[By June Soh]
We have all heard these old wives’ tales at some point in our lives. Are they steeped in science and logic or are they simply fabrications? The answers may surprise you. Here, we debunk some of the greatest beauty myths of all time.
1. Eating chocolate and greasy foods makes you break out.
Those of you with a sweet tooth may be relieved to know this myth is absolutely false. Go ahead and chow down. There’s nothing in a candy bar or pepperoni pizza that’s going to make zits suddenly sprout—unless maybe you rub the pizza across your face a few times. Chocolate and greasy foods have not been known to cause acne. However, doctors do advise avoiding foods containing high amounts of iodine such as sushi, shellfish, and soy sauce, as iodine has been linked to inflammation and breakouts.
2. Dry skin causes wrinkles.
Wouldn’t it be great if a little moisturizer could keep lines at bay? Unfortunately, wrinkles form when collagen breaks down far below the surface of the skin (which is right where dry skin occurs). Moisturizers can improve the appearance of lines, though, by temporarily plumping the parched skin around them. Sun exposure is the number one cause of collagen degeneration, so if you want a moisturizer that offers good wrinkle protection, look for one with sunscreen and an anti-aging antioxidant like vitamin C.
3. Cold water will shrink your pores.
You got your pore size from mom and dad; not much will change it although a proper skincare regimen can prevent them from becoming clog and minimizing their appearance. Cold water constricts blood vessels so skin only feels tighter but the effect is at best temporarily; it will not lead to any long term pore shrinkage. “When pores are clogged with oil and dead skin, they look bigger. Try using a product with salicylic acid like Sloane Inc’s Clarity to clean them out” advises Dr Kenneth Lee from The Sloane Clinic. The number one cause of large pores is age; as you lose collagen, pores appear bigger. Sun breaks down collagen. So wear sunscreen—it’ll do more for your pores than an icy splash will.
4. Crossing your legs will give you varicose veins.
Sitting down and crossing your legs won’t cause varicose or spider veins. Varicose veins is exacerbated by blood pooling in your lower limbs, this tends to happen when you are standing still for long periods of time. Pronounced veins often crop up on people who either have a genetic predisposition to them or have jobs that require them to stand a lot. Standing makes the vascular network work extra hard to pump blood from the legs up to the heart. If the valves, which keep blood flowing in one direction within your vessels, aren’t functioning properly, a pooling of blood can occur and result in unsightly veins. Pregnancy, which puts added pressure on the circulatory system, or a trauma―getting hit by a softball or a car door, for example―can also lead to varicose or spider veins. If you have varicose veins, compression stockings can prevent them from getting worse. Treatments such as sclerotherapy may also help. Speak to your doctor about medical remedies.
5. You can get rid of cellulite.
Ah, if only. “This remains one of the holy grails of cosmetic dermatology,” says Dr Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon at The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre. Nothing can be done to permanently eliminate it―not even liposuction. “Cellulite consists of fat deposits that get trapped between the fibrous bands that connect the skin’s tissues. The bands squeeze the fat under the skin, resulting in a lumpy texture. Luck of the gene pool mostly determines who will and won’t get cellulite. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fat or thin”. You can, however, temporarily reduce its orange peel-like appearance. Firming creams often contain caffeine to tighten and smooth the skin. But a basic moisturizer will also work to hydrate and swell the skin, making cellulite a little less obvious. The only FDA approved treatment for cellulite is Thermage for the Body, even then it aims to reduce the appearance of cellulite and not eliminate it completely.