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5 Common skincare myths exposed

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You hear these hair and makeup 'facts' all the time, but are they really true?

 

1. You have to change your beauty products from time to time because “your skin gets used to them.”

Have you used the same cream for years, only to wake up one morning and feel like it suddenly stopped working? Sadly, there is a tiny blemish of truth here. However, it’s not that the skin adapts to the product, as the saying goes, but rather that as your skin ages, changes, or gets sick, like any other bodily organ, it has different needs. So maybe that serum you bought worked wonderfully for six months, and then you don’t see the same results, but it’s not because your skin has become immune to it, or the factory is lowering its quality standards; rather, your skin no longer has the same needs, or there is an environmental factor that is influencing it (such as pollution or seasonal changes). So what do you really need? Different kinds of ingredients each season or life stage to adapt to your ever-changing epidermis.

2. If I pull out a white/gray hair, more will grow in the same spot.

According to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist (I didn’t know this is what hair care specialists are called until now, either) from New York, this is completely false. You can’t generate more hair follicles, nor magically turn other hairs gray by having one touch the strands beside it. What can happen — although it is extremely rare — is that there are two hair follicles in the same place, and so you have two gray hairs to start with. But this doesn’t happen because you pulled out one of your hairs. It also doesn’t mean that you can start plucking any and all the white hairs you find on your head. Why not? Because pulling out the same hair repeatedly can damage the follicle and leave you with thinner and thinner hair. So, you can color it, or why not just embrace it? Gray hair can be beautiful too!

3. Cucumber slices on your eyes will reduce puffiness.

Ah, that old movie cliche. It’s one of the most famous beauty tricks of cinema … but does it actually work? I’m happy to report that the answer is a big fat yes. Cucumbers contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, such as vitamins A and C, which are ideal for reducing swelling around the eyes. But for this trick to really make an impact the slices need to be sufficiently cold. So chill them in a fridge before using. Another cucumber perk? You don’t have to leave them on for 30 minutes; 5 to 7 minutes should be more than enough. So start slicing! Have extras? Don’t hesitate to add them to a delicious lemonade, with a touch of sugar.

4. A dab of toothpaste can help reduce an acne blemish.

You’ve probably heard this from your mother, your sisters, or your friends … and it’s totally true! (If you use the right brand.) The mint in toothpaste will help your acne look less puffy, and the calcium carbonate will dry it out. Most toothpastes also contain Triclosan, which is a very effective ingredient for killing the bacteria that cause acne. You just need to check that your toothpaste has all of these ingredients before applying it. (And stay away from blue or green colored pastes; it tends to work better when it’s completely white). You should also be careful not to apply it to broken skin. Dab it on delicately with your fingertip (never a toothbrush); otherwise, it could have opposite effect, causing irritation and inflammation.

5. Smoking cigarettes gives you wrinkles.

I’m sorry, smokers, but this is true — and there are two reasons why: First, because of the damage caused by free radicals; second, because of the continuous mouth movements you make in order to inhale, which increases the chances of small wrinkles appearing at the corners of your mouth (as happens on the forehead of people who wrinkle their brows a lot). Of course, this is a negligible consequence compared to lung cancer, so think of the wrinkle reduction you might see as an added perk to quitting a truly bad habit.

This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia.

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