Beauty Myths Debunked
The truth behind 18 commonly held beauty beliefs.
Myth 1: Crossing your legs will give you varicose veins.Sitting down and crossing your legs won't cause varicose or spider veins, but standing may. Pronounced veins often crop up on people who either have a genetic predisposition to them or have jobs that require them to stand a lot, says Kevin Pinski, a dermatologist in Chicago. Standing makes the vascular network work extra hard to pump blood from the legs up to the heart. If the valves, which keep blood flowing in one direction within your vessels, aren't functioning properly, a pooling of blood can occur and result in unsightly veins. Pregnancy, which puts added pressure on the circulatory system, or a trauma―getting hit by a softball or a car door, for example―can also lead to varicose or spider veins.
Myth 2: You can get rid of cellulite.Ah, if only. "This remains one of the holy grails of cosmetic dermatology," says Timothy Flynn, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Nothing can be done to permanently eliminate it―not even liposuction. Cellulite consists of fat deposits that get trapped between the fibrous bands that connect the skin's tissues. The bands squeeze the fat under the skin, resulting in a lumpy texture. Luck of the gene pool mostly determines who will and won't get cellulite. It doesn't matter whether you're fat or thin. You can, however, temporarily reduce its orange peel-like appearance. Firming creams often contain caffeine to tighten and smooth the skin. But a basic moisturizer will also work to hydrate and swell the skin, making cellulite a little less obvious. Or try using a self-tanner. "A fake tan will help camouflage it," says Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist and a codirector of laser surgery at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, in Washington, D.C.
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