Acne Myths Debunked
Everyone knows what the blotches, blackheads, and pimples of acne look like, but there are many myths and misconceptions about this condition. Lots of people have lots of different ideas about what causes acne and how to get rid of it. Generally, when we think of acne we think of acne vulgaris. Vulgaris in Latin means “common”. It is a disorder of the hair follicles and their attached oil glands in the skin, and its symptoms can vary from just a few pimples to many deep cysts. Acne isn’t caused by inadequate hygiene or poor diet (too much chocolate, fried foods, and sugar), although these factors can make acne worse. Use of contraceptives and corticosteroids, including anabolic steroids, also can contribute to, but do not cause, acne. These are simply myths, or things that are untrue. There is only one cause of acne: Too much oil being produced by the oil glands in the skin. Remember, pimples form beneath the surface of the skin, so no amount of surface scrubbing can prevent them entirely. Here are some myths and facts about acne.
Common Misconception and Truths About Acne
- Diet: You may have heard that eating certain foods, such as pizza and chocolate, will cause breakouts. Many of the traditional food links to acne are considered myths by health professionals. Greasy or fried foods, such as French fries or pizza, do not cause breakouts. Chocolate, nuts, and soda don’t give you pimples either. Scientists have found no connection between these foods and acne. You have likely heard the recommendation to stop eating fried foods or chocolate in order to prevent a breakout. There is no proof that any foods cause acne. However, some people may find that certain foods can make their acne worse. If so, avoid those foods that cause problems.
- Hygiene: Another myth is that poor hygiene causes acne. That belief can drive people to scrub their face repeatedly, which only further irritates the skin. As someone who suffers from acne, you may have been accused of being a dirty person. Acne is not caused by poor hygiene. Dirt and oil on the surface of your skin are not the causes of breakouts. Acne forms deep under your skin, where soap and a washcloth can’t reach. In fact, if you scrub your face, it can actually make your acne worse. Scrubbing or over washing your face can irritate the skin. This irritation can lead to breakouts.
- Stress: Many people claim that when they’re stressed out, they develop pimples. However, the regular stress of day-to-day living does not cause acne. There are certain medicines used to treat stress or depression that may make acne worse. If you are taking one of these medicines, check with your doctor if you notice that your breakouts are becoming more severe.
- Dabbing toothpaste on a spot: No. It is perhaps not surprising that you have heard this, as many people get so desperate that they will try anything. Asking people what they have tried produces some interesting answers. Household disinfectants even when diluted, they can still cause serious chemical burns. Cleaning powders, dish-washing detergents and industrial degreasing chemicals, do not work for acne and might cause damage to your skin. Sticky tape left on the skin overnight and pulled off in the morning. Although this will remove dead skin cells and excess oil, it does not remove comedones and it might even cause more damage to your skin. And you might develop an allergy to the glue.
- To Squeeze or Not to Squeeze: If you absolutely, positively must squeeze your blemishes, here’s the dermatologist-approved method – and it’s only valid for whiteheads. Clean the area well. Light a match and hold the tip of a needle in the flame for three seconds. Then gently nick the surface of the pimple. Use a cotton swab to drain it, then clean it with hydrogen peroxide, if you wish. But don’t squeeze or pick -you’ll make it worse. To “squeeze” a blackhead, use a blackhead extractor, available in drugstores. Soften the blemish with a hot-water compress for 10 minutes before you use it, and wash your hands beforehand to reduce the chances of infection. Never ever try using tweezers, needles, pins, Stanley knife, nail scissors or sandpaper to clear up your acne.
Surprising Facts about Acne
A key hormone during male adolescence is testosterone. More important, there is greater activity of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase in the skin, which converts testosterone to a metabolite known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone). These hormones, as well as the delicate balance of estrogen and progesterone, along with stress hormones, play a role in female adolescent, as well as in adult female and male acne.