Okay, we have to admit we didn't know that lemon juice was such a troublesome ingredient. That said, we picked the brains of dermatologist Anna Palabyab-Rufino to get all the deets on these common beauty myths. Read on and think twice before you try out any natural remedy.
1. Putting lemon juice on your armpits will make them whiter.
"There are different causes of dark underarms and not all of them can be treated topically. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and weight gain can cause the skin in some parts of the body to darken and nothing you apply can lighten it completely. Other reasons for dark underarms include post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation or darkening of the skin after an irritation. Lemons are rich in vitamin C which is a great antioxidant and has lightening properties as well. We also have to consider that the skin on our underarms is thinner making it more sensitive to friction, scrubbing, strong ingredients, or harsh chemicals. Applying something acidic such as lemon juice can cause an irritation which can lead to itching and burning in the said area. Vitamin C used as an anti-oxidant in certain products are better absorbed when it is the right concentration and using the proper vehicle. This is something that we cannot quantify when we use home remedies."
2. Putting mayonaise in your hair will make it grow thicker.
"The thickness of your hair is determined by the size of your hair follicles. The smaller they are, the thinner the hair and vice versa. Mayonnaise contains oils and proteins which can help nourish and moisturize the hair making it appear smoother and shinier but then again who wants to have hair smelling like mayo? Applied onto the scalp, some people may develop an allergy or irritation to it so we also have to be careful about this."
3. Hot water "opens" your pores.
"Pores are actually not temperature sensitive. Heat may cause the upper layers of the skin to swell making pores appear 'open.' Steam can however loosen the sebum that builds up inside pores making it easier to remove during facials/acne surgery, and once cleared, can give the appearance of smaller pores."
4. Putting tea bags under your eyes will get rid of eye bags.
"Teas (white, green, and black teas) are known to posses ingredients such as bioflavonoids, tannins, and caffeine that have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vaso-constricting properties. Applied topically, it would be very difficult to quantify their concentrations to maximize their effects. Exactly how much of it is penetrating through our skin? We don't know. Again, we run the risk of irritation or allergies due to components that we are not completely aware of. Products we see in the market pass through a rigorous process before getting approval from the FDA. Enough scientific testing to prove its efficacy should be done before it can claim to be safe and effective."
5. Doing hand stands will make your hair grow faster.
"I doubt that there have been scientific studies done to prove this. At most, it can be anecdotal or hypothetical. Maybe this is because it can increase blood flow to the scalp, bringing more nutrients and oxygen to the hair. Then again, this can also be achieved by just letting your hair down or flipping it over your head for a few minutes. Let's try to avoid accidents by trying to do handstands when we are not trained or guided properly just because we think it can make our hair grow faster."
6. Shaving your hair causes more to grow.
"Shaving your hair will also not change the rate of growth nor the thickness of your hair. The hair may appear thicker because it will all grow at the same time and appear like they are all in the same stage of the hair cycle as compared to having different lengths prior to shaving."
7. Hemmorhoid cream can make your eye bags smaller.
"Hemorrhoid cream is more popular for reducing eye bags because of some ingredients which make the blood vessels in the eye area contract. However, it can also contain ingredients that may cause dryness and irritation which can eventually induce fine lines and wrinkles. I would be very careful in applying anything around the eye area because it is also very sensitive. If a cream or ointment is meant for hemorrhoids we should probably use it for just that. It would be best to look for other products that were properly tested for safety and efficacy for a specific purpose."
8. Castor oil can help your eyelashes grow.
"I have not encountered any studies confirming this but I am assuming that one of the ingredients in castor oil has been proven to help stimulate hair growth. Again, unless research has been done to quantify the proper concentration and identify the best vehicle to maximize absorption, we cannot prove that this will be effective."
9. Brush your hair with a hundred strokes before you sleep for longer hair.
"Brushing your hair can stimulate the circulation on your scalp, again promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles as well as distributing sebum through the hair, making it look glossier. In terms of hair growth I am not aware of any studies that have proven this. At least there is no harm in doing this, it just takes a bit of effort."
Our guest editor for the month of February is Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino. This porcelain-skinned beauty is a board-certified dermatologist and a member of the Philippine Dermatological Society. You can find her working her magic at the Palabyab Skin Clinic, helping her patients attain the complexion of their dreams.