Login or Register

Sign in with Facebook

We're betting that even the filthiest and most jobless of our readers still have at least a dozen beauty products in their bathroom (don't tell us you don't have shampoo, or mouthwash, or a nail file). And these days there is a booming market in selling men on all of the waxes and anti-aging creams that used to only eat into women's budgets.

Now, we're not going to complain about vanity or the rise of metrosexuals or anything like that -- your grooming is your business. No, the problem is that a whole lot of these products and routines are doing the opposite of what they're supposed to. For example ...

Using Cleansers to Fight Acne Can Make It Worse

Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

For some of us, the teen years consisted of waking up every morning looking like we'd spent the previous night wearing a bag full of mosquitoes over our head. Fortunately, there's a whole shelf of acne soaps in the supermarket dedicated to getting that trash off your face. There are bar soaps, foamy cleansers, anti-blemish pads that look like circular baby wipes, toners, moisturizers, mud masks, blotting papers, and exfoliating scrubs that contain actual grit to sandpaper the pimples away.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Introducing the new Black & Decker Pimple Eviscerator!

It's all pretty tempting when your face has exploded into little pus volcanoes; it's just too bad that it probably won't help.

The problem is that most of the acne process takes place underneath your skin, where soap can't even get to. In fact, aggressively washing your face with the strongest cleansers is more like likely to aggravate the situation by drying your skin out and roughhousing the part of your body that needs the least touching right now. Most soaps contain a chemical called sodium lauryl sulphate (or it's slightly less evil twin, sodium laureth sulphate). It's an agent that is super good at being foamy and super cheap to put into cleaning products. It also strips away the grease from your skin, which sounds great, but some of that grease isn't so much "grease" as it is "necessary skin moisture." So foamy acne soaps containing SLS end up irritating skin and provoking pizza-face flare-ups.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Yes, yes, just try and wash me away! With every scrub, I only become more powerful!"

So What Should You Do Instead?

If you have a serious acne problem, go and see a real doctor, because you might need antibiotics to treat that shit and prevent scarring. But either way, instead of scouring your face with harsh cleansers, just wash your face twice or three times a day (but no more) with a gentle soap, or just warm water. Oh, and switch to something SLS-free. Only good luck with that, because it's in fucking everything.

Mouthwash Will Give You Hobo Breath

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Most mouthwash contains alcohol as its active ingredient, but think of the last time you filled a kiddie pool with liquor and then attempted to drown yourself in it. Did your mouth feel cool and minty fresh upon dragging yourself awake the next morning? Or did it feel like someone had taken a shit in it?

Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images
Depending on your roommates, someone may very well have.

That's because there's a reason why skunk mouth tends to coincide with alcohol consumption. Alcohol is really good at drying out your mouth, and saliva is one of your body's best defenses against bad breath. Have you ever met a baby with bad breath? No, because babies drool the bacteria out of their sweet little mouths. Swishing alcohol-laced mouthwash in the morning is the hygienic equivalent of preparing for battle by taking a flamethrower to your own guys.

We know what you're thinking: If alcohol is good enough to disinfect a wound, it should be fine for your mouth, right? Not even close. The only reason we have alcohol in mouthwash at all is because the major ingredients are oils like menthol and eucalyptol. Those bad boys would separate like salad dressing if it wasn't for the alcohol keeping them mixed. And good luck getting a cap full of layered oils in your mouth without gagging.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Though we suppose you could smoke a cigarette covered in VapoRub.

In other words, the alcohol in mouthwash isn't even meant to kill bacteria, despite how it's being marketed. Companies are just depending on your perception that burning mouth agony translates into better breath. In reality, while you may feel minty fresh for a while after you rinse, within a couple of hours, your breath will be back to smelling like rotting food and stripper sweat, because the bacteria has taken advantage of your dry mouth with a vengeance.

So What Should You Do Instead?

Unfortunately, the best advice we can give is the same stuff your dentist has been shouting at you while stabbing at your mouth with a tiny pick. Brush your tongue. Floss. Drink a lot of water so your mouth stays moisturized. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes. Don't let anyone shit in your mouth.

Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
We can't stress that enough.

Continue Reading Below

Taking a Weed Whacker to Your Sex Shrubbery Can Give You Crotch Rot

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you ever find yourself watching old-school porn, you're most likely to notice one big difference from the nude bodies you'll see (online) today: it rhymes with schmubic schmair. Back in the olden days, the ladies had tons of it. Today's downtown Afros are on the verge of extinction. And so are pubic lice and that weird moment when you catch a glance of a lady stranger's upper inner thigh hair at the beach.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Or an accidental flash of your buddy's ball hair.

That's because women and men alike are shaving, waxing, and lasering away the gift puberty gave them in their underwear zone. But what can you do? Porn stars have set a certain standard that the rest of society simply must follow. Otherwise, what are we, common animals?

But there's a problem. That hair was never meant to be removed, at least not by the methods currently available. Whether you're waxing or shaving, you're creating tiny abrasions in a zone that doesn't need any more aggravation than it already gets. Between friction from your underwear and moistness from your crotch, those tiny cuts don't stand a chance against infection, especially the sexual kind. This is why one doctor has called a crusade to end the "war against pubic hair" (a cause we hope soon gets a public awareness campaign, because we want to see the billboards) after seeing a gradual rise in infected ingrown hairs, boils, abscesses, and vulva herpes day after day. We don't know about you, but it only takes one scrotum boil draining for us to give up on waxing altogether.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
"Years of nursing school just so I can lance your diseased testicles? How do you think I'm doing?"

