Q: Can Waxing Over a Mole Cause Cancer?
A: The worry expressed by some doctors is that waxing over moles—especially the raised variety, in which precancerous cells may be present—could precipitate a cancerous spread. This is not so, says Jeffrey Dover, M.D., director of Skincare Physicians in Boston. But he still advises against waxing over any irregularly shaped or raised mole (“why even risk irritation?”). And be sure to have the mole evaluated by your primary care physician or a dermatologist.
Q: Does Cutting Your Cuticles Make Them Grow Back Faster?
A: No, says Ji Baek, owner of New York City’s posh Rescue Beauty Lounge. Even so, you really shouldn’t cut them (though snipping a hangnail here or there is fine), as they’re there to protect your nail bed from germs. Instead, gently push them back daily with a hand towel after showering. And, after you apply moisturizer or eye cream at night, rub the excess onto your cuticles to keep them soft.
Q: Do Pheromones in Perfume Really Turn Men On?
A: For now, the answer is no—but that doesn’t stop the fragrance companies from trying! (See Pheromone and Pherose perfumes.) “Releaser pheromones” are reputed to be able to attract the opposite sex among some animal species. Humans can and do detect pheromones; however, there is no good evidence that we can actually use them to lure in a mate, says Charles J. Wysocki, a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Until scientists get to the bottom of the pheromone debate, expect these substances to keep popping up in perfumes.
Q: Can You Develop an Allergy to Cosmeceuticals Over Time?
A: What you’re probably experiencing if you suddenly develop an adverse reaction to an alphahydroxy-acid product, vitamin-C serum, or retinoid (i.e., Retin-A or retinol) after using it for a while is increased sensitivity, not necessarily an allergy, says Jeannette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Great Neck, NY. The reason? Many of these products disrupt your skin’s normal way of functioning, which, though it may provide instant benefits, leaves you less able to tolerate environmental aggressors (not to mention sunlight) with continued use. “Irritation is never desirable,” says Dr. Graf. “Don’t think you need to get worse to get better.” If you suffer from redness, itching, or puffiness as a direct result of applying a product, discontinue using it immediately. Contact your dermatologist if the reaction doesn’t subside in two days.