tissue causing further inflammatherapists simply aren’t tion and flare-ups. study from India even reported trained sufficiently to Of course, there are exceptions that facials actively cause acne where beauty therapists do a breakouts in 80% of people! I’m deal with problem skin truly excellent job - and I’m not surprised. I’ve lost count of and use both products the times I’ve checked out the happy to say, I’ve trained some Facials Menu in beauty salon and techniques that are of them. In Germany, most derwindows and read how oilmatologists have a specialist totally unsuitable. beauty therapist working alongbased treatments are supposed side them in their clinic and to benefit oily, acne-prone skin. these specialist facials - includ‘The right type of oil benefits ing expert comedone (blackhead even oily skins…..’ is a recurring theme in magazines, too. and whitehead) extractions Er, wrong! If you’re prone to acne breakouts, best support acne treatments immensely. So my advice is, avoid high street facials. Many beauty therapists if you do have problem skin skip the high street. For simply aren’t trained sufficiently to deal with prob- the right kind of advice and results, see a therapist lem skin and use both products and techniques that in your dermatologist’s clinic instead.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 6:

‘Twenty is too young to worry about skin ageing.’

oung women and men in their teens and 20s often think they’re infallible. Long-term consequences of smoking, sun beds, fast foods and sloppy skincare are so far away, they’re not even on the radar. (Does routinely falling into bed without taking off your makeup sound familiar?) Even more worrying, many of them know very well the harm they’re doing, yet still carry on. A recent study found that although teenagers are well educated about the dangers of sun bedding, a tan now outweighs the fear of repercussions later. I’m here to tell you that prevention is so much easier than repair and that correcting existing skin damage is rarely straightforward. In our 20s, Mother Nature helps us hide most of our skincare sins. But from our 30s onwards she becomes less and less forgiving. So it’s never too early to invest in your skin’s future. Lifestyle changes now could dramatically change how well your skin will age and pay serious longterm dividends. I’m here to tell you that when you’re 40, 50, 60 and beyond, you’ll still want to look the best you can. In time, you’ll look 10 years younger than your mates who have kept up their bad old ways. So here’s the plan.

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A: Stop smoking. This is one of the most crucial moves to keep your skin looking great. Come on – there’s really no excuse! B: Start using sun protection. Instead of your regular moisturizer, switch to a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) SPF 30-50 formula and use it every single morning, summer and winter. And sun beds? Don’t even go there… C: Get the antioxidant habit. Apply a good antioxidant serum to your face, neck, chest and hands every morning before you apply sun protection. Key ingre7


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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

dients are for example vitamin C, vitamin E, phloretin and ferulic acid. D: Eat well. Cut out sugar and limit your intake of grainbased and starchy foods (sweets, cakes, biscuits, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, pasties - yes, all the good stuff. Tell me about it!). All these raise your blood sugar levels and result in AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which and are a major factor in ageing, not only for your skin. Lower blood sugar = lower insulin levels = a longer life! What you should eat more of are lots of fresh vegetables, good fats (such as olive oil and coconut oil), high quality protein, plus fresh fruit in moderation. Forget the low-fat hysteria of the past 20 years. It’s a sugary and starchy, high carbohydrate diet that contributes most to ‘inflammageing’ - the slow-burning, inflammatory process that makes you old before your time. E: Drink the right stuff. That’s lots of water and unsweetened white or green antioxidant teas, but avoid higher caffeinated and of course sugary drinks and too much alcohol. F: Once you’re 30 to 35, use a cream with vitamin A. The ‘repair’ vitamin has been proven to boost production of collagen and elastin, which keeps skin firm, plump and wrinkle-free. Apply it to your face, chest, neck and hands each evening. Look for over-the-counter products containing retinol or retinaldehyde (both potent forms of vitamin A). When you turn 35, ask your dermatologist to prescribe a ‘goldstandard’ tretinoin (vitamin A acid) cream. G: Get enough sleep and beat stress. Both sleep deprivation and chronic stress raise levels of cortisol and adrenaline - inflammatory hormones known to have negative effects on collagen metabolism and longevity. You need seven to eight hours sleep per night to allow the body to switch over to repair mode after the day’s wear and tear.

