Acne Myths

Many of the problems facing those who are trying to deal with acne are the pervasive sources of misinformation out there regarding the causes of acne. Despite the numerous valid sources of information on and about acne that are now available, these myths persist and are passed on by word-of-mouth to those unfortunate enough to suffer from the disease. Rather than finding solutions and treatments to alleviate the symptoms, problems are often compounded. Ill-advised treatments based off these myths can have less than effective results and can often do further damage in the case of severe acne.

In light of the influence that these myths can have on both understanding acne in general and the courses of treatment in particular, it would be wise to start with a quick overview of some of the more common myths that are out there, dispelling the misinformation with the truth about them. After this we can move on to the question of what the actual causes of acne might be.

? Myth #1: Acne is caused by poor hygiene.

It doesn’t matter how often, how ritually, you scrub your face and other areas affected by acne; this has no bearing on either the status of current a breakout or the creation of new problems. In fact, this sort of rigorous regimen of washing and scrubbing can actually irritate skin and make the acne worse, not better. Though you may have heard so from well-meaning parents growing up or some other misinformed person, acne is not caused by poor hygiene. This doesn’t mean that hygiene isn’t important. In fact, good hygiene can help reduce the effects of acne if used in conjunction with acne treatment products. Rather than frequent, harsh washing, it is generally recommended that you wash your face twice to three times a day with mild soap and then pat it dry - don’t scrub dry.

? Myth #2: Acne is caused by diet.

“Don’t eat chocolate, it will give you pimples!” “They say that eating greasy foods can give you zits.” Most of you have heard these and other similar statements before, right? What they are saying, in effect, is that what you eat can cause acne. But, what they are saying isn’t true. It is a myth, one of the more popular ones actually, about the causes of acne. Extensive scientific research has been conducted, searching for possible correlations between one’s diet and a possible cause of acne, and have not found anything conclusive.

However, each of us is different. Some people notice that breakouts are worse after eating certain foods--and the kinds of food differ with each person. For example, some people may notice breakouts after eating chocolate; while others have no effects with chocolate. Instead, they notice breakouts occurring after they drink too much coffee or caffeine. These are just examples but they might be worth heading. If there is some sort of food or drink that might be affecting your acne, then cut back and see if that helps.

? Myth #3: Acne is caused by stress.

Stress is not a direct cause of acne but it is true that some types of stress can cause the body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which can irritate existing acne. Indirectly, some medication that we take to alleviate or control extreme stress or emotional problems like depression can be factors in the production of acne. In fact, some medicines have acne listed as a possible side effect.
? Myth #4: Acne will go away on its own.

This is generally not true and acne needs treatment in order to be cleared up. With the selection of acne treatment products available today there is no reason not to investigate and find what has the best results for those concerned. In some cases, a dermatologist should be consulted and other forms of treatment can be pursued.

? Myth #5: Tanning clears up skin.

In fact, this has the reverse effect. At first it may seem that the latest bake in the tanning bed or sunbathing has improved your complexion, but in fact the tan may only have masked or covered the acne. In reality, the sun can make the skin dry and irritated and this can lead to more breakouts. On another note, if you do tan, make sure that you are using a sunscreen that doesn’t contain oils and other chemicals that might clog up your pores and cause acne to get worse. (Look for noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic on the label.)

? Myth #6: Popping Zits Will Make Them Go Away Faster

Again, though this seems true, it is another myth. Rather than speeding up the process of healing, this action actually prolongs the situation as popping the whitehead caused the bacteria inside to be pushed deeper into the skin, which allows more infection to grow, and ultimately leads to scarring.

? Myth #7: Only Teenagers get acne.

The truth is that about 25% to 30% of all people between the ages 25- 44 have active acne. So the idea that acne is only a problem for teens is yet another myth.

After covering these myths, it is important to note, that these are not all of the myths that are out there, circulating in the popular health magazines and on the Internet. No, not by a long shot. There are dozens more where these came from. The reason for their inclusion in this book is to help you, the reader, understand that the topic of acne has grown more complicated as new sources of information, both good and bad, have become available and that one must be very careful about researching the topic and deciding what sources to trust.


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