The guys on Mythbusters may be experts in debunking scientific urban legends, but for beauty ones, we’re on our own. That’s why we rounded up the top 10 most common skin and hair myths, and got to the bottom of them—you’ll be surprised over which eight are false…and even more so about which two are for real!
#1 “I break out from pizza/chocolate/fries.”
FALSE. This is one of the oldest old wives’ tales there is, but studies have shown no correlation between eating these foods and acne. One theory is that during your period or times of stress—both peaks for breakouts—you’re more likely to eat these foods, so they may be associated, but those snacks don’t cause acne (a few extra pounds is another story).
#2 “I only have to wear sunscreen in the summer.”
FALSE. Whether it’s July or February, UVA rays (the ones that lead to wrinkles and skin cancer) are equally powerful. And even though UVB rays, which make skin burn, are less powerful in the winter, glare from snow and sidewalks can make those rays up to 80 percent more intense. The moral: you may not feel the burn, but you need to wear SPF 30 no matter the weather or season.
#3 “My mom has good skin, so I don’t have to worry.”
FALSE. Congrats on good genes—they definitely help. But you can end up as wrinkly as your grandma in a few years, depending on if you expose yourself to the habits that can age you: getting too much sun exposure, smoking, and stress.
#4 “Sleeping on your stomach can cause wrinkles.”
TRUE. Sorry stomach—and side—sleepers: smushing creases into your face for hours a night, every night can lead to permanent wrinkles. Some derms even say they can look at a sleeper’s face and tell which side she lays on from the deeper nasiolabial fold (smile line) on that side. The best way to prevent wrinkles: sleep on your back.
#5 “I don’t need anti-aging treatments until I’m in my 40s or 50s.”
FALSE. The bad news is that skin slows down its production of collagen and elastin—what makes skin tight, springy, and young-looking—when you turn 30. The good news is that department stores and drugstores are lined with anti-aging products for all ages.
#6 “The sun will clear up my acne.”
FALSE. But we admit it: after a day at the beach, skin can look better. But a few days later, it makes acne worse. That’s because the sun causes dead skin cells to build up and clog pores, and dehydrates the skin, so it makes skin produce even more oil in the long run.
#7 “I don’t want to shave because it will make my hair grow back thicker.”
FALSE. Whether you shave, wax, or pluck, it won’t permanently change the diameter or the density of your hair. It may look thicker than when you wax, though, because it’s growing in at different cycles, whereas when you shave it grows back at once.
#8 “Applying moisturizer with downward strokes will pull your face down and cause wrinkles.”
FALSE. If only it was as easy as an upward application to never get wrinkles! The only way you could create a wrinkle there would be by stretching the skin that way for hours—and if it takes you that long to apply moisturizer, you have bigger problems.
#9 “Cucumber slices are the best way to reduce eye puffiness.”
FALSE. ‘Cukes are good, but other cool, damp items work just as well, like cooled tea bags or even the convex side of cold spoons. But the best treatment may be a cold compress soaked in milk, since it’s soothing, moisturizing, and lubricating (and also works on sunburns).