The prestigious dermatologist Ricardo Ruiz publishes ‘What your skin says about you’, where he dismantles some of the most widespread myths related to the skin
With cosmetics it happens as with the food packaging that we find in the supermarket: they often promise much more than they can offer. Just take a walk through the section of any department store to find anti-loss, repairing or fortifying shampoos that seem like the definitive remedy and, in reality, they are not. “I have no conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry,” says one of the most prestigious cosmetic and oncological dermatologists in our country, director and founder of the Madrid International Dermatological Clinic.
Ruiz, author of dozens of scientific articles in prestigious journals, has just presented What your skin says about you (The Sphere of Books), his new book. A work of more than 300 pages in which this doctor explains in an informative way what types of skin cancer exist, how to know if a mole is dangerous or not, why our face ages, what creams you should never use if you are pregnant, what are the characteristics of vitiligo, the disease that his wife suffers from, or what is hidden in the creams, lotions or gels that we find in stores, among other matters.
An informative guide anticharlatanes which, as its subtitle says, aims to reveal the “secrets of a dermatologist about remedies, treatments and advances for a 10 result” and combat the most widespread myths in the collective imagination.
Water and skin hydration
One of the most widespread false beliefs is the one that points out that to have healthy and glowing skin you have to drink a lot of water. “Drinking water does not hydrate the skin”Ruiz writes emphatically in his book. “As much as many media outlets insist that you have to drink a lot of water to keep your skin hydrated, this is not true. The skin is hydrated through the application of creams”.
Actually, as the dermatologist clarifies a little further down, what is achieved by applying creams to our skin is to prevent dehydration. “That is to say, with moisturizing creams what we can do is control the loss of water through the skin. When the loss of water through the skin decreases, its hydration increases”, he confirms. However, not all products that reduce skin dehydration serve this purpose. “If we wrap the skin with a plastic, the loss of water through it is eliminated and the hydration of the skin is so excessive that it adventureRuiz points out.
Dark circles: not only due to lack of sleep
There are many people who think that the appearance of dark circles under our eyelids is due to lack of sleep. It’s true. However, this is not the only reason. “Frequently, alcohol causes dark circles and fluid retention on the eyelids. In addition, avoiding alcohol produces immediate weight loss”, writes Ruiz.
Rubbing your eyes can also promote pigmentation in this area, just like the sun’s rays, so Ruiz recommends using glasses and creams to protect the area. “Try injecting a little hyaluronic acid if you have a loss of volume, that is, if the area under your eyes is sunken. Be very careful not to inject too much, since this acid attracts water and we can worsen the bags“, emphasizes the dermatologist.
The lie of hair loss shampoos
There are no shampoos that have an anti-loss effect, nor are we going to cut our hair to make it grow faster. This is what Ruiz says in What your skin says about you. Neither the use of lacquers, hair gels, hairpins or the dryer will make it fall out more quickly than if we did not use them. These are some of the most widespread myths related to our hair that scientific evidence has been responsible for dismantling over the years. Then? What is the solution to avoid going bald? Is transplantation the only way out?
As the specialist explains, shampoos are not going to help much, but there are some treatments that offer good results for androgenetic alopecia, such as minoxidil in the form of a lotion (a molecule that manages to improve capillary density), plasma infiltrations platelet rich protein (PRP) or dutasteride and minoxidil. “The appearance of new antiandrogen drugs (finasteride and dutasteride) together with oral minoxidil and infiltrations of dutasteride or PRP, they have revolutionized the management of hormonal alopecia”, affirms the specialist.
“I can sunbathe with sunscreen”
Sunburns are directly related to the possible development of melanoma. It is not something new. However, there are many people who still think that slathering on sun cream gives you a kind of immunity against skin cancer. It is not true. “There are studies that show that applying a lot of sunscreen increases the risk of melanoma,” explains Dr. Ruiz.
“It should not be forgotten that some epidemiological studies have observed an increase in the incidence of melanoma among habitual users of sunscreens, which has been attributed in part to the fact that people who use more cream also increase the time they are exposed to the sun by having the feeling that they are more protected than they really are.” Thus, the dermatologist bets that creams with a factor of less than 15 “disappear from the market”. On the contrary, it is advisable to always choose creams whose protection index is between 20 and 50. “A protection index of 30 blocks 96.7% while one of 50 blocks 98%”.