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You’re a fake! Top beauty myths busted

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Good news ladies - sebum blocking the sebaceous glands rather than eating chocolate causes spots

 Photo: © Getty Images

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The body is made to detox itself so you only need to drink water when you feel thirsty
 Photo: © Getty Images

08 SEPTEMBER 2009

There are enough tips, tricks and techniques we need to learn to make the most of our natural beauty without wasting time on the old wives’ tales that can get in the way of a good, basic routine…

Chocolate gives you spots
The connection is likely to have been made because many women eat more junk when they’re pre-menstrual or anxious – if you’re feeling moody, chocolate stimulates serotonin which gives you a quick lift or cortisol during times of stress and it’s those two hormones that are responsible for stimulating the sebaceous glands which create spots.

Never use oily products on oily skin
Skin is a sensory organ that responds to messages from within. So if oil’s been stripped at the surface in an effort to keep it looking shine-free, it will actually produce more sebum from beneath to compensate. Today's oils are of such high quality, they can help balance skin and they're fine enough to be quickly absorbed.

White spots on nails are a sign of calcium deficiency
As your nail grows, fat cells are pushed up from the growing matrix – the soft area below your cuticle – until they flatten and rupture, pushing out a liquid called cystene that forms the layers of the nail plate. Sometimes they don't rupture – maybe because there's a disruption to the growing process caused by a heavy knock to the matrix – and the white spots you see are the cystene intact in the cells. They have nothing to do with how much milk or cheese you eat, as many believe, and simply grow out with the nail.

Drinking two litres of water a day keeps your skin clear
"Our bodies are designed to detox the whole time – that's what our liver and kidneys are for – and there are incredibly sophisticated mechanisms in place to keep our water content balanced for the good of the whole body," says Emma Edmonds of the British Skin Foundation. "So you just need to drink when your body tells you to - when you feel thirsty."

The drier your hair, the more conditioner you need
"It's not the quantity, but the coverage," says hairdresser Denise McAdam. "You never need more than a 10p-sized piece, but you have to make sure it has coated every hair by pushing it through with a wide-toothed comb to avoid static and dryness."

Leaving make-up on overnight ruins your skin
Occasionally does no harm. However, leaving very heavy make-up on repeatedly can block pores, build up and help cause acne. Caked on mascara can also plug the oil gland openings along the lids and may trap bacteria on your lashes, both of which can cause infections.

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