Lower blood sugar = lower insulin levels = a longer life! What you should eat more of are lots of fresh vegetables, good fats, high quality protein, plus fresh fruit in moderation. 8


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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 7:

‘If I use better skincare, I should see a difference after a couple of weeks.’ here’s no doubt in my mind that using a good skincare regime with effective cosmeceuticals benefits our skin immensely. But the timescale needed to reap real benefits isn’t always reflected by the manufacturer’s claims - or the media hype, come to that. There are too many ‘miracle’ creams on the market promising dramatic, visible skin improvements after just two to four weeks – or even immediately. Let’s have a closer look at those claims. Anti-ageing creams invariably promise both instant and long term results. What you should notice immediately after application is improved hydration – your skin feels softer, more moisturized and comfortably elastic. But does looking and feeling better mean your skin has physically changed for the better, deep down? Sadly, it’s not that simple. What I expect from an anti-ageing formula goes way beyond pure hydration. While it’s helping to protect my skin from environmental damage, I’d like to know it’s boosting production of good quality, wrinkle-preventing proteins including collagen and elastin. In other words, I want Embarking on a good actual changes in my deep skin’s biology. And I realize this won’t skincare regime is like happen overnight. joining the gym. You Let’s get real - I’m talking months to years, rather than wouldn’t expect major days to weeks. Embarking on a miracles after only a good skincare regime is like joining the gym. You wouldn’t couple of weeks’ expect major miracles after only exercise, would you? a couple of weeks’ exercise, would you? A good skincare regime is a serious investment

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in your skin’s future – like a fund you keep paying into to enjoy the benefits on maturity. Bear in mind that these benefits might not show in exactly the way you expected. You’re not likely to look in the mirror one day and think, ‘wow! I look 10 years younger than I did last week!’ Instead, it’s my experience that after your 35th or 40th birthday you’ll gradually start to realize you’re looking so much younger than friends who haven’t taken their skin so seriously. Isn’t that a nice thought?


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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 8:

‘The more I spend, the better the product.’

Nomenclature of Cosmetic Inot necessarily. No names gredients which packages must mentioned, but there are display) make sure it appears products on the market, high on the list, as this indicates costing way over £100 a higher concentration. Someper pot which are basically no times you can find ‘active inbetter than Vaseline. (Some even My advice is to not just gredients’ appearing even after feel like Vaseline….) Disillusiontrust fancy packaging, fragrance in the INCI list, ing, no? On the other hand, not which of course should tell you all expensive creams are rip-offs. but look for evidencesomething… Good, evidence-based raw ingrebased products with Last, but not least, be aware of dients for cosmetics can be pricy. cheap ‘copy cat’ versions, which And, if a cream contains several clinical studies behind may well contain less concenof these at functional strengths them. trated actives or a less effective (rather than low ‘dusting’ concentrations that merely justify derivative of the active ingredient, rendering the product less name-dropping on the package) effective. Did you know for exthe cost certainly mounts up. So ample, that many products while not all ‘prestige’ products claiming to contain ‘vitamin C’ are worth their price ticket, good don’t contain pure L-ascorbic acid but essentially results might, in fact, come at a price. My advice is to not just trust fancy packaging, but useless derivatives of vitamin C? All in all, choosing look for evidence-based products with clinical stud- skincare can be a confusing maze. Best be sure and ies behind them. Also, when checking the active check with your dermatologist which products are ingredient on the INCI list (the International genuinely worth the cash.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 9:

‘Smoothing my wrinkles will make me look younger.’ When a patient says they want to look younger, I examine their face holistically to assess all the three key aspects of ageing. Lines and wrinkles are important factors, but loss of volume and contour and problems with the skin’s surface texture also contribute to an older-looking face. Once, cosmetic treatments were all about ‘chasing’ lines and wrinkles, but over the past few years research has focused increasingly on recontouring and volumizing techOnce, cosmetic niques. With age, one of the first treatments were all youthfully plump areas to go are our cheeks. As we lose our fat about ‘chasing’ lines padding, cheeks become flatter and wrinkles, but over and our face looses its youthful heart shape. We now know that the past few years plumper cheeks (forget celebrity research has focused ‘pillow faces’ - I’m talking about gentle, natural-looking cheek increasingly on recushions) give a much more contouring and youthful profile. Often the rejuvenating effect of cheek plumping volumizing techniques. is in fact, much more dramatic than simple smoothing of lines and wrinkles! Lips are another area prone to volume loss, which in turn leads to vertical lines on and around the contours (think prune versus plum!). But forget the old ‘trout pouts.’ With the latest techniques (and a sensitive approach!), results can be so successful, you’d never guess anything had been done. Of course, only injection treatments can achieve plumping results like these - no cream ever could, even if they promise the most amazing ‘filling and plumping’ results. But where topical skincare excels is in helping 11


