Leigh Crymble
2 minute read
26 Sep 2013
12:00 am

The Lo Down: beauty myths and old wives’ tales

Leigh Crymble

There is so much information out there on what you should and shouldn't be doing as part of your daily beauty and skincare routine that it is sometimes hard to know fact from fiction. Haemorrhoid cream under your eyes to reduce wrinkles? Urine on your face to clear up acne? Some old wives' tales are easier to spot than others. Here are some popular beauty and skincare myths. How many did you think were true?

Picture: Shutterstock.

1. An SPF 30 gives you double the protection as an SPF 15.

False. An SPF 30 actually only gives you around 4% more protection than an SPF 15. It seems logical that the cover should be double but that isn’t how it works. An SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays, an SPF 30 blocks 97%, and an SPF 45 blocks around 98%. Soon to hit South African shelves is the new SPF 70 but even with this, you’ll have to make sure you reapply it often enough. Remember the equation: minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time. So, if you start burning after 10 minutes in the sun, an SPF 15 means the maximum time you can spend in the sun is 150 minutes before you need to reapply or take cover!

2. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker and darker.

We’ve all heard this one. Shaving your legs makes the hair grow back thicker and darker. But, contrary to popular belief, this is not true. You may think the hairs are growing back thicker but this is only because they feel blunted as the tapered ends have been cut off. In fact, studies have conclusively proven that shaving has no effect whatsoever on your hair growth rate, thickness, or colour.

3. Eating chocolate and greasy food gives you spots.

Attention chocoholics: this one is for you. Eating chocolate, sweets, or greasy food will not up your chances of getting breakouts. That is, “unless maybe you rub the pizza across your face a few times,” says New York City dermatologist Diane Berson. Foods that do exacerbate acne, though, include those with high amounts of iodine such as sushi, shellfish, and soy sauce.

4. Sunbeds are less harmful to you than the sun.

We don’t still believe this, do we? DO WE?! This is completely false and a dangerous misconception. Tanning beds emit both UVB and UVA rays to give you your desired tan but in the process, your skin is exposed to more concentrated doses of these cancer-causing and ageing rays than if you were in the sun. Experts warn that using sunbeds can increase your risk of fatal skin cancer by up to 75%. Not. Worth. It.

5. Toothpaste can treat pimples.

The jury is undecided when it comes to this beauty tip. Although toothpaste won’t clear a spot in the long run, if your tube contains menthol the anti-bacterial paste can help to cool the skin and soothe inflammation. It also has a drying effect on the oily area which can help as a temporary spot treatment. Critics of this method warn, however, that modern toothpastes contain ingredients which often irritate the skin causing additional blemishes, redness, and even slight burns. Perhaps better, then, to stick to your face wash.