AGE OF MIRACLES?
Aging is a battle we all fight, and there are countless products designed to tap into our collective vanity — and wallets. It's important to keep in mind, however, that not all anti-aging products, promises, and schemes are effective. Far from it. Many make grand claims but deliver little in the way of visible results.
MYTH: HIGH-END PRODUCTS ARE BETTER
MYTH: REMOVING MAKEUP BEFORE BED PREVENTS WRINKLES
MYTH: USING A WHOLE SKIN CARE LINE GIVES BETTER RESULTS
MYTH: MORE IS BETTER
MYTH: YOU CAN SKIP SUNSCREEN IF YOU'RE IN THE SHADE, CAR, OR OFFICE
Skin care specialists call daily application of sunblock one of the best and simplest anti-aging, wrinkle prevention techniques. There are few excuses for skipping it. UVB rays, which cause sunburns, can reach skin indirectly, which means they can affect skin even while you're shaded by an umbrella — or sitting near a window, such as in a car or office. The best bet to prevent wrinkles and avoid sunburn is to wear sunblock routinely.
MYTH: YOU MUST DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER A DAY
Water is essential to survival and general health. But Frey says there's no research proving eight glasses of water daily maintains youthful skin and optimal health — just frequent trips to the bathroom. "The National Academy of Medicine concludes that the average woman needs 11.5 cups of water daily (and 15.5 cups for men). But whether you get this water from a glass or from the content of food makes no difference," Frey says. "Many foods, like fruit and veggies, have a high water content. So folks who eat a nutritious diet get a significant portion of their required daily water intake from their food."
MYTH: SKIN CREAMS CAN REVERSE AGING
MYTH: FACIAL EXERCISES HELP FIGHT WRINKLES
Even if Meghan Markle does them, there is no facial exercise that turns back time. By some accounts the exercises do more harm than good. Some dermatologists believe repeated facial contortions exacerbate existing wrinkles and that repetitive exercises may lead to more. Faces sag because of loss of collagen and elastin, and there is no exercise to fix that.
MYTH: COLLAGEN CREAMS CAN TURN BACK TIME
If faces age because they lose collagen, get a collagen cream, right? They sound great but don't deliver — collagen molecules are too large to penetrate topically, so rubbing them on skin has zero effect (other than perhaps moisturizing).
MYTH: TOPICAL VITAMIN C FIGHTS AGING
MYTH: YOUR KITCHEN HOLDS THE BEST ANTI-AGING PRODUCTS
MYTH: MORE RETINOL IS BETTER
MYTH: GENES DETERMINE WHAT YOU'LL LOOK LIKE IN A FEW DECADES
MYTH: SQUEAKY CLEAN, REGULARLY SCRUBBED SKIN HELPS EXTEND ITS YOUTH
Of course cleansing the skin is important. But so too is choosing the right product for a skin type. Some soaps can be overly drying, eliminating natural oils, which in turn highlights fine lines and wrinkles. The best bet is to find a gentle cleanser, and don't go crazy scrubbing. Or use a simple water rinse in the morning — warm water in particular will do away with oils and eliminate some dead skin cells — since it won't dry skin and can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
MYTH: LASERS ARE ABLE TO ELIMINATE ALL EVIDENCE OF AGING
MYTH: PREPARATION H CAN BE USED TO ELIMINATE BAGS UNDER EYES
First, let's all say it together: Eww. People have been using Preparation H for years to address dreaded under-eye bags, and with some cause. There was an ingredient in the product that actually helped — the live yeast extract Biodyne. This ingredient however, was long ago removed from the U.S. formulation of Preparation H, replaced with phenylephrine.
MYTH: AVOID STRESS, AVOID THE GRAY HAIR
MYTH: DIET AND AGING ARE NOT RELATED
While we'd all like to believe diet has no impact on how we age, our choice of food does play a role. Sugar and foods that are known to be inflammatory (such as refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and saturated fats) affect internal organs, which affect aging. Want to truly help slow aging? Switch to a diet of anti-inflammatory food choices — you know, those dreaded vegetables mom always said to eat. Other good choices include almonds and fish.
MYTH: PLACENTA FACIALS ARE AN ANTI-AGING MIRACLE
The idea that placenta (from humans or sheep) has nutritional benefits is nothing new, if somewhat cringeworthy. More recently, potential uses have grown to include skin-firming and lifting, not to mention hydrating. As usual, there are detractors — and they're right: There is little evidence placenta creams provide anti-aging benefits.
MYTH: DON'T SMILE AND YOU WON'T WRINKLE
Who wants to live without smiling? Just because Kim Kardashian or Victoria Beckham do something — refraining regularly from smiling when photographed — doesn't mean it makes sense or is effective. Yes, lines are formed over years and years of smiling, but by many accounts, happiness is the best anti-aging medicine of all. So go ahead and smile.