We’d love to think that we know everything, but time and time again, we’re proven wrong. As it turns out, we’ve been working out wrong, we’re complimenting people incorrectly, and we should really know our blood type.
Even so, we’re always ready to learn something new. We reached out to a few experts to learn about some other things that the typical person does incorrectly, despite their best efforts. The results were fairly surprising.
For instance, you might not know that you’re doing something wrong when you’re…
1. Taking a Shower
There’s nothing better than enjoying a long, hot shower, right? In the middle of the winter, a hot shower can mean the difference between a bad morning and a semi-tolerable one. There’s just one problem.
“… hot water opens the pores, which promotes water loss and also washes away skin’s protective emollient oils, further compounding water loss,” said New York dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD. Schulz is the host of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz. “Together this causes dry and itchy skin,” he told FashionBeans. “Take warm showers instead.”
Additionally, you might not want to spend too much time standing around in the shower. We know, we know; we hate to be the bearer of bad news.
“Showering and being in the water dries out your skin,” said Alan J. Parks, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “It’s okay [to] shower every day, but you should keep your showers relatively short—as short as possible—so that your skin doesn’t dry out.”
“Additionally,” Parks said, “many soaps will strip your skin of natural oils and cause your skin to dry out. Make sure you’re using more gentle cleansers rather than harsh soaps, and make sure that you completely rinse the soap off your body when you’re done washing.”
One potential solution: the eco-friendly Navy shower. Designed to conserve water, this showering method involves getting wet, turning off the water, soaping up, then turning the water back on to rinse off. Sure, it’s not nearly as fun as a typical shower, but it’s better for your skin—and the environment.
2. Playing Monopoly
Here’s the thing about Monopoly: It’s a terrible game.
That’s not our opinion, it’s a fact; the game was originally created to show kids the futility of capitalistic systems.
Elizabeth Magie created an early version of Monopoly called The Landlord’s Game in 1903—three decades before the Parker Brothers produced their version. She offered two sets of rules: one that rewarded all players for generating wealth together, and an anti-monopolist ruleset that was intentionally dull for everyone but the game’s inevitable winner.
Oddly enough, the second version was the one that caught on, and many of Magie’s rules made it to the world-famous board game.
Imgur user elpher created a stunning tutorial explaining how to win at Monopoly, but we’ll warn you, it’s best used if you really dislike the other people in the game. Your goal, basically, is to immediately establish a monopoly, cause a housing shortage (by getting four houses on every property and never building hotels), and hold all of the other players to the exact rules of the game.
That means forcing unclaimed properties to go to a bank auction, compelling other players to give up properties in lieu of rent, and generally being a terrible person until everyone else quits in frustration.
The approach is best summed up by elpher’s final tip: “Go buy a better board game.”
You can check out the full tutorial here.
3. Charging Your Phone
Turns out you might have some poor phone-charging habits…but they aren’t what you think. Check out the video below to learn how to extend the life of your phone and keep it from overheating:
4. Trimming Your Fingernails
You might have noticed that your nail clippers have a subtle curve, as if they’re designed for single-snip action. That may have been the intent, but it actually takes three or four clips across the length of the average fingernail to tidy up those hands, reports GQ.
Whatever you do, don’t just cram your nail into the clipper head on and start snipping.
“A common mistake men and women make when trimming their own nails is the angle at which they approach it,” celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann told the men’s magazine. “Clipping straight-on can bend and ultimately damage the nail.”
Don’t go too short, either. According to Esquire, you want a little bit of fresh white growth at the ends of your nails. If you try to trim your nails down to the skin, you open your fingertips up to the risk of infection, a horrible prospect.
Also, notice how men’s magazines have the market cornered on nail-care tips? That’s unexpected.
5. Holding the Steering Wheel
When you first learned to drive, you probably learned the “10 and 2” rule: Your hands should stay at 2:00 and 10:00 on the steering wheel; this is meant to give you optimum control over your vehicle if you need to suddenly avoid an obstacle.
That is, apparently, completely wrong. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now recommends positioning of 9 and 3, which should help to keep the driver’s hands out of the way of the airbags in the event of an accident.
Other organizations have slightly different recommendations, but they’re all fairly similar. The State of Connecticut, for instance, recommends that “both hands should be placed on opposite sides of the steering wheel,” which should allow drivers to comfortably make turns at high speeds.
