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Acne Myths and Facts

Everyone has been affected by acne at some point in their lives. Although there has been much research carried out with regard to acne, widely held myths about this skin problem persist. Some of these myths and misconceptions are based on common knowledge passed down from one generation to the next, some were revealed on TV programs, or from hearsay; and from to time published in beauty magazines.

For those people who do not suffer acne, these little pieces of advice may seem innocent; however, for those who suffer persistent acne, these unfounded pieces of advice may set off a severe skin problem. This list of popular acne myths has been created to educate people about acne and avoid worsening it.

Myth 1 – Dirt can cause acne

Who hasn’t heard of this before? This is the very first of the many acne myths. Although there are many causes of acne, dirt is not one of them. Plugged hair follicles, as a result of dead skin cells mixing with the body’s natural skin oils, develop into blemishes. However, dirt has nothing to do with it. Therefore, washing the face and body more than two or three times a day will not help get rid of acne. In fact, too much washing, or worse, abuse of harsh cleansing scrubs, will probably only dry the skin out, encouraging peeling and the need for the skin to produce more oil.

Myth 2 – Acne is only for teenagers

This is the second of many popular acne myths. This terrible misconception could be dangerous because teenagers may be led to wait for acne to fade as they age, instead of looking for immediate therapy. They may risk developing acne scars. Also because of this myth, adults with acne may feel too embarrassed to seek treatment. Acne prevails in different age groups and not to teenagers alone. It also varies from individual to individual and from treatment to treatment.

Myth 3 – Acne is just a superficial condition

This is not true, as acne may affect a person’s self-esteem and lead to depression. After the acne has been cured, it may leave physical and psychological scarring.

Myth 4 – Direct on the spot treatment works

This is a longstanding acne myth because pimples take two to three weeks to develop. Therefore, direct administration of products will not tackle the root of the problem but will only deal with the old symptom. The only direct method to deal with acne is to prevent blemishes from developing. Treatment of the entire area of the affected skin is needed to do this, and it helps to reduce future development of new acne spots.

Myth 5 – Certain foods exacerbate acne

The truth of the matter is that no scientist has yet been able to establish a direct correlation between food and acne. However, a healthy diet is always recommended for many reasons. A healthy diet keeps the body strong and will help the person feel better during their acne-prone periods.

Myth 6 – Cosmetics will cause acne

Not if you use non-comedogenic make-up, which most make-ups are made of today. Non-comedogenic make-up will not plug follicles that initiate the development of acne. When choosing make-up, choose non-comedogenic, oil-free (water-based), and non-hypoallergenic (no added fragrance) products.

Myth 7 – Excessive sex can cause acne

Sexual behavior is not even slightly connected with acne, although androgens are one of the most important causes of acne. These and other hormones trigger several energies, which includes sexual energy.

Myth 8 – Sweating unclogs hair follicles

Sweat comes from another gland of the skin, and not the sebaceous gland. Sweat glands and sebaceous glands are different, and sweating does not help to clean up sebaceous gland ducts as the two glands are unconnected. While considered a healthy habit, exercise can actually produce flare-ups. The heat, perspiration, and friction from strenuous exercise provoke oil formation and may worsen acne on the forehead, chest, and back. Try to lessen irritation by wearing cotton outfits while exercising and by showering right after a workout. Swimming is probably the best exercise recommended for acne victims as the perspiration, heat and friction are not largely involved.

Myth 9 – Sun exposure treats acne

There has been some research on this popular belief, but nothing conclusive has been found. Perhaps the reason behind this myth is the fact that the skin darkens after sunbathing, masking the blemishes. In fact, extended sun exposure triggers faster exfoliation of dead skin cells, making follicles more susceptible to getting plugged. Being in the sun for long periods of the time may actually enhance the possibility of scarring. Using sunlight to treat acne is potentially dangerous, as sunlight can cause skin cancer. It is recommended, therefore, to use oil-free sun protection products that contain a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 for both UVA and UVB rays.

Myth 10 – Stress can cause acne

This is actually half a myth because stress can cause acne although only indirectly. The production of cortisol, which causes the sebaceous glands to generate more oils, intensifies when the body is under the effects of stress. Relaxation techniques may help and is recommended in this case.

Myth 11 – Acne is curable

This is the last circulating acne myth. Acne is very treatable, even though a definite cure has not been found yet. Prevention is better than cure, and this also applies to acne. The best approach in dealing with acne is to prevent lesions from occurring through the various available therapies. If one does not use preventive maintenance treatment, unhealed acne may return.