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Most annoying urban myths debunked – part 1

7 October 2011

There are countless urban myths floating around. Some are amusing, some are terrifying and some are just plain weird. But there are also plenty of urban myths that I just find utterly annoying. Most of them are things I’ve believed in myself in the past, but when thinking about it logically realising couldn’t be true. Which is why I find them so annoying!

1. Switching shampoo

Shampooing hair

"Hang on. This stuff isn't working anymore."

Obviously, shampoo isn’t a myth; it does exist and is safe for us to use on a regular basis. There is however a popular myth circulating regarding the need to switch brand of shampoo every now and again, or else ‘my scalp gets used to it and it stops working properly’.

No. Your scalp will not ‘get used to’ your shampoo, since every single brand of shampoo is just diluted soap. Your scalp is not able to tell one bottle of diluted soap from the next. The only thing that differs in different brands of shampoo is what fragrance they’ve added or whether it’s contains a pearlescence agent or not.

What the scalp does get used to, however, is how often you wash your hair. As the natural state of human hair is to be greasy and water repellant, it will try to compensate if you wash away the grease. Wash your hair too often, and the scalp will increase its production of fat, forcing you to wash your hair even more often.

So the next time your brain tells you it’s time to change shampoo because it doesn’t work anymore, it’s lying. In reality, it’s just bored with the same old fragrances and want something new. Which is as good a reason as any to try a new shampoo, I guess.

2. Dont go swimming after a meal or you’ll drown

"Wish I hadn't had that extra hotdog now.."

We’ve all heard this one as kids. You’re at the beach with your parents and have just had a picnic. You want to go swimming but your parents say: “You can’t go swimming after a meal or you’ll get muscle cramps and drown. You’ll have to wait 30 minutes.”

No. You will not get muscle cramps and drown. Our bodies aren’t physically disabled after a meal. It’s not like our bellies swell up to twice the size and stop us from moving around. We’re not pythons. Anyway, as it takes 4-5 hours for a human stomach to process the food put into it, what difference would 30 minutes make?

I believe this myth has more to do with our parents wanting to rest after eating rather than having to watch the kids as they play in the water. Being a lifeguard is boring work, after all.

And whilst on the subject of digestion: that sense of tiredness and sluggishness you get after a meal is not down to all the blood in your brain being redirected to your digestive system. It has more to do with the endocrine system releasing hormones to put us in a docile state. This arguably help speed up our digestion and make sure we absorb as much nourishment as possible from our meal.

So, there you have it. The first two most annoying urban myths – in no particular order. You can read Part 2 here.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 October 2011 13:38

    I like the idea of using urban myths to manipulate children. I may have to start making some of these up myself.

    Like

    • 7 October 2011 16:38

      And the best part is that you can tell them absolutely anything and they’ll believe it!

      (just make sure they don’t read my blog)

      Like

  2. 14 October 2011 00:03

    Currently in the process of weaning myself off daily shampoos since I have tons of hair and it takes too much damn time! I can now get by with washing only every 3rd day. It’s kind of gross (because of my modern sensibilities about what constitutes clean) until your body adjusts, but it is worth it.

    Like

    • 14 October 2011 03:52

      Yes! Perhaps we can start a revolution? The “Don’t wash your hair everyday”-movement. Or something a little bit catchier.. (Help, Lisa? You’re good at this.)

      Like

  3. 14 January 2012 23:32

    I was always suspicious of that no-swimming-after-eating thing as a kid. Never heard of anyone actually getting “stomach cramps”. And yet, in a lifesaving class I took they mentioned the possibility. Even tried to teach us how to swim “with stomach cramps”.

    Like

    • 15 January 2012 02:43

      Thing is: you could get cramps regardless of having eaten or not. So being able to swim with cramps could prove useful. Perhaps not a ‘stomach cramp’ though; you’d be much more likely to get cramps in your legs.

      Like

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