From The Straits Times    |

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IMAGE: Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Despite the prevalence of the internet, many people still fall prey to unfortunate rumours. Whether its not eating chocolate when you have pimples, or using a harsh cleanser so your face is really clean – there are a million and one beauty myths out there. But how true are they? I went on a mission to find out.

I’ve been told time and time again that my chocolate habit is the reason to blame for my acne. Not only is this far from the truth, but it also creates unnecessary stress for people already dealing with this problem. I mean, our face is already bad enough, and you’re depriving me of chocolate, too? 

Studies have found that chocolate has little effect on pimples, with the most famous one being conducted by renowned Dermatologist Dr. Albert Kligman. The doctor led an experiment where he fed two groups of teenagers chocolate, with one group being fed a placebo – a chocolate bar that tasted just like chocolate, but without cocoa. At the end of the experiment, the people who ate “real” chocolate did not have more pimples compared to people who ate the fake cocoa bar.

However, many still believe in this old wives tale, especially in Singapore. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, eating heaty foods causes the body to react in ways to expel heat; And as chocolate is a food that is considered heaty in nature, cocoa bars are blamed for causing pimples.

But thankfully for chocolate lovers like me, science has shown that this is indeed untrue. Instead, pimples are mainly caused by bacteria and an over-active sebum gland, which can be triggered through a multitude of factors: Not just by chocolate.


There seems to be a united consensus that makeup ruins the condition of your skin. A lot of people believe that makeup acts like a thick layer of suffocation for your pores, which is why brands are starting to promote mineral makeup that supposedly lets your skin “breathe”.

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The problem with this misconception is: Makeup is not the one to blame, it is the improper removal of makeup that is the cause. When you don’t remove your makeup properly, the leftover bits mix with oil and dirt, causing a multitude of skin problems ranging from acne to lacklustre skin.

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To make sure that I remove my makeup thoroughly, I often pick oil removers such as Senka’s Perfect Oil for a complete removal of heavy-duty makeup. Or if I’m lazy, I opt for micellar solutions such as Bioderma’s H2O Micelle Solution (now available in an easy to use pump!).


Contrary to popular belief, steaming your pores will not make them open. Pore size is largely determined by genetics, or skin conditions such as acne; Your pores cannot “open” or “close” through changes in temperature. Beauticians often steam your face before a facial as heat softens sebum, which is why even if your face has turned “cold” before an extraction, your pimples and blackheads can still be removed with relative ease as the sebum is already soft. 

The same principle applies to “shrinking” pores with a bout of cold steam. Although you may believe that it works, it just simply not true. Pores look smaller after a facial because they are clean and have no gunk to make them look bigger. Think about it: Have you noticed your pore size ‘shrinking’ when you clean your face with ice-cold water?

Bioderma H2O is available from all Guardian and Nishino stores, Robinsons Orchard, Raffles City and JEM, and John Little Marina Square and Plaza Singapura. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.

Senka Perfect Oil, $16.90, is available at selected Watsons stores. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.