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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Truth About 10 Common Beauty Myths

Anti-aging, beauty solutions and skin care tend to attract a lot of rumors. We’ve addressed some myths related to acne in a previous post, but here, I’ll offer expert advice on 10 of the most common rumors out there. Here’s The Skinny on whether they’re true or not.

1. Use a little toothpaste on a nasty pimple to help clear it up.


Technically, a little toothpaste on a pimple will help dry out the oil, which is the root of the problem. It serves a similar purpose to benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid solutions. That said, I still don’t recommend it as a long-term solution to the problem. While it may dry out a zit within a few days, it doesn’t provide any healing properties and could also dry out the skin around the zit too much. Not to mention it’s messy, and toothpastes with whitening beads could be too rough for your skin.

2. Cucumbers can help reduce puffy eyes.


We addressed this claim in our post about puffy eyes not too long ago. This is probably more related to the fact that the cucumbers are cool and help reduce any swelling, because cool strawberry slices, cotton balls soaked in cold milk or even a chilled spoon will do the same thing.

3. Lemon juice can lighten your hair.


Lemon juice can act as a bleaching agent, not unlike peroxide. While it can help, keep in mind that you and your lemon juice are not the same as a professional with long-lasting chemical solutions. While the juice may help lighten your hair, it may not be the right color, it may not be as intense as you’d like and it may look blotchy or unnatural. It also may not work at all if you have very dark hair.

4. Caffeine can help reduce puffy eyes.


But probably not in the way you’re thinking. Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning won’t help reduce the puffiness, but an eye cream with caffeine in it will. The caffeine, when applied topically, can help draw water away from the skin and create a tighter appearance.

5. Rubbing egg whites on your skin can help stop or prevent cellulite.


Unfortunately, rubbing egg whites on your skin will just leave you with a big mess on your hands. Actually, nothing will cure cellulite. It develops when fat deposits get caught between the fibrous bands connecting the skin’s tissues. Not even liposuction will completely cure it. And it is almost always genetic – if your mother had cellulite, you’re more likely to have it. Rubbing egg whites on your skin may make the skin look smoother, but it won’t cause any drastic changes.

6. Use dryer sheets on your hair to help quell flyaway strands.


Just like they do for your clothes in the dryer, these sheets reduce the static effect – also known as the culprit behind these pesky flyaway strands. Ever notice that when you try to smooth them down with your hands, they just get worse? Try keeping a dryer sheet in your purse. They’re also great for static on clothes that are sticking to each other!

7. Massage olive oil into your hair to help it grow faster.


Sorry if you’ve pinned something that says olive oil mixed with honey or vinegar or some other common kitchen product will result in long, beautiful locks. I pinned that to my “Myths” board. It’s really the massaging motion that helps your hair grow faster, because it increases blood flow to the scalp. If you want to stimulate hair growth, just wash your hair with regular shampoo. You’ll avoid the oily mess that results from coating it with olive oil.

8. A little hairspray on your face will help your makeup look fresh for hours.


This probably came about by accident when someone with oily skin noticed they didn’t need to blot as often after using hairspray. While hairspray may help quell the oil a little, it won’t actually keep the makeup on in just any condition. You may be better off washing your face (with the right soap!) before applying, using a good oil-free moisturizer or just carrying a little powder with you.

9. Wash your hair with cold water to make it look shinier.


Hot showers can dehydrate the hair shaft when it evaporates, which may actually seem like a good thing if you have persistently oily hair. While a little cool water may help your hair lay flat and appear shinier, it won’t actually change anything – much like those egg whites won’t change anything!

10. Sleeping on your back helps prevent wrinkles.


This is one of the stranger myths out there, but it’s worth remembering! While there is no guarantee, the reason this works is that you avoid spending eight or more hours a day with your face smashed into a pillow. Sleeping on your back is not only good for your face, it’s good for your spine and posture too.

Have any questions or rumors I didn’t address here? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be glad to help!


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