Chances are, whether as a teen or an adult, you’ve had to deal with acne at some point in your life. There is a lot of (mis)information out there, as well as TV ads promoting serums and washes which promise to clear acne up in no time, so it’s no wonder that it can be a frustrating time.
However, before considering any treatment, it’s a good idea to know what is true, and more importantly, what isn’t.
Myth #1 – Only teenagers get acne
It can often seem as though it is only teenagers who own this problem, and with 95% of teens having some sort of acne, it’s easy to see why. However, adult acne is common for both men and women, with around 40% of adults experience it. Sometimes, acne can even begin in adulthood rather than at younger ages! Women are more likely to experience acne as adults, however, due to natural hormonal fluctuations and any changes in contraception.
Myth #2 – Chocolate and fries cause acne
It’s no myth that a good diet can give you healthier skin, but one of the longest running myths about acne out there is that your favourite snacks will cause acne. In fact, greasy foods have been proven to have little to no impact on acne at all.
However, food can have an impact on your skin, and there have been links with unhealthy food and skin breakouts. It has been said that hormones and antibiotics found in dairy influence acne, but there has been little solid research and findings on this topic.
Myth #3 – All acne products are created equal
Nope, nope nope. In fact, all products are created unequal! While some exfoliators are good and getting the dead and dry skin off your face, some which use apricot seeds and or ground up walnuts can do more harm than good. Even though the natural elements are what make them so appealing in the first place, these harsh materials can actually cause small tears in your skin and cause even more irritation.
Be careful when looking at chemical exfoliators too, as the proportions can also cause further irritation. However, there are some good companies out there where you can get some good products, like acne treatments from TheSkinSmith, just be sure to do your research so that you are not making your acne even worse!
Myth #4 – It’s okay to pop spots
I know, I know, it’s tempting. It’s a common misconception that popping spots will release the bacteria from the inside the pore; however, all it really does is push the bacteria further inside and cause your skin to inflame! Popping spots can also lead to scaring in the long run, and nobody wants a face full of scares from not being able to control themselves, right?
Acne scars can affect people both physically and mentally for life, which is why it’s important to treat them preventatively rather than popping them as a response. To reduce the inflammation, put an ice cube on the spot and then follow by a targeted spot treatment, which will kill bacteria, loosen the skin and reduce the swelling and redness further.
Myth #5 – The sun will clear your acne up
It may feel as though the sun is drying your skin out and covering your red spots with a tan, but don’t be fooled, the sun could be helping to spread your acne. If you go too far and get burned, the reproduction of skin cells is actually likely to block your pores more, and cause even more spots. When in the sun, be sure to wear sunscreen religiously, but try to find one that will not block your pores and will allow your skin to breath.
Myth #6 – Spots turn up over night
It may sometimes feel as though you go to bed with a fresh face and wake up in the morning absolutely covered in spots, but these pimples are weeks in the making. Spots aren’t just one thing that have gone wrong, but a combination of the following:
– Excess dead skin clogging pores
– Your body overproducing oil
– An overgrowth of p. acnes bacteria in pores
– Inflammation and swelling as a result of all the above
They may appear to come out of nowhere, but there is a long process in order for these breakouts to occur! It’s all about control the individual factors in order to prevent these breakouts in the first place, and although you cannot control how much oil your skin produces, you can take time to gently exfoliate your skin to prevent it from clogging up and to keep your pores clean.
Myth #7 – Dirty skin causes acne
Acne isn’t caused by dirt or uncleanliness, and no amount of scrubbing your face with soap is going to fix the problem. The bacteria which causes acne, p. acnes, is already present in your skin and thrives in your skin when there is too much oil. Washing your face twice a day is plenty to reduce bacteria, remove dead skin cells and reduce surface oil. In order to kill this nasty bacteria, you will need to treat it with benzoyl peroxide.
On the other hand, there is also a myth that you can never wash your face enough – this is also untrue! Excessive washing can be just as harmful to your skin as not washing at all, as it strips your skin of everything it needs, causing it to overcompensate and produce even more oil than was there in the first place. By scrubbing hard, you may cause small cuts and irritations in your skin, which will cause more swelling and invitation for even more bacteria to get into your skin.
Myth #8 – Pores open and close
This is one that seems to be passed down from parents to children – that pores close when they are cold and open up when they are hot. Nope, forget about it! These little holes in your skin which are there to allow you to cool down when you are hot and to allow sweat out, do not have muscles and therefore cannot contract! They can appear to change in size, depending on how oily your skin is, and oily pores often look bigger than those that are not, but hot and cold are definitely not factors when it comes to the size of your pores.
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post.