So What Should You Do Instead?

There's a reason why hospitals don't shave patients before surgery anymore -- they clip them, because breaching the skin barrier creates the heightened possibility for contracting an infection. So do that. Or learn to love the '70s porn 'fro. Whichever works best for you.

Anti-Aging Creams Will Age the Shit Out of You

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

There are only two surefire ways to fight the aging process: time machines and death. But that hasn't stopped every cosmetics company from stocking drugstores, makeup counters, and back alleys with anti-wrinkle creams. And a shit-ton of those creams have chemical compounds called alpha hydroxy acids, which work by penetrating and exfoliating the top layer of skin. So old skin cells are shed and everyone walks away with a shiny baby face.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Artist's interpretation of exfoliation.

There's only one problem -- while burning off the top layer of your skin, AHAs are also creating thinned, weakened skin that's more susceptible to UV damage, which just happens to be a major cause of premature aging. Oh, and cancer. As more fine lines start showing up, the user is more likely to slather on the cream.

It's a serious enough problem that the FDA has suggested that cosmetics companies put a warning label on their products. Cosmetics companies responded by laughing and giving the FDA the finger. Probably while humping their giant piles of old lady money.

Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X
The money taken from a child's birthday card is truly the best kind.

So What Should You Do Instead?

Don't use anti-aging creams, since, no matter how they're labeled -- glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid (or, for the hippies, "fruit acid") -- they all have basically the same effect. A good rule of thumb is to keep anything with the word "acid" far, far away from your face. Or if you do use these creams, do it sparingly, and definitely use sunscreen in conjunction. Or just, you know, use sunscreen, since that will prevent UV damage and premature aging so you won't have to burn your freaking face off.

Continue Reading Below

Cutting Your Cuticles Can Give You Frankenhands

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

If you're not one of those fancy types who puts effort into fingernail maintenance, you might not know that the teeny tiny pair of scissors they give you with every nail kit aren't just for trimming your nose hair or decapitating gummy bears. They're specifically for trimming that gross little half-moon of skin at the base of your nails called the cuticle so you can make your nails look longer and cleaner. Your cuticles are basically the foreskins of your fingers.

Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
From now on, just think of your fingers as dicks.

The problem is that the cuticle is your shield against all the crap your nails encounter every day, while at the same time delivering nutrients and blood to your fingernails. Cutting your cuticles (or even pushing them back) can lead to not only infection, but conditions like Beau's lines, which is fancy talk for "stitched-together gangrenous Frankenstein finger":


Or true transverse leukonychia:

Golbal Skin Atlas

See? If you just neglect that part of nail care completely, you're actually ahead of the game. The rest of you need to learn to imitate your lazier brethren.

So What Should You Do Instead?

Don't cut your cuticles. And if you're a lady (or a well-groomed man), don't let your manicurist cut them either. Which is harder than you think -- nail professionals have a hard-on for cutting that skin off, or at least pushing the cuticle so far back on the nail that you end up with sore, red nail bases in addition to nice new polish.

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
"Just a few more good whacks and then we'll be ready to remodel your bathroom!"

If you can't resist, like if you're a hand model or some shit and your cuticles are just sitting there taunting you, first consult a mental health professional, then try pushing the cuticles back gently. Or just wear gloves everywhere.

Washing Your Hair Every Day Is Probably Causing All of Your Hair Problems

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Everyone knows that if you go more than a couple of days without washing your hair it'll end up looking like an oil spill pelican. If ads are to be believed, modern shampoos and conditioners do more than just clean your hair -- they smooth it, shine it, moisturize it, and repair the split ends that are repulsing even your loved ones.

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
"I want a divorce."

The problem is that "vitamin/nutrient-enriched" shampoos are about as likely to repair your hair as slathering a bunch of vitamin C on dead grandma is to induce her resurrection. Your hair can't be revitalized because it isn't alive. And while shampoo is cleaning your hair, it's also removing the protective coating that makes your hair look healthy -- sebum. And hair without sebum is basically the "before" hair at the beginning of shampoo commercials: tangled, dry, brittle, and dull.

In fact, conditioners exist because shampoos are too effective -- conditioners cover the damage done by shampoos by pasting split ends back together and temporarily replicating sebum's look. And even then, they're not so great at it. The next time you're at the supermarket, check out the number of shampoos labeled for dry hair as opposed to oily hair. Most likely, the dry hair will outnumber the oily ones, because of shampoo's drying and damaging effects. Washing your hair every day is just stripping the sebum and replacing it with a weak chemical copy of the shit you just washed off.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
It's like pushing a Caddyshack DVD into a wood chipper with Caddyshack II.

But what if your hair is greasier than Bret Michaels in a deep fryer? Weirdly enough, overwashing your hair can also cause your scalp to overcompensate and produce extra sebum, which leads to greasier hair.

So What Should You Do Instead?

Actually, you probably don't even need to use shampoo at all. One informal Australian study challenged people to go without shampooing for six weeks. Of 500 participants, 86 percent found little or no change to the quality of their hair after giving up shampoo for six weeks. So if nothing else, at least try cutting back to a couple times a week if you just can't go without your shampoo-induced shower orgasms.

For more ways you're totally screwing yourself, check out 5 Ways You're Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You. Or discover 6 Reasons Assholes Are Healthier (According to Science).

To turn on reply notifications, click here


Load Comments