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The Myth The Beauty Industry Needs To Stop Perpetuating

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    Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.


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    The beauty industry loves to tell us that our skin, nails, and hair need to breathe. What's more, we're told that only certain beauty products have been formulated to allow for said breathing to take place. Some brands even go so far as to claim their products (cough, cough, "oxygenating" creams) improve the breathing process.

    Come. On.

    We hate to break up the party, but it's time to officially call bullshit. The fact is, we are not fish and our skin, nails, and hair are not gills. Humans source oxygen from the environment using our — wait for it — noses and mouths. All the other parts of our body reap the benefits of this oxygen through our blood, by way of the lungs.

    "Your skin, nails, and hair don’t breathe topically," Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, board-certified dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology, tells us. "When we think of breathing, we think of getting nutrients. But the hair, the skin, and the nails don’t get nutrients from the surface, they get nutrients from within, so the concept of things needing to breathe doesn’t ring true scientifically."

    Now, of course, ditching heavy, chemical-laden beauty products in favor of ones that are free of sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances does indeed provide benefits across the board, but none of them relate to the breathing process. Say it with us now: No product allows your nails, hair, or skin to better process oxygen. It's pure baloney.

    The experts we spoke with are just as fed up with the myth. In our corner: three top dermatologists from across the country, a nail and foot expert, and one of the most accomplished manicurists in the game — all of whom weigh in ahead.

    Take a deep breath (through your nose) and prepare to get the real story behind the beauty industry's favorite false claim.

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