Acne is a common condition across the globe. It causes pimples and blemishes that range in severity. It leaves many with long-term struggles like acne scarring or low self-esteem.
Despite its prevalence, there are still many myths that circulate about acne - some of which can be highly damaging to people with acne.
We will discuss 9 common myths about acne, why they’re wrong and the truth behind the condition.
Acne is most common during puberty and it is why the condition is mostly associated with teenagers. This is due to the hormonal changes that happen during this period.
However, acne can occur at any age. Adult acne is more common than you think.
Statistics reported by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) show:
Some people don’t have acne as teenagers, but develop it as they get older. A lot of lifestyle factors or medical conditions can trigger or worsen acne that is not related to puberty.
The relationship between your diet and acne is complicated.
No, a poor diet of greasy food does not directly cause acne. It is predominantly related to genetics and hormones which most people cannot control. However, for some, diet may be an acne trigger.
Research has shown that high-glycaemic foods may cause acne breakouts. These are foods that cause a sudden spike in blood sugar. This includes carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes and sugary foods like cakes.
Other studies show that cow’s milk products may also cause acne breakouts.
In short, certain foods may play a role in acne. However, more research is needed to understand the link.
Many people believe the sun is good for their skin because they feel tanned and glowing. However, the sun has the opposite effect.
The sun emits ultraviolet rays (UV rays). When they enter the skin, they disrupt processes that affect the skin’s growth and appearance.
This can make acne worse. It dries out your skin, which can cause your skin to overproduce sebum. This can cause more breakouts.
As well as acne, the sun can cause sun damage. This can cause wrinkles, age spots and general skin damage. It can potentially lead to skin cancer with repeated exposure.
Wearing an SPF of 30 or above will help reduce the risk of sun-damaged skin and help control your acne.
One of the most damaging myths about acne is that it is linked to poor hygiene. A lot of the processes for acne occur under the skin and cannot be controlled.
Overwashing your skin can make your acne worse. When you cleanse too often, you strip the natural oils from your skin. This causes your skin to overproduce sebum in response and trigger flare-ups.
Stick to washing your face once in the morning, once before bed, and after you exercise.
An infamous myth is that applying toothpaste to spots will help them clear up overnight.
The ingredients in toothpaste are great for cleaning teeth. However, most of them are too harsh for your skin. They can dry out your skin and cause excess oil production.
Instead, ask your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter or prescription acne treatments. These are clinically proven. When used correctly, control acne symptoms.
People with acne can still wear makeup. They just need to choose the right products.
Comedogenic products clog your pores, leading to spots. Non-comedogenic products do not clog your pores.
You should also avoid leaving makeup on before bed, using unclean brushes or tools, or sharing makeup with others. These factors will also help reduce the risk of breakouts.
Acne cannot be passed from person to person like common colds or infections.
Bacteria does play a role in clogging pores. However, it is usually a harmless bacteria that lives on the skin.
Disruption in the skin flora caused by numerous factors causes overgrowth in acne bacteria. You can’t catch the bacteria from someone else.
Many people are tempted to try natural treatments first. Perhaps they don’t want to go to their doctor or they don’t want to take medications. Unfortunately, these herbal remedies are not very effective.
Many products are advertised as natural acne treatments, such as:
There is little evidence that these herbs work for acne. Some products are likely to contain other ingredients that may dry out or irritate the skin like fragrance or alcohol.
Thankfully, many medical treatments are clinically proven and effective for acne. Your doctor can assess the severity of your acne and decide what treatment is best for you.
While it may feel very satisfying, popping your spots can make symptoms worse.
By squeezing spots, you push the bacteria and pus deeper into your skin. This can cause more inflammation and redness. It also damages the underlying skin, which can put you at a greater of acne scarring.
No matter how tempting it may be, you mustn’t pop your spots.
In conclusion, there is a lot of misinformation about acne. Some rumours can be extremely damaging and can affect the mental health of people with acne.
So, it’s important to listen to trusted medical sources or ask a healthcare professional.
You should also not choose any acne medications unless they have been verified as safe by your doctor or dermatologist. Prescription treatment is the most reliable and safe method for treating acne.
For moderate to severe cases, you may also be prescribed an oral antibiotic such as lymecycline as well as topical treatment. The antibiotic will help control the bacteria on your skin.
Getting the right treatment will also help prevent acne scarring and other long-term complications.
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