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5 Anti-Aging Tips That Are Mostly Fiction

02/03/2015 07:11 am ET | Updated Feb 04, 2015
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Whether it's noticing that your hair is turning gray or realizing that your wrinkles aren't just from sleeping with your face smushed into the pillow, many of us have panicked at the prospect of aging, desperate for any "cure" or fix-it within reach. For some, that may mean shelling out the big bucks for fancy department store creams whereas for others that may mean buying into commonly perpetuated anti-aging tips. To help you out, we got to the bottom of five pieces of anti-aging advice that aren't really so helpful after all:

1. You don't need to wear sunscreen if you're in the shade or if it's not sunny out.
sunscreen
OK, so we're good most summer days when we slather on sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF before going outdoors. But sometimes when it's a cloudy day, or in winter when it's gray, we're tempted to skip the sun protection because, um, it appears we don't really need it. But you actually should be protecting your skin 365 days a year. We know, SPF products can be a bit oily and smelly. But according to the cast of medical show "The Doctors," 80 percent of the sun's damaging UV rays can go through clouds, fog and whatnot. Besides the scary risk of skin cancer, sun damage is also responsible for age spots, wrinkles and a loss of elasticity.

2. Water helps plump up your skin.
water
It's hard to flip through a magazine without hearing some supermodel or starlet touting the benefits of drinking copious amounts of water each day. According to dermatologists, being dehydrated will hurt you, yes. Extreme dehydration, "causes damage to the cells involved, and damaged skin cells cause wrinkles, as well as thin and saggy skin throughout the body," dermatologist Alex Rivkin told SheKnows. But he says the opposite isn't true. Adding more water than you need to your body is much like adding extra electricity to a dishwasher. It won't make the dishes twice as clean. But, he does say that topical moisturizers can be helpful -- so fight wrinkles from the inside and outside.

3. Pricey skincare products work better than cheap drugstore brands.
expensive cream
It's hard not to believe that expensive department store brands will give you incredible results, with their clever advertising and eye-catching packaging. But dermatologists say you won't necessarily get more bang for your buck. Besides paying for the brand name, you're often just paying for perfumes and packaging rather than actual ingredients, dermatologists say. In fact, dermatologist Doris Day says that often the drugstore brands put just as much, if not more, money into developing products than the fancier brands. "They're not putting a ton of money into packaging -- it's spent on research and development," she told Better Homes and Gardens. Even Consumer Reports did an extensive trial of the top-rated wrinkle creams, some of which make lofty claims. After 12 weeks, even the best performing cream didn't work for everyone and the results were minimal, for both high- and low-end creams.

4. If you have dark circles, you need an eye cream.
eye cream
Sigh, if only. Anyone who has suffered from dark circles for as long as they can remember and has tried every eye gel, cream and serum under the sun knows this is unlikely to help -- and experts agree. That's because dark circles are an issue under the surface of the skin, unlike wrinkles. The discoloration you see is due to genetics, allergies or leaking blood vessels in the under-eye area. Eye creams simply treat the symptom, not the cause. For example, some creams can help plump up the skin under the eyes, camouflaging circles, and others contain caffeine which helps circulate blood in the area. But according to Dr. Oz, it's very difficult for eye creams to do anything other than provide temporary results.

5. Brushing your hair 100 times will make it shine.
brushing grey hair
It's a common old wives' tale that brushing your hair 100 strokes a day will make it shinier, longer and thicker. It's so simple that anyone would want to try it out in an attempt to add shine to lackluster and thinning hair. But before you reach for the boar bristle brush, listen up. Trichologists say brushing hair that much could actually make hair break off, causing more of a thinning appearance if you excessively brush. On the other hand, moderate, light brushing does help keep your hair healthy and shiny by delivering nourishing oils from your scalp all the way down the hair shaft and helps stimulate blood flow.

Earlier on HuffPost50:

Tips For Healthy Aging
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