The 12 Most Shocking Facts about Skin Care in 2012

Skin Care

Lots of exciting things are happening in 2012:  the presidential election; the London Olympics; my fifth year of blogging…:-)  And yes, having blogged for nearly a half decade now, there are a few vital lessons about skin care I’ve learned.  Here are 12 of the most little-known facts I’ve discovered:

12.  You can use more than one type of sunscreen at once.

Some of the dermatologists I have interviewed suggest using a chemical sunscreen, like avobenzone or oxybenzone, under a physical sunscreen, like zinc oxide or titanium oxide.  The reason is simple:  the physical sunscreen prevents UV rays from hitting the skin.  Whatever UV rays manage to get through, the chemical sunscreen transfers into a different [non-damaging] form of energy, preventing damage to your skin.

11.  Percentage of UV rays that get through sunscreen = 1/[SPF number]x100.

So if you are wearing SPF 50, percentage of UV rays that get through = 1/50 = 0.02 x 100 = 2%.

10.  No matter how old you are or what type of skin you have, the #1 best product is sunscreen.  The #2?  Retinoids.

9.  The skin care market in South Korea tends to be more advanced than that in the U.S. by about 5-10 years.

The reasons?  Less red tape for introducing new ingredients and delivery systems, and more demand for skin care in general.

8.  Next up in skin care?

Expect to see more of the following 5 in 2012 and beyond:

  • Organic and natural skin care;
  • Probiotics in skin care;
  • Hyperpigmentation and age spot treatments from Asia, like Chanel LeBlanc Brightening Serum TXC;
  • More products targeted towards differences in genetics, skin structure and ethnic differences;
  • Antimicrobial peptides.

7.  Foundation or powder with SPF does not really work.  

You need 14 times the average application to get the SPF protection listed on the package.  Scientists test facial powders to determine SPF in a manner mandated by the FDA, assuming that 2mg of product will be used per cm2 of skin. However, the average face is about 600cm2, meaning that a person needs to apply about 1.2g of facial powder to get the SPF stated on the product’s label. Most women only apply about 0.085g of powder at a time – fourteen times less than you need to get the SPF listed on the package!

6.  Believe it or not, there are a number of body care products that would be perfectly fine for use on the face.  

Though certainly not a universal truth, some body creams really are so high-quality that they’re great for the face.  They’re much cheaper dollar-for-ounce, obviously, and are great to take on vacation!  One great example?  Olay Quench Body Lotion, with approximately 4% of the hyperpigmentation-fighting, skin-softening, age-refining ingredient niacinamide.  What’s more:  It’s 59 cents an ounce on  I’ve used it on my normal-to-sensitive facial skin in the past, and absolutely love it.

5.  If you have multiple skin concerns, it may be best to mix products from different skin care lines.  

Many lines have one “concentrated” product, usually a serum, and others with far less of the active ingredient, typically the cleanser.  The best way to do this is to literally bring in the products you’d like to use together and discuss with your dermatologist.

4.  Using a 15% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E antioxidant serum, like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, under a sunscreen can boost your UV protection up to 4 times throughout the day.

3.  Packaging matters.  

Open-top jars tend to be exposed to more light, air, and bacteria (from your fingers).  It’s best to select antioxidant creams that are packaged in dark or opaque, airtight containers with pumps.

2.  What you eat can be as important as what you put on your skin.  

In fact, a 2008 study in the Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that eating a nutrient actually may be more beneficial than topically applying it, at least in terms of nutrient delivery to the skin cells.  (For more, read my blog post).  Still, no food will ever refine your skin like a glycolic acid peel or increase cell turnover like a prescription retinoid, but it’s good to keep in mind when choosing between a brownie and a banana as a snack.

1.  The best time to use your most concentrated skin care products may be at nighttime.  

The basal body temperature is slightly more elevated at nighttime, helping to increase the penetration of ingredients into the skin.  I prefer to use retinoids at night for this reason.

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Photo credits:  Shocked lock face, originally uploaded by Digger Digger Dogstar.

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  • Sandra

    Great post! I agree with Pedro. Japanese products are so superior, and I love them. I also prefer Japanese BB creams over Korean, although Korean BB creams are great as well. Anyway, great post! Many thanks!

  • Kasia

    One other worthy item to mention is BB Creams! I guess this could fall under #9 but BB creams is finally coming to the United States. Its skin care and foundation all in one!

  • Caryn

    Does the natural skin care line,FEI’D , really help get rid of age spots?

  • Number 7 makes a lot of sense! SPF is not really something along the lasting powers of a powder. It usually has to seep into your skin and not be off the hour ow two you leave home right?

  • “The skin care market in South Korea tends to be more advanced than that in the U.S. by about 5-10 years.”

    I’d add Japan. Not for anti-wrinkles, but for cleansers and sunscreens.

  • B Burns

    I’m definitely going to be checking out S.Korean skincare! And the probiotics tip excites me-one of my favorite brands is Nude and they include a lot of probiotics.

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