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Myths about acne

10 Myths About Acne

10. Poor hygiene causes acne

While oils, dirt, and other contaminants can clog pores and worsen acne, it is not the primary cause of acne. Acne has numerous causes, the most primary being hormonal factors and to some degree, genetics. For those predisposed to acne, poor hygiene may make acne worse, but will not be the sole cause of acne for most patients.

9. Acne lasts forever

While those with acne tend to have their acne for years, most people who get acne in their childhood and teenage years improve in their mid-late twenties without any treatment. This improvement is primarily due to a stabilization in hormone levels during the mid-late twenties that are usually raging and in flux during the teenage years. Some people, however, do continue to have some degree of acne throughout the adult years, and there are even some other people who only develop acne in their adulthood.

8. Sexual activity worsens acne

The myth was that testosterone levels and the hormonal milieu associated with increased sexual activity worsened acne, but there is no evidence that sexual activity is at all related to acne.

7. Acne can be contagious

Acne is not contagious. If you touch or rub against anyone with acne, you will not get acne from their lesions. Rather, touching or rubbing, in and of itself, can lead to pore blockage and cause acne – an example being those people who breakout on their cheeks and chin from speaking on the telephone for prolonged periods of time.

6. Eating fatty foods causes acne

Acne is not caused by eating food. Limited studies have been done to prove whether or not foods cause acne, and while some studies may have suggested an association, there is no evidence to support that acne is related to what you eat. Chocolate or sweets do not cause acne.

5. Getting sunlight or tanning improves acne

There is no evidence that tanning or sunlight exposure improves acne. Some people may subjectively appear better after sun exposure, but there is nothing to suggest that regular sun exposure is a good way to treat acne. While sun exposure is known to decrease skin inflammation and, although unproven, certain inflammatory acne would theoretically benefit, this effect is NOT scientifically proven. It is very well-known that sun exposure leads to numerous types of skin cancers and strongly contributes to accelerated skin aging.

4. The more you wash your skin, the more improved your acne will be

Facial washing does improve acne, but the effect is limited. For those with very mild acne, washing 2-3 times per day may be all that’s needed for improvement. However, for those where simple washing does not fully control acne, further or more aggressive washing/scrubbing will not help and is not advised. In fact, the resulting trauma and dryness may be worse than the actual acne, itself. It would be prudent to have other acne control methods, either topical or oral medications to obtain further improvement.

3. Popping pimples is the best thing to do when you see active acne

Popping pimples can immediately relieve the pain and inflammation associated with numerous acne types, however, keep in mind that attempting to pop a pimple may actually worsen your acne greatly. The increased inflammation, trauma, and resulting worsening of acne may lead to not only a larger, more painful lesion, but also the potential for acne scarring.

2. Natural makeups are good for acne

Any makeup can promote acne, natural or otherwise. Makeup occlude pores which subsequently get inflamed and form acne. If you are shopping for a makeup suitable for acne, the best types of makeup to use are those labeled as non-comedogenic (non acne forming). For a list of non-comedogenic compounds, click here.

1. Using more medicine on acne makes it better, quicker

Using more medicine on a present acne lesion does not make it better any faster. When an acne lesion is present, it is often helpful to place a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid 1.5-2.0% product on the lesion one to three times a day. Doing it any more often may lead to excessive drying and cracking without improving the acne lesion further. To the same token, overusing Retin-A or prescription medications that you already have on a single acne lesion is not recommended.

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