The myths that persist around acne

Acne affects approximately everyone at some point in their lives. However, although much research has been carried on as regards acne, there are an incredible number of widely held acne “myths”; misconceptions based on common knowledge, passed down from one generation to the next, revealed on a TV programme, told by a friend and, from time to time, published in beauty magazines.

For most people, these little pieces of advice may seem harmless; but for those who undergo persistent acne, these inoffensive assertions may set off a severe skin problem. In order to avoid making acne worse, a list of popular acne myths has been created.

Myth 1

Who have not ever heard that acne is caused by dirt? This is the first of many acne myths. There are many causes of acne, but dirt is not one. Blemishes develop when hair follicles are plugged as a result of dead skin cells mixing with the body’s natural oily substances. Dirt is never involved in this process, so excessively washing your face or body more than two or three times a day will not make your acne better. Actually, too much washing or the abuse of harsh cleasing scrubs will probably make your skin dehydrated and encourage peeling and the need to produce more oil.

Myth 2

The second of many popular acne myths is that acne is for teenagers only. This is dangerous in a number of ways. First, it may cause that teenagers wait until their acne is over instead of looking for therapy. This may lead to severe cases of acne scarring. Then, this may embarrass adults, preventing them from seeking treatment. This is a terrible misconception. Acne is not exclusive of teenagers. Acne can be found in different age groups and it varies from individual to individual and from treatment to treatment.

Myth 3

A third acne myth is that acne is just a superficial condition. Although acne is not a life threatening health condition, it can deeply affect a person’s self-esteem; and even lead to depression. Moreover, after acne is over, it may leave physical and psychological scarring.

Myth 4

Myth number four is that treatment directly on the spot works. This is a longstanding acne myth. As pimples take two to three weeks to grow, just direct administration of products will not tackle the root of the problem, but just deal with an old symptom. The only method to deal with acne is to prevent blemishes from developing.This requires treatment of the entire area of skin where acne is occuring. This helps to reduce the future development of new acne spots.

Myth 5

The next popular acne myth is that certain foods cause or exacerbate acne. Actually, no scientist has been able to establish a direct correlation between food and acne. Nevertheless, a healthy diet is always recommended. It will make your body strong and it will help you feel better in your struggle against acne.

Myth 6

Cosmetics cause acne. Nowadays the majority of make-up products are non-comedogenic. That means they will not plug your follicles and initiate the development of acne. At the moment of choosing make-up, get non-comedogenic, oil-free (water-based) and hypoallergenic (no added fragrance) products.

Myth 7

Another acne myth is that sex in large amounts causes acne. Although androgens are one at the most important causes of acne, and although these and other hormones trigger several energy, sexual behavior is not even slightly connected with acne.

Myth 8

Some acne myths claim that sweating unclogs your follicles. In fact sweat coems from sweat glands in the skin. Sweat glands are not the same thing as sebaceous glands and sweat production does not help to clean out sebaceous gland ducts as the two glands are unconnected. Even though taking exercise is a healthy habit, it can actually produce flare-ups. Strenuous exercise provokes oil formation that, together with heat, perspiration and friction, may worsen acne on the forehead, chest, and back. In any case, always try to lessen irritation by wearing cotton outfits and by showering right away after doing exercise. Probably the best exercise recommended for acne sufferers is swimming, where perspiration, heat and friction are not largely involved.

Myth 9

Another popular belief is that sun exposure improves acne. There has been some research on this but nothing conclusive. After sunbathing, the skin darkens, and blemishes seem less conspicuous. However, extended exposure triggers faster exfoliation of dead skin cells, so your follicles are more susceptible to getting plugged. Moreover, sun harms the skin after a while and may actually enhance the possibility of acne scarring. Sunlight can also cause skin cancer so using sunlight to treat acne is potentially dangerous. So whenever you sunbathe, use oil-free sun protection products that contain a sun protection factor (or SPF) of at least 30 for both UVA and UVB rays.

Myth 10

A further acne myth (well, half a myth) is that it is caused by stress. Although stress does not produce acne, it is true that it can generate outbursts. When the body is under the effects of stress, it intensifies the production of cortisol, which makes the sebaceous glands generate more oils. The only recommendation would be that relaxation techniques may help.

Myth 11

The last one of the innumerable acne myths circulating is that acne is curable. Even though a cure has not been found yet, acne is very treatable. Remember that the best approach to deal with acne is to prevent pimples from occurring and for that there are numerous therapies. But even if your blemishes clear, your acne is not healed and it may come back if you don't use a preventative maintenacne treatment.