Still, the 10 and 2 position is widely seen as dangerous.
“When your airbag is triggered, super-hot nitrogen gas fills the bag, forcing open the plastic cover on your steering wheel,” wrote Matt Collister of insurance provider Progressive on the company’s blog.
“The bag then expands toward you at 150-250 mph. The higher your hands are on the wheel, the more likely they are to be over that plastic cover—and the more likely they are to be injured when it blows open,” according to Collister.
That might sound slightly dramatic, but the takeaway is clear: Keep those hands a bit lower. Otherwise, you could be taking an unnecessary risk—without benefiting from any added additional maneuverability.
6. Scrambling Eggs
What’s so tough about scrambling eggs? You crack a few into a hot, oily pan, whisk, and it’s time for breakfast, right? Not so fast, say the experts at Bon Appetit magazine.
Like, literally, not so fast.
The magazine’s digital food editor, Dawn Perry, told her reporter that “A good scramble takes a minute!”
That’s because you want to scramble your eggs over medium-low heat. That quick sizzle will just dry out your eggs. The trick is to whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl, drop a dollop of butter into a nonstick pan, and cook those eggs over medium-low heat while stirring them until they begin to solidify. Oh, and take them off the burner just before they start to look done. They’ll continue to cook until they cool down a bit.
7. Using Cotton Swabs in Your Ears
What could be simpler than using cotton swabs to clear out your ears?
Well, it’s on this list, so you probably know what’s coming: Cotton swabs can damage your hearing. In fact, there’s really no reason to be cleaning out earwax from your inner ears in the first place.
“Number one, you would like to have some wax in your ears,” otologist/neurotologist Jennifer Smullen Tirino, MD, told Boston’s NPR station, WBUR. “The ear canal makes wax for a purpose. The wax in your ear waterproofs the ear canal and keeps water from going in and getting stuck, sort of like wax on your car. If you clean your ear with a Q-tip, that strips the wax and lets the water stay in.”
While we might want our ears to appear absolutely clean, that’s not necessarily a good idea from a biological perspective. That’s not the only issue, by the way.
Pushing the earwax in can cause impaction, potentially perforating the eardrum. The best approach is to simply use cotton swabs to clean around the outside of the ear; otolaryngologists often say that you shouldn’t put anything into your ear that’s smaller than your elbow.
8. Sitting at Your Computer
The problem here isn’t what you’re doing; it’s that you’re not doing much of anything else.
Even if you exercise after you get home, you’re probably not completely reversing the effects of a day spent in a chair. If you don’t exercise, you might be heading for a catastrophic injury.
“You work with poor posture, then the average American watches six hours of TV with poor posture; you’re a disaster waiting to happen,” Scott Bautch, chiropractor and president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health, told FashionBeans. “If I do that, eventually I’m going to do something I do every day, and a catastrophe will happen because of the sedentary activities that take place every day.”
The good news is that, regardless of your lifestyle, you can safely begin exercising: A 2014 study showed that sedentary adults weren’t any more likely to incur injuries than non-sedentary adults when starting a 12-month workout plan. Still, Bautch says that minor changes will allow for more permanent results.
Bautch recommends incorporating 35 micromotion periods per day. By spending five seconds walking and stretching several times per hour, you can reverse many of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. He believes that by incorporating other “microhabits,” people can avoid serious health conditions, and as he told us, most lifestyle changes occur gradually.
“The average person eats 118 extra calories on a weekend,” he notes. “Well, 118 extra calories two days, four times per month, we gain a pound. Over 20 years, you know, we gain 50 or 60 or 70 pounds … But if I stay close to my BMI, if I add 30 minutes of movement, I decrease my healthcare costs by well over 30 percent. It’s just little, tiny things that make the big differences that accumulate.”
9. Chewing Too Much Gum
We all know a diet high in sugar feeds gut bacteria. Well, it’s the same for bacteria in your mouth. If you jump for chewing gum to help your bad breath regularly, you could be doing yourself more damage than good.
Dr. Harold Katz, known as the bad-breath guru of Beverly Hills, explains: “Ultimately, all the gum and mints in the world will not stop chronic halitosis (bad breath) and is not a replacement for a robust oral hygiene regimen.
