The Most Common Health & Beauty Myths Debunked

The Most Common Health & Beauty Myths Debunked

It’s easy to believe certain old wives’ tales, especially when they’ve been drummed into us since the dawn of time. But, as with most things, reading something on the Internet or hearing it through word of mouth doesn’t make it fact. And if you want the proof, a recent survey by Babylon Health confirms it – they asked UK-based GP, Dr Haider how accurate 50 health and beauty myths are.

 Here we debunk the top 15, and you’ll be surprised by how many you thought were true…

1. MYTH: Going outside with wet hair will cause you to catch a cold​​​ 
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Colds and viruses can be contracted at any time, including in the summer. The reason we associate them with cold weather is because people tend to congregate in small spaces for warmth and cold viruses are then more likely to be passed round. So, don’t worry, you can go out with wet hair freely if you wish.

2. MYTH: Hair and nails grow after you die ​
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: There’s no evidence hair and nails continue to grow after you die. After death, dead skin retracts so if you observe a dead body (even after three to four days) it may look like the hair and nails have grown, even though they haven’t.           

3. MYTH: Shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and darker
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: This is not true. Shaving (as opposed to waxing from the root) can make re-growing hair feel blunter and look thicker, but the act of shaving has no effect on the hair itself.

4. MYTH: Eating fatty foods gives you acne
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: I am neutral on this one, some evidence says yes, some says no. My view is while acne is associated with eating a Western-style diet high in calories, fats and refined sugars, this could have an impact on existing acne, but not be the direct cause.

5. MYTH: Women sync up their periods by living together
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: This is a funny one. Based on a 1971 study, many women believe this to be true but there is now no evidence to support it being true at all, more a mere coincidence.

6. MYTH: Juice cleanses detoxify your body
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Our body detoxifies itself through the digestive tract, liver, lungs and kidneys. Juice cleanses may contain less calories and fat than normal meals, making us lose weight, but they don’t ‘detoxify’ anything.

7. MYTH: Having a base tan prevents sunburn
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: This one is just common sense. There has never been any evidence to suggest that a base tan protects against a sunburn. It’s absolutely not a substitute for good SPF protection and it’s worth remembering that so you don’t find out the hard (aka burnt) way

8. MYTH: Toothpaste can help heal spots
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: There is some evidence towards this being true, but it completely depends on the type of toothpaste. Most contain several chemicals which can reduce inflammation, but it’s worth noting it’s not as kind on your skin as proper spot relief products.

9. MYTH: Chocolate relieves period cramps
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Again, I sit on the fence slightly here as some reports point towards there being an element of truth in this. This whole notion is based on several observations. Chocolate with a high percentage of cacao can contain magnesium, which can be used to help with cramps. Many on pain pathways have suggested that chocolate is a natural mood booster and painkiller. It certainly can’t hurt too much.

10. MYTH: Deodorants cause cancer
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Completely false. The myth is thought to originate from an email hoax. Cancer Research UK has stated there is no convincing evidence behind it.

11. MYTH: Eating bread crusts can turn hair curly
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Again, there is zero truth in this. Hair and how it looks - curly or not - is a genetically inherited characteristic. Ingesting food cannot influence this innate characteristic. Being exposed to weather conditions, such as humidity or heat, can turn your hair curly but only if you are genetically predisposed to it.

12. MYTH: Eating late at night makes you gain weight
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: There is no evidence to support this myth. Calories are calories regardless of when eaten, however eating late at night can cause problems such as indigestion/heart burn.

13. MYTH: Most skin damage by the sun is done before turning 18
DOCTOR’S VERDICT: False. You always need to be sensible in the sun and wear adequate SPF protection. Older people may be more susceptible to skin damage in the sun because skin thins with age and loses its ability to hold moisture.

14. MYTH: Sleeping with a bra on can give you breast cancer
DOCTOR’S VERDICT: The myth originated from an American study that proposed that wearing a bra cut off lymph drainage from the breasts. However, the studies comparatively showed no significant difference between the two test groups.

15. MYTH: Pulling out a grey hair means two will grow back in its place
DOCTOR’S TRUTH: Hair follicles contain one hair and anchor it into the skin. They help hair grow in this area for years, then can take a break. The act of pulling out a hair forcibly does not cause two to develop in its place, and the colour of the hair makes no difference to this.

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