Acne is an extremely common concern, so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of anecdotal tales floating around about how it can be combated. These acne myths can run the gamut from beliefs about who actually gets acne to how breakouts are triggered to the best way to make a pimple go away. Unfortunately, following the wrong advice can either delay the achievement of clear skin or otherwise interfere with or even sabotage skincare efforts. Hopefully, this quick guide can help dispel some of the more persistent myths about acne.
Myth #1: Washing Your Face Often Prevents Breakouts
By “often” this myth means “several times a day.” The root of this belief is in the idea that dirt, oils, and poor hygiene in general play a role in the formation of a pimple. This particular myth sticks around because it is actually partially true. Washing your face to remove dead skin, dirt, and excess oils can help manage acne but only up to a point. The benefits quickly plateau, and repeated washings end up becoming problematic and will dry out and irritate the skin instead. Washing in the morning and at night with a mild soap or cleanser, followed by a pat dry, is enough to get maximum benefit.
Myth #2: Popping Can Be Good
Popping a pimple, in theory, can let you force out the pus or debris and promote drainage. It also feels extremely satisfying. However, popping is best avoided for several reasons:
• You can push infected material and debris further into the follicle, making it harder to eliminate
• You can rupture the follicle wall and cause the irritation/inflammation to spread and the blemish to end up worsening or scarring
• The additional irritation of popping can lead to a nodule or cyst forming
• Popping can cause bacteria from your hands to get introduced to the pimple
Myth #3: Adults Don’t Get Acne Breakouts
Persistent acne is often considered the primary domain of teenagers. While adults can get the odd pimple, they are not subject to chronic acne problems, so the assumption goes. Although teenagers are more likely to experience chronic acne, they are far from the only ones who can suffer the condition.
Acne breakouts are tied to hormonal imbalances and surges, such as those that come with puberty. However, these are far from the only periods where such hormonal disruptions can occur. Pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, male menopause (it is a thing), certain health conditions, and even environmental exposures can all promote acne breakouts in adults.
Myth #4: Acne Is Just Cosmetic
Acne ranks low on the list of serious conditions, but that doesn’t mean it can be dismissed as a mere cosmetic problem. Chronic, persistent acne can cause significant self-esteem issues and interfere with quality of life and emotional well-being. Pimples can scar and lead to disfiguring marks. In rare cases, staph infections can even arise. Just because acne doesn’t justify an emergency room visit doesn’t mean it can be ignored as “just cosmetic.”
Myth #5: Avoid Moisturizers
This one is another case of a nugget of truth getting taken in the wrong direction. Most moisturizers on the market do contain ingredients that can clog pores and promote acne. However, most acne-fighting products are inherently dehydrating. This means that acne treatments will usually end up drying out your skin, so you need to find a way to keep moisturized without making your acne worse. Here are some ideas:
• Use noncomedogenic moisturizers (it means “non-pore-clogging”)
• Moisturize ahead of using your acne treatment of choice
• Start slowly to let your skin get used to the product
• Moisturizers can block benzoyl peroxide from penetrating the pore, so don’t use one on top of the other
Myth #6: Diