Nine Common Acne Myths

Because acne is such a common condition, many people believe that they are experts on the subject. There are many myths that have been spread about acne for generations. Here are some of the most common myths.

Poor Hygiene Causes Acne

Many people believe that acne is caused by dirty skin. Acne can be helped by washing the skin twice a day and making an effort to keep dirt and oil off the skin, but face washing is not a cure for acne. In fact, washing the skin more than twice a day can actually stimulate the body to produce more oil, which can make acne problems worse.

Squeezing Pimples Helps Them Heal Faster

Many people squeeze their pimples because they believe that getting the pimple’s head out of the skin will cause it to heal faster. Popping pimples actually spreads bacteria to other areas of the skin and can cause scarring. Infection may be introduced if pimples are popped with bare hands. Dermatologists sometimes lance pimples with a sterile needle if they are persistent, but this isn’t something that patients should try at home.

Acne Spot Treatments Help

Many over-the-counter acne treatments claim that applying certain drugs to the surface of pimples is an effective way to get rid of acne. Acne actually starts deep in the skin and each pimple begins about 14 to 21 days before a lesion appears on the skin’s surface. Acne spot treatments may diminish the appearance of one particular pimple, but it doesn’t do anything to actually get rid of acne. Stopping pimples before they start is the way to achieve consistently clear skin. The entire face should be treated with acne medication, not just the spots with current lesions.

Acne Is For Teenagers

People of all ages can get acne, but it usually begins during the teenage years when hormone production in the body is at high levels. People of all ages can get acne, even after menopause. Many cases of acne begin at ages 12 or 13 and sometimes resolve themselves by age 20, while other cases don’t even begin until the patient has reached their 30s or 40s. People of all races can get acne and no direct genetic link has been found yet, but the children of people who had severe acne are more likely to suffer from the condition.

Sunlight is Beneficial To Acne

Sun exposure may seem like a good way to deal with acne, but it often causes more harm than good. The immediate benefit of sun exposure is that it dries out excess skin oils. The skin gets accustomed to sunlight quickly, so this benefit doesn’t last long. Sunlight also causes the skin to darken and redden, which makes pimples blend in better, but doesn’t get rid of them. Skin cancers such as melanoma are very serious and the risk of skin cancer far outweighs any benefits of sun exposure.

Acne is Caused By Eating Certain Foods

There is no concrete evidence that proves diet has any effect on acne, but some people believe that eating foods that are high in whole grains and lean proteins make certain people less prone to acne. Many studies have shown that fatty foods such as chocolate don’t actually cause acne and eliminating those foods from the diet doesn’t seem to make acne lesions less prevalent on the skin.

Acne is Caused By Stress

Stress causes the body to release certain hormones that also increases oil production, so this myth is partially true. People who are stressed also tend to have weakened immune systems, which causes bacteria to grow instead of being destroyed by the immune system.

Sweating is Good For Clearing Pores

Vigorous exercise can actually make acne worse because it stimulates the body’s oil producing glands. The combination of perspiration, heat and friction that is present during exercise can aggravate acne all over the body. It is important to wash the skin thoroughly after exercise to make sure that bacteria and perspiration are removed. Gym clothes should be washed before each use so that they don’t spread bacteria to different areas of the body.

Acne is Curable

Acne can and should be treated, but there is no known cure for this condition. Preventing acne from forming is the best way to control it. Many treatment solutions are available and it may take a combination of several treatments to effectively reduce or eliminate the symptoms of acne in each person. Anyone who cannot get rid of their acne symptoms after trying a drugstore treatment consistently for at least a month should talk to a dermatologist to create a stronger treatment plan. Prescription medication is often necessary to treat severe acne.