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Top 10 Beauty Myths

FROM OLD wives' tales to urban legends, the most popular modern-day beauty myths are compiled here by Leica Carpo.

Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day for beautiful skin.

Drinking water is a great health tip, but according to skin care experts, the skin reacts to external factors as well like air conditioning (which can dry skin), sunlight (which can burn skin), etc. So also to moisturize or use sunblock from the outside as well. More recent studies have shown that the ideal number of glasses may be more like six. According to another recent study, those who drank five to six glasses per day were 41 percent less likely to experience a fatal heart attack than those who drank no more than two.

Soap is bad for the skin.

According to the American Osteopathic College, we should give soap a break these days. The newer soap formulations are made with synthetic surfactants and can cleanse skin in a milder manner. Some soaps even include moisturizers and are no longer drying for skin-particularly aging skin. Older formulations contain a mix of animal fats and fruit/vegetable oils, which are skin no-no's. The only problem with a bar of soap is that it is a breeding ground for bacteria. A pump dispenser is preferable.

Smoking and caffeine cause dry skin.

Tests show that caffeine has no direct effect on your skin, but it does deplete water from the body. Smoking only works indirectly to make your skin old before its time. It decreases circulation so the skin doesn't get as much oxygen, which is essential in creating and maintaining healthy skin cells. In fact, it is the repetitive eye squinting and pursing of lips while you smoke that can cause premature wrinkling around the eyes and mouth.

Use products from one line only.

This is a definite sales pitch from a really savvy sales person. You may use products from different lines without fear of a beauty disaster. Some companies make better moisturizers, but may not be as strong in eye shadows or lipsticks-so experiment; only you know what works best for you.

You can scrub acne away.

Coarse heavy-grained exfoliators are recommended for acne-prone or oily skin. However, when used too often and too vigorously, it can actually aggravate acne by opening the cysts and encouraging the skin to produce more oil to compensate for the ruthless stripping away. Use medium-grain exfoliators suspended in paste and don't overdo it.

Drinking soda can give one cellulite.

The carbonation in soda does not cause fat cells to swell or to cause skin to dimple. Cellulite is best blamed on your genes or a desk job. The best thing to do is massage the area with some of the new creams out on the market. This may not totally eradicate the problem but it may help.

Antiperspirants cause cancer.

Deodorants do not cause breast cancer. There is no correlation between the two, according to Dr. Pamela Goodwin, director of Marvelle Toffler Breast Cancer. Goodwin bases her study on the fact that there was not a huge jump in cases of breast cancer when antiperspirants were introduced into the market. She thinks the rumor started due to the closeness of the areas affected. And yes, she does apply antiperspirant every day.

It's too late to use sunscreen.

It's never too late to protect skin from the sun. Cumulative unprotected sun worshipping damages the skin. Clinical studies have shown that, once you start protecting it, the skin has ability to repair itself. This could take a few years though, so don't expect overnight results. Tan skin equals burned skin. Skin, like bread, goes brown and turns to toast when it has been cooked. Ten to fifteen minutes of sun is healthy to increase Vitamin D in the body; more than that and you are increasing your risk of skin cancer. Beautiful skin is all about clarity, evenness and smoothness of texture and color, not about depth of color.

Hair color will give you more white hair.

No, no, no. Hair coloration cannot give you more white hair because it does not penetrate your scalp. The whitening of the hair is caused by the inability of the melanocytes to produce melanin. Melanocytes are inside your scalp.

Eating grapefruits every day will increase breast size...

If you believe this, then you can believe anything.