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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

that boost collagen production into boost skin elasticity and reduce clude potent vitamin-A derivacrêpiness and irregular pigmenAnother corner stone tives retinol and retinaldehyde. tation. It’s these improvements to Typical over-the-counter prodthe skin surface and texture that of pigmentation ucts for irregular pigmentation makes a rejuvenation treatment treatment is sun contain antioxidants as well as kocomplete. Patchy pigmentation jic acid and arbutin, which inhibit and loss of elasticity is a major avoidance and sun tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible concern for many of my patients. protection, sun for the generation of melanin in As well as smoothing and firming, with its collagen-boosting melanocytes, our pigment buildprotection and more ing cells. In addition, they might and exfoliating properties, vitasun protection! min A acid (tretinoin) is also efalso contain an exfoliating ingredient to accelerate shedding of exfective in reducing patchy pigRemember, one day of isting melanin. But real results mentation, especially when used excess sun can undo take time and patience. Pigmenin combination with hydrotation responds very, very slowly quinone. However, these are months of treatment. both prescription-only treatments and good results can take up to six months to show. Another corand should be carefully supervised by a dermatologist. ner stone of pigmentation treatment is sun avoidance and sun But there are also some good over-the-counter products, which can improve skin protection, sun protection and more sun protection! elasticity and help reduce the production of melanin Remember, one day of excess sun can undo months of pigment in our skin. Good non-prescription ingredients treatment. 12


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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 10:

‘My dry skin needs a moisturizer with a high water content.’

Dry skin is extremely common - it affects up to 40% the skin’s barrier function, reduce TEWL and so of us. Yet strange as it sounds, the last thing we need normalize dry skin. Let’s have a closer look at that. is a water-rich moisturizer, which would dry skin Skin has three main layers. From the bottom up, the even more. Instead, what dry skin needs most is a subcutis, or deep skin ‘cushion’ of fatty tissue; the cream rich in lipids, which form dermis of firm connective, supa thin surface film to reduce the portive tissue and the epidersteady evaporation of water mis, the skin’s outer protective What dry skin needs layer. Most surface signs of agefrom the skin. This water evaporation via our skin surface is ing such as wrinkles and loss of most is a cream rich in called transepidermal water loss elasticity begin in the middle lipids, which form a thin layer, the dermis. But it’s the or TEWL. It happens to all skin epidermal top layer, which regall the time without our noticsurface film to reduce ing. However, in dry skin the ulates water homeostasis – the the steady evaporation skin’s moisture quota. The most barrier function may be damsuperficial sheet of the epideraged, meaning more water is of water from the skin lost than normal. The lipids in mis – the stratum corneum, or your moisturizer can help repair ‘horny layer’ - plays the most 13


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crucial role of all. Think of this horny layer as a microscopically tiny bricks and mortar wall. The bricks are flat, horny dead skin cells and the mortar consists of lipids – ceramides, free fatty acids and cholesterol – that cement them together. The protective horny barrier has two key functions – to keep environmental hazards out and to keep water in. And it usually does both pretty well. However, certain internal and environmental conditions can reduce the lipid content between cells, so that water evaporates more easily from the skin surface. A variety of factors including genetic tendency to dry skin and of course, age all compromise skin lipids and cause increased water loss via our skin surface. Water itself can also dry skin! If you take frequent baths or showers - especially hot ones -you’ll notice your skin gets drier. That’s why people with dry skin should always add an oil or emollient to their bath water. Try to avoid lengthy and very hot baths as well as any soap or detergents – use an emollient soap substitute instead. And give that stressed horny skin layer a helping hand. A lipid-rich moisturizer will help to reinforce the skin’s protective barrier and minimize water loss. My top tip is to apply it when your skin’s still damp from the bath or shower to trap more moisture in the surface layers.

