Top Acne Myths Debunked
With the endless amount of information surrounding acne, it can often be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. There are many misconceptions surrounding acne. Below is a list of some of the most common acne myths that we will set the record straight on.
- MYTH: Acne only affects teenagers
During puberty, the amount of androgenic hormones like testosterone produced by the body increases, leading to oiler skin that’s more prone to acne. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are likely to experience an acne breakout at some point in time. Acne is however not an exclusively teenage skin condition.
Some people never grow out of their acne, and some people begin having acne as adults. Data shows that about 19% of adults continue to get acne breakouts after the age of 25. Over half of people with acne are women older than 25 years of age. Acne continues into the 20s and 30s in around 64% and 43% of people, respectively. It can also affect you in your 40s and even in middle age.
Adult acne affects women much more than men due to hormonal factors, and the effect of the menstrual cycle on hormone levels. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study that found that that 50% of women between 20 and 29 years old, 35% of women between 30 and 39 years old, and 26% of women between 40 and 49 reported having acne.
Just like teenage acne, adult acne should be treated as soon as it begins to stop it from getting worse.
- MYTH: Bad hygiene causes acne, and washing your face more frequently will get rid of acne
It is a myth that bad hygiene causes acne breakouts. You might still experience acne breakouts even with a flawless personal care and hygiene routine.
There are several different subtypes of acne, and several known causes of acne: excessive production of oil, clogged hair follicles, hormones and bacteria. Acne has multiple factors at its root, but dirty skin isn’t one of them. Hormones, genetics, and inflammation leading to changes in pores, oil production and skin shedding are all part of the picture.
There is no known correlation between hygiene and the development of acne. Washing too frequently (particularly scrubbing too hard or using harsh soaps or chemicals) can cause irritation and dryness. This will cause the skin to create excess sebum which may further clog pores and cause even more acne.
The solution? Dermatologists recommend gently washing the face with an appropriate mild cleanser no more than twice per day, and getting the appropriate acne treatment and products to treat the acne on the surface and at its source.
- MYTH: Blackheads are dirt stuck in your pores
A blackhead is made up of excess oil (sebum), skin debris (dead skin cells) and protein stuck in your pores. They are caused when your skin cells do not reproduce fast enough to push out the excess material and form a buildup.
The dark colour of blackheads isn’t caused by polluted air, dust or any other unwanted type of particle matter. Instead, the dark colour of blackheads is caused by the sebum inside the pore interacting with oxygen (oxidation) and changing color.
- MYTH: The stronger the acne-fighting product, the better
Too high of a concentration of acne-fighting ingredients can cause serious irritation to your skin. Ensure that you follow the directions and use the concentration advised by your dermatologist.
- MYTH: Moisturizing is bad for oily skin
Moisturizing your skin, even if oily, is a crucial part of your skincare routine. Oil and moisture (hydration) are different things. Even oily skin needs sufficient hydration to keep it balanced.
People with larger pores and thicker skin, tend to produce more sebum, which in turn leads to clogged pores and acne-prone skin. Eliminating a daily moisturizer will dry out your skin and cause it to produce even more oil. This is because skipping moisturizer would dehydrate the oily skin, which spikes oil production as the skin’s means of keeping itself moisturized, which subsequently often results in a slew of unwanted breakouts.
Instead of cutting moisturizers out completely, use non-comedogenic/ non-acneic/ oil-free/ water-based moisturizers. These have ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera that won’t clog your pores, will help hydrate your skin, and keep your face free of pimples.
In addition, in a 2014 study, scientists found that regular use of moisturizer can enhance efficacy, alleviate dryness and improve skin comfort in people who use topical acne treatments.
Some acne-appropriate moisturizers may also contain acne-fighting ingredients that can reduce pimples and prevent future ones.
- MYTH: Toothpaste can heal your acne
No, toothpaste is not a viable treatment for acne. Certain ingredients in most brands of toothpaste contain baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and menthol, which can help dry out inflamed pimples, causing them to temporarily look smaller than normal. However, these results aren’t permanent. Pimples usually take three to seven days to heal on their own, so any dryness you experience from applying toothpaste to your pimples isn’t likely to be enough to speed up healing.
The issue with using this as a treatment is that it can often lead to further irritation and cause other types of rashes such as red, itchy and irritated patches of skin. Instead of swapping one problem for another, try using a specific spot treatment made for your skin, which is much more efficient.
- MYTH: Squeezing and Popping Pimples Helps Them Heal Faster
Popping a pimple will likely irritate it, and make the pimple become more visible, inflamed, red and painful than before. It’s also possible for bacteria to travel inside the clogged pore, worsening the infection, leading to even worse discomfort, and prolonging the healing process. If this infection becomes severe, it can even leave a lasting scar or a very longstanding red or brown spot. The bacteria from the hands may also worsen infection. Coming up with a treatment plan to both treat and prevent pimples is ideal, and doing our best to be hands-off is really important.
- MYTH: Acne always goes away on its own
Unfortunately, some forms of acne do require treatment. The hardest part is not knowing when acne will go away for any individual person and waiting to address it can lead to discoloration, staining and even scarring. Adult acne is not uncommon, and we have very effective ways to treat it in the office.
If your acne has gotten to the point where you can no longer manage it on your own, connect with us today! Schedule an appointment with us by calling 0722 315 315 or request an appointment online.