7 Biggest Beauty Myths—Busted

Along the way, you've probably heard (and believed) a fallacy or two about beauty. Here, we dispel seven major misconceptions.

Waxing or shaving will make your hair grow back thicker or darker. Removing hair doesn't do much to change its appearance. However, if you remove hair that's been exposed to sun for a long time (e.g. waxing your forearms), it's possible that the regrowth will appear darker and/or thicker just because it was never bleached by the sun.

Since you never used sunscreen, there's no point in starting now.  This is completely false. Sun damage is a cumulative problem, so every time you wear sunscreen, you protect yourself from potential future problems. It's true that using sunscreen won't make sun spots from prior exposure disappear, but when your skin is protected, it can begin to repair itself-and you may see some improvement.

Double the SPF, double the protection.  In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation says that SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays (the bad ones) while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. They advise you to wear SPF 15 for everyday use and higher SPF levels for extended periods in the sun. Be sure to choose a sunscreen that offers "broad-spectrum protection", so you're protecting yourself from both UVA & UVB rays.

Acne is caused by your diet. Countless studies have suggested that there is no strong link between diet and acne. There are certain "good skin" foods like those high in antioxidants and omega3's that will help the skin overall, but there's no link between the candy you eat today and the pimple you get tomorrow. One study showed that staying away from high glycemic foods minimized the severity of acne, but experts agree that diet is not a factor in causing acne.

Tanning beds are safer than the sun. Nope. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, they are now ranked as much of a cancer threat as asbestos and tobacco. While it's true that they concentrate UVA rays as opposed to the dangerous UVB ones, you're still exposing yourself to cancer-causing and skin-aging rays.

Only heavy people get cellulite, but luckily there's a way to get rid of it. Both of these statements are false. Cellulite is a genetic problem that occurs when fat deposits gather underneath the skin. It affects thin people as often as heavier ones. Unfortunately, there's no way to treat it permanently. Several topical lotions offer help in disguising the problem, and research with laser therapies is ongoing.

You should never wash your face with soap.  Today's "soap" is not the traditional kind that could parch your face. It's much milder on the skin and some even contain moisturizers. So if you like to scrub your face with soap, go ahead.


American College of Osteopathic Dermatology

American Academy of Dermatology