We’ve all heard tales about what will happen to our bodies if we do x, y, or z. It often takes the form of wise advice or common knowledge as we share the information with family, friends, and acquaintances.

Heck, in some cases, a doctor will even tell you the wrong thing. But some of this “wisdom” is more myth than fact, lacking a concrete origin or current scientific backing. Some of it is just outdated info that’s become part of our normal programming.

It’s time for an update. It’s time for change. Down below are some commonly held beliefs about the body that people take as fact, but aren’t really accurate. See if any of these sound familiar to you!

  1. Hair Grows Back Thicker and Darker After Shaving

    You’ve heard this and that the hair grows back darker and faster too. What actually happens is the edges of the new growth feel coarse and look dark as they come in. But it is true that your underarm hair grows faster than leg hair.

  2. Tilt Your Head Back for a Nosebleed

    No! You should tilt your head forward to prevent the blood from running down the throat, into the esophagus and into the stomach. To stop the bleeding, one should pinch the soft part of nose, lean forward and wait for the bleeding to cease. Cold compresses on the bridge of the nose also help.

  3. Alcohol Wipes Out Brain Cells

    It may feel that way, and it’s true that alcohol affects the body in negative ways, but it does not kill brain cells. It does however, cause damage to a part of your neurons and slows communication between them. That’s why it’s easy to spot someone who is inebriated – because the cells are not functioning at their best.

  4. 8 Glasses of Water is the Minimum

    It’s as old as time: 8 glasses of water a day is best. But no one is sure where this advice came from. Instead, scientists say that while water is best, it’s up to an individual to determine how much water they can handle a day. Additionally, there is also water found in many foods, adding to your “water quota” for the day.

  5. A Person Can be Left or Right Brained

    The idea that one hemisphere of the brain is responsible for your personality is false. Calling someone who is analytical, logical, and intellectually-driven a left-brainer is no more correct than calling a person who is intuitive, creative, and gifted in the arts a right-brainer.

    A study by University of Utah researchers helped to debunk the claim by looking at 1,000 brains. We use each side equally.

  6. Thin People are in Better Shape

    Thin or obese people can be unhealthy and it’s based on more than weight. Metabolism, genetics, nutrition, and fitness levels all play a role in health. People who are of normal weight or are slender can still be at risk for heart disease, malnutrition, and other diseases, and new studies have shown than overweight people can still be fit.

  7. Cracking Your Knuckles will Cause Arthritis

    Who hasn’t been warned about cracking their knuckles? The sound you hear is caused by bubbles of synovial fluid bursting and pressure. I can’t stand the sound, but I also learned the truth about this myth: it won’t give you arthritis. But, it can cause swollen hands and affect your grip. Watch it!

  8. Hair and Nails Growth After Death

    Simply not true because the cells aren’t being supplied with fuel to grow. Here’s the explanation: as the body decays, the dry skin withers away and it looks like the nails and hair are longer.

  9. Go to Bed With Wet Hair and Catch a Cold

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever second guessed yourself about this one. Sleeping with wet hair won’t cause you to get the cold or flu virus. Your hair’s temperature isn’t virus-inducing. You should watch out for too much moisture collecting on your pillow however, as that can breed bacteria.

  10. Reading in Low Light Will Ruin Your Eyesight

    Your eyesight won’t be damaged by reading in the dark or dim light, but you may experience eye strain or eye tiredness. Place a light directly above what you’re reading for the best positioning.

  11. Sugar Makes Kids Hyper

    While some kids may get a temporary surge in adrenaline, sugar in the diet or for breakfast does not equate to hyperactivity. Doctors have not been able to find a link between sugar intake and hyperactivity in children, but it can influence brain activity for some.

What do you think of these body myths? Are there any you still want to believe? Which of these is news to you?


NY Times

New York Times


Yale Scientific

University of Arkansas