“Sucking mints or chewing gum does serve as a good occasional short-term fix, but if they contain sugar, then they may only eventually worsen the situation. I’d recommend trying to avoid candy mints all together, and choose a gum that doesn’t contain aspartame, artificial flavors and colors.”
10. Sleeping On Your Stomach
Everyone has their favorite sleeping position but as chiropractor Andrew Green explains, one stands out from the rest for all the wrong reasons.
“There is one sleeping position, on your stomach, that should be avoided at all costs,” he says. “If you sleep like this, you are twisting your spine severely as your head will be turned to one side and usually you will have one hip hitched up. This position adversely affects both blood and nerve flow.
“Stomach sleepers’ tend to develop respiratory problems, or tingling and numbness in their arms, hands and fingers. They also tend to be more prone to headaches as the neck is twisted to one side. The solution is to sleep either on your back or side.”
Good excuse for rolling your partner over if they sleep on their back and start to snore, if you ask us.
11. Doing Sit Ups For Abs
Personal trainer Faye Pritchard explains: “Sit ups have been around for years and they’ve been hard-wired into our subconscious as the exercise we need to do when we want toned abs.
“Nowadays there is a lot more research into fitness and the exercises that are most effective for targeting certain areas. The truth is that the best exercises to develop abs are actually the plank, deadbugs and crunches,” says Pritchard.
“To do the deadbug, lie on your back with your arms pointing towards the ceiling and your legs at a 90 degree angle. Then, gradually take your arms back as you lower one leg. Return arms and legs back to starting position and repeat for the other leg. Aim for 20 reps, and do them 4-5x.”
12. Using Resistance Bands To Build Muscle
Pritchard wants you to push past this warm up: “swipe through Instagram and you’ll be inundated with images of men and women with strong, built bums using resistance bands and you’ll automatically think that is the way to develop your glutes.
“Resistance bands only activate your glutes – I love band work but only for warm ups – to truly build a bum, you need to weight train and lift fairly heavy,” she tells us.
13. Using A Wooden Chopping Board
Still have a wooden chopping board? Bin it.
“Wooden cutting boards are more difficult to disinfect, and sometimes they don’t go in the dishwasher,” says infectious disease expert, Dr. Belinda Stuart-Moonlight. “It’s strongly advised to have plastic cutting boards that are easy to clean and disinfect.
“Probably one in two retail chickens will have a bug, campylobacter, on the surface,” Dr. Stuart-Moonlight adds. “It’s a very nasty bug that can cause long term auto immune illnesses – people end up in wheelchairs.”
Luckily, you can limit your risk of cross contamination by “washing your hands and meat contact surfaces like knives and cutting boards immediately and thoroughly.”
14. Refrigerating Your Avocados
Will Hawkins, registered nutritionist at Push Doctor, tells us this is a bad habit.
“Do not refrigerate your avocados,” he says. “At least not initially. Once picked from the tree, avocados, much like bananas, produce ethylene, which triggers the ripening process. The optimal temperature for this is 68°F/20°C.
“Fresh-picked avocados should ripen under these conditions within three to six days. When ripe, the avocado should yield gently to pressure, but not be squishy.”
15. Sticking With Your Default WIFI Settings
Matt Powell, Editor at Broadband Genie states that “a common mistake with home broadband is trusting the default settings of our Wi-Fi routers.
“Many of us get a free router from our internet provider, plug it in and never think about it again unless something goes wrong, but they often come with insecure default passwords and if not maintained can be left vulnerable to hackers and viruses.
“Our own internal research found 51% of people hadn’t taken any steps to deal with this, with most unaware of the issues that could arise.
“At a bare minimum you should change the default admin password which controls access to the router’s settings,” he says. “And get into the habit of checking for updates to protect against security holes.”
16. Avoiding A Credit Card
Justin Basini, CEO of ClearScore comments: “Some people still believe using a credit card will damage your finances, when it’s actually the complete opposite.”
“Using a credit card sensibly actually builds your credit history and improves your credit score. It shows lenders that you can manage your money well and pay back your debts on time.
“It also means you’re more likely to be accepted for financial products in the future, for example if you want to get a mobile phone contract or a mortgage.
“If you do decide to take out a credit card, the golden rule is to make a plan to pay back the money and never miss a payment, as this will impact you negatively.”