Water itself can also dry skin! If you take frequent baths or showers especially hot ones -you’ll notice your skin gets drier. That’s why people with dry skin should always add an oil or emollient to their bath water.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮


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dermatology london

⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 11:

‘You need a separate sunscreen and moisturizer.’

ot these days, you don’t. Good sunscreen products already moisturize your skin, so no need to apply an extra moisturizer - unless your skin is very dry. In that case, make sure to apply the moisturizer first, allow it to sink in, then apply sun protection on top. (Remember sun protection should always go on last, in order to avoid diluting its SPF). But if you have normal, combination or even oily skin, a sunscreen chosen to suit your skin type should be enough all on its own. If, when you think of sun protection, a sticky sun protection cream used in your last holiday springs to your mind, I have good news for you. You can now get amazingly silky sun protection moisturisers in an extremely elegant base, where you wouldn't even know it contains a high SPF!

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Myth 12:

‘For a flawless foundation finish, I need a primer on top of my moisturizer.’ anufacturers claim primers smooth lines, wrinkles and open pores, giving foundation a perfectly even surface to sit on. Save your money! A good moisturizer should do all that, too. In fact, since primers are often rich in silicone derivatives, they may even aggravate skin that’s prone to breakouts. So keep it simple and maybe save primers for special occasions, but avoid using them every day.

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Since primers are often rich in silicone derivatives, they may even aggravate skin that’s prone to breakouts.

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dermatology london

⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 13:

‘If you react to a product, you’re allergic to it and must avoid it.’ his is a very common misconception. If a product leaves you with, say flaking, itching or a mild rash there may be a couple of causes. You’re either allergic to one of the ingredients, or you’ve experienced an irritant reaction. This second type of reaction is far more common and doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the ingredient in future. It may just be that you used too much too soon for your specific skin condition. If you’re susceptible, many highly effective ingredients such as retinol (vitamin A) or AHAs (alpha hydroxyl acids) can cause skin irritation. So if you start using a product containing these, the key is to introduce it slowly and gradually into your regime and work your way up to levels your skin can tolerate. If using an active product every day is too much, try alternating it with a simple, soothing moisturizer to give your skin the chance to adjust.

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Myth 14:

‘I need a special neck and chest cream.’ oticed how neck and chest creams are multiplying on the drugstore shelves? In my opinion, all they do is over-complicate your routine. By far the best thing you can do for your neck and check (not to mention your hands) is to treat them exactly the same as your face by extending your regular skincare down to your décolletage. (See above for details on what to use). Remember, the skin in your chest area is exposed to the similar environmental stresses as your face and will show its age if not looked after. So for real anti-ageing skincare, think hairline to nipple line.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

Myth 15:

‘Aqueous cream is a good moisturizer for dry skin.’ queous cream contains sodium. It's often recommended by healthcare professionals such GPs, pharmacists and nurses to moisturize dry or eczema-prone skin on the face and body. But the truth is that Aqueous cream shouldn't be used as a moisturizer at all. As an excellent and inexpensive soap substitute, it's great to use in the shower for cleansing all over (including the genitoanal area). The downside is that it contains sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a detergent, which can irritate and damage the skin's barrier function if left on for long periods. So next time someone tries to sell you Aqueous cream as a leave-on moisturizer, just say no.

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The downside is that it contains sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), a detergent, which can irritate and damage the skin's barrier function if left on for long periods.

Disclaimer: this report is not meant to be medical advice in any shape or form. These are personal opinions of Dr Stefanie Williams, which are shared for educational interest only. If you have any health concerns, please see your GP or healthcare professional.

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⎮ 15 skin care myths. ⎮ Dr Stefanie Williams ⎮

About Us

Dr Stefanie Williams is a Dermatologist with a special interest in Cosmetic Dermatology. She is a fully qualified, GMC registered medical doctor and Specialist Dermatologist. She was awarded the title of Specialist Dermatologist on passing the rigorous German specialisation training and exam. Dr Stefanie is founder and Medical Director of European Dermatology London, an award winning private boutique Skin Clinic. Founded upon the strong tradition of Dermatology in Continental Europe, we take a thorough and comprehensive view of skin care, offering both medical and cosmetic treatments. Dr Stefanie lectures and performs research at a London University. She has published more than 100 scientific articles, book chapters and abstracts and frequently speaks at international conferences. Dr Stefanie is regularly quoted in the press as an expert and is a member of various leading professional associations including the British Association of Dermatologists, European Society for Cosmetic and Aesthetic Dermatology, and the Society of Cosmetic Scientists. Stefanie is married with three children. Find out more about the clinic and our services at: www.eudelo.com. We also offer a selected range of the best skin care products available on www.EudeloBoutique.com.

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15 Skin care myths