All kinds of misinformation is spread about acne throughout the internet, mainstream media, and word of mouth. Whether it be far fetched home remedies, bogus causes, or false science, it’s hard to get the facts straight on all the little details of those pesky little bumps.
Let’s clear up a couple of those rumors and myths surrounding acne, so that you can work towards keeping your skin as healthy as it can be the right way.
Myth 1: Acne is for teenagers
If only this one were true. While acne is common in teenagers because of their raging hormones, according to clinical studies it also affects 40-55% of adults. Hormonal fluctuations can continue well into adulthood whether it’s due to your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or stress, and acne can be a result of this. Medication, personal care products, and genetics can also lead to acne, so don’t worry, you’re not abnormal if you’re breaking out well into your twenties, thirties, or beyond.
Myth 2: Acne is a result of dirty skin
Acne is a result of the specific bacteria known as P. acnes. This bacteria builds up and gets trapped underneath pores that are clogged up by an overproduction of oil, or dead skin build-up. While dirt can also aid in clogging pores, it is not the main cause by any means. So if you skip washing your face once or twice, it’s not the cause of your acne.
Myth 3: Moisturizing when you have oily skin will cause more acne
If skin is dehydrated, it begins to go into overdrive and produces more oil than necessary, which will ultimately lead to clogged pores. A lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer will provide the hydration your skin relies on to stay healthy without further clogging pores.
Myth 4: Toothpaste can clear pimples
Just because it tingles doesn’t mean it’s working. This home “remedy” is just a long running myth. Though the baking soda, sugar alcohols, and hydrogen peroxide found in many toothpastes can help dry out a pimple, that won’t actually heal the pimple or prevent future breakouts.
On top of that, those ingredients that dry out pimples (as well as sodium lauryl sulfate) can also be harmful to your skin and cause further redness and irritation. Save that toothpaste for your teeth, and stick to gentle, irritant-free skin care for keeping your skin clean.
Myth 5: Greasy food causes acne
While it seems likely that the grease from pizza and burgers would make its way onto your skin, the truth is your body just breaks down the oil you're consuming and either uses it as fuel or stores it. Your skin is typically out of the equation.
However, other aspects of your diet can affect your skin. There is some evidence to suggest that dairy products can cause or intensify acne because of the hormones and bacteria present in factory farmed cow’s milk, and sugary, highly processed carbs can spike insulin levels and increase oil production which will clog pores.
Overall, eating enough vitamin-rich, whole foods and drinking enough water is in your best interest for your overall health, and thus, your skin’s health. But don’t stress if you have a slice of pizza or bar of chocolate every once in a while, there’s enough room in any balanced diet for sweet, greasy foods. It’s overdoing it on the sugar and dairy that could potentially cause problems.
Myth 6: Acne only occurs on oily skin
Regardless of your skin type, it is capable of overgrowing the bacteria that causes acne. While oil is known to clog pores and trap that bacteria, built up dry, dead skin can also trap bacteria.
Different skin types have to be maintained differently to keep acne at bay.
Myth 7: Sunscreen makes acne worse
This one might have some truth, but only partially. There are two categories of sunscreen: chemical sunscreens that contain UV ray absorbing ingredients like oxybenzone, and physical, mineral sunscreens that contain UV reflecting ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens can clog pores and cause irritation and outbreaks, but mineral sunscreens are lightweight and noncomedogenic so they’ll leave your pores open while still shielding from the sun.
In fact, there’s also research to suggest that zinc oxide actually helps kill acne causing bacteria. So don’t skimp on the sunscreen because you fear acne. Keep your skin protected, and even if it does cause a breakout or two, it’ll most likely be temporary, while the damage done by UV rays will last a lifetime.
Myth 8: Only skin care products have an effect on acne
If you’ve ever changed up your skin care products and broken out immediately after, you most likely stopped using that product. Certain ingredients can be irritating to your skin, and new products run the risk of introducing you to those ingredients.
This phenomenon isn’t limited to skin care products. Our hair care products and even our toothpaste can come into contact with the skin around our hairline and mouth respectively, and if any of those ingredients are irritants, it can lead to breakouts.
Everyone's skin is different, and will react negatively to specific ingredients, but generally speaking, it’s best to avoid common irritants such as sulfates, parabens, artificial dyes and fragrances, and essential oils.
Lucky for you, Cleure offers a full range of skin, hair, and oral care products free of these ingredients, so you can stock up and minimize your risk of breakouts and irritation from all ends of the personal care spectrum.
Myth 9: Popping pimples makes them go away
Whatever you do, don’t pop that pimple! No matter how large or inflamed it gets, or how gross it makes you feel, popping a pimple will just cause the bacteria to spread around the area which will cause even more breakouts. It can also lead to an infection or cause acne scarring that will be there permanently. If you just leave it be and take care of your skin, it should go away within a few days.
If your pimples just won’t go away and seem like they’re in for the long haul, then consider talking to a doctor or dermatologist to find a solution. Going Dr. Pimple Popper on yourself will do more harm than good.
Myth 10: Washing your skin more will cure acne
It seems like this one would make sense. Get rid of the built up oil, get rid of acne, right? Wrong. Washing your face too much can completely strip your skin of its vital natural oils. Then your skin will dry out which is also not what it wants, so it will overcompensate for the lack of moisture, and go into overdrive to start creating even more oil than before. Proper skin care and acne prevention is about finding the balance between oily and dry, so stick to cleansing once or twice a day.
Acne is finicky and difficult to remedy. You may be in the long haul when it comes to clearing up your skin, but the first step is to not believe everything you hear or read about acne. Find a simple, clean skin care regimen that works for you and doesn’t further irritate your skin with harsh ingredients. That, plus a consistent, nutritious diet, and overall upkeep of your physical health will work together to ease the problem. If things don’t get better, it’s best to talk to your doctor or dermatologist to see what can further be done. After all, they are the professionals, not some influencer online or a gullible friend that reinforces these myths.