17. Taking Painkillers To Cure A Hangover
Personal trainer Jay Bolton offers a helping hand to those who want to hit the white wine as hard as the gym.
“It can be easy to go for a pack of paracetamol when you have a throbbing headache the morning after a heavy night – but many of the symptoms associated with a hangover are actually due to dehydration,” he states.
“Before going to sleep, drink a big glass of water rather than a paracetamol, and you’ll feel better for it the following morning.”
18. Rinsing Immediately After Brushing
White Glo’s dental expert Jordan Kirk tells us why we should wait to rinse: “When brushing, you’re actually supposed to wait half an hour before rinsing, to give your teeth time to be properly cleaned.
“Also, after eating, you should avoid brushing for at least half an hour to give your enamel enough time to recover, it’s far more sensitive after a meal. Avoiding these two common mistakes can make a huge difference in dental health and can keep your teeth healthy for years to come.”
19. Painting A Room First
According to Furnish Your Home, we’ve all been decorating our homes wrong.
“Many interior designers suggest that to really get a feeling of how you want to create a room, buy fabrics like rugs, throws and pillows as well as textiles like curtains before you even consider the color of the room.
“These touches will inspire you to get a vision of how the room could look and what would go well alongside your pieces.”
20. Keeping Babies Awake During The Day
Zarja Cibej, founder of childcare matchmaker and maternity nurse specialist myTamarin calls this out as a parenting myth.
“Contrary to popular belief, you should not exhaust your baby during the day by keeping them awake in order for them to sleep better and longer during the night. Babies need to be rested in order to sleep well at night. An overtired baby will be restless at night.
“For example, a three-month-old baby needs a short nap in the morning—45 minutes to an hour—and a longer nap after lunch (around one and a half to two hours) alongside a catnap in the afternoon of around 30 minutes.
“Follow this routine and they will still need about 11-12 hours of sleep at night. Skip those naps, and you’re up for a much shorter night!’
21. Using The Phrase ‘Sleep Like A Baby’
And, speaking of, no one should ever want to sleep like a baby. Sleeping like a baby means not knowing how to fall asleep and waking up every 45 minute sleep cycle.
Contrary to the popular belief, babies don’t know how to fall asleep, and how to stay asleep. They need to be taught how to fall asleep and how to actually stay asleep, says Cibej. Everyone who has ever raised a human knows that.
22. Using The Sun As Natural Bleach For Your Hair
According to award-winning professional hairdresser Andrew Barton, this is a total lie. “Contrary to popular belief, sunshine will not make your colored blonde locks blonder.
“UV light will fade blonde hair color so to avoid a washed out look and hair that is dull, keep your blonde hair covered up in the sun and pop on a sunhat instead!”
23. Storing Chocolate In The Fridge
“Although it may be tempting to store chocolate in the fridge during the summer months, refrigeration can cause chocolate flavors to dull,” says to Genevieve Holdsworth, creative director of Holdsworth Chocolates.
“Additionally, chocolate can absorb odors from the fridge, and the chilly temperatures can even cause sugar bloom or fat bloom, which both lead to a white coating on the outside of the chocolate, affecting the taste and the texture.
“For best results, store chocolate in a cool, dark place at just below room temperature – somewhere like a pantry – to ensure that the flavors stay as they should be.”
24. Wearing A White T-Shirt To Prevent Sunburn
It may seem conducive to protecting your skin but a white T-shirt actually provides your body with very little protection.
London Doctors Clinic says it’s one of the biggest mistakes people make in the sun: “It may feel like it’s keeping you cool but a white T-shirt does not protect you from sun damage. It only has SPF of 7 and when it is wet, that drops to 3!”
25. Only Working The Glamour Muscles
Chiropractic clinic ProBack see lots of people who have back pain due to mistakes made in the gym.
“When most people step into the gym, they often ignore working out the smaller muscle groups and spend far too much time working solely on their ‘glamour’ muscles such as biceps, chest and glutes,” they tell us.
“This leaves some of the smaller muscle groups, including the shoulders, knees and hips, ignored.
“As you may expect, ignoring these muscles can have a negative overall effect on your workout as they will become less able to support the larger muscle groups as they become stronger.
“If these smaller muscles become overloaded by your workouts, they may not be able to perform optimally, and this may result in injury and potentially mean you may need some time away from the gym to recover.”