One of the problems surrounding acne is that, despite advances in many areas of medicine and biology, we still don’t have a great grasp as to what causes acne. Without good knowledge of the cause of acne, we are also at a loss as to how to treat it effectively in all cases. This dearth of knowledge provides rich fodder for myths. Here are ten myths about acne that you absolutely should ignore.
1. The Sun Will Cure Acne
This is a myth that has a basis in fact, which is part of the reason it has remained so pervasive. For individuals with fair skin, twenty minutes of sun per day can be beneficial for acne, particularly for body acne. For those with darker skin, thirty minutes of sun per day will do the trick. That said, overt exposure to UV rays will not cure acne and no amount of sun will make it go away completely. Don’t go without sunblock and risk a burn simply to treat acne because it won’t work. Enjoy the sun, but don’t over-indulge.
2. Chocolate Causes Acne
There is no definitive link between chocolate and acne, but there is a link between high glycemic foods and acne. So, if chocolate is high in sugar, that could lead to acne, but the chocolate itself is not the culprit. Consider a low-sugar chocolate or dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate as the latter contains more sugar. Avoid white bread, pasta, and other processed grains. Whole wheat and multigrain breads are less likely to contribute to acne.
More: 8 Great Reasons Dark Chocolate Is Good for You
3. Only Teens Get Acne
Fifty percent of adult men and twenty-five percent of adult women will experience acne at some point. What is more, the incidence of adult acne cases is on the rise. It isn’t clear why adults are suffering from more acne than in the past, but they do get it. Adult acne responds to the same treatments that teenage acne does.
More: 10 Tips for Dealing with Adult Acne
4. Never Pop a Pimple
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that popping pimples is harmful or that it increases risk of infection or future outbreaks. In fact, eliminating pimples that have white or yellow centers will initiate healing and help to combat bacteria. In general, popping pimples with a white or yellow head is a good idea, but popping others only causes more inflammation. Popping pimples won’t cause scars, but picking at the skin around the pimple or picking the seal that forms after popping one can cause scars.
There is a right way to pop a pimple. First, disinfect the skin with rubbing alcohol and then gently prick the pimple with a pin or needle. Go for the white center because it won’t hurt to prick that area. Make only a tiny hole and never push the needle deep into your skin. Next, squeeze the sides of the pimple to expel the puss and debris. Stop when clear liquid comes out. Finish up by applying some benzoyl peroxide. NEVER pop deep, painful lesions. Deep cystic acne needs to be treated by a dermatologist.
5. Stress Causes Acne
This one is partly true and partly untrue. Having a bad day won’t make your acne worse. However, there is a link between stress hormones (like glucocorticoids) and acne. The link isn’t well understood, but chronic stress, illness, and lack of sleep all increase glucocorticoids levels. High glucocorticoid levels can lead to changes in skin structure that worsen acne. So, while stress doesn’t cause acne, it can make existing acne worse if the stress lasts for a long time.
6. Washing Clears Acne
How dirty your face is has little to do with whether you experience acne or not, though it can affect severity. Acne actually starts at the bottom of pores and not as a result of dirt entering from the top. It isn’t clear what insult initiates acne, but it is known that genetics play a role. Washing your face to remove oil, debris, and dead skin is a good idea, but you need to do it gently to avoid causing irritation. Irritation, or inflammation, definitely makes acne worse. Whether washing helps or not comes down to whether it reduces inflammation or increases it. Wash gently and it should help.
More: 10 Foods to Eat Every Day for Perfect Skin
7. Drinking Water Clears Acne
Water can help you stay hydrated and improve blood flow to your skin, which may reduce inflammation a bit, but does not clear acne. Stay hydrated to improve your overall health.
8. Sunscreens Cause Acne
Sunscreen won’t cause acne, but oily sunscreens can worsen it. Of course, a sunburn can also worsen acne and, since it carries the risk of skin cancer, it is better to avoid burns even if sunscreen does make acne marginally worse. Some sunscreens are better for one type of skin compared to another, so try several to see which works for you. To help you out, remember that there are two types of sunscreen, physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens contain titanium oxide and zinc oxide, which can worsen acne, whereas chemical sunscreens do not.
9. Acne Is Just Cosmetic
Severe acne can cause serious problems with self-esteem and even lead to depression. Additionally, cystic acne can leave permanent scars or lead to skin infections. Fortunately, treatments are improving and dermatologists who specialize in acne can make a huge difference for most patients. If acne is affecting how you feel about yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified dermatologist.
Read more – 7 Wholesome Foods That Cause Acne
As we learn more about the causes of acne, myths slowly fall to the wayside. Unfortunately, we still have a lot to learn and so many myths still prevail. Be careful when experimenting with advice about treating acne. Check with your doctor before trying anything you aren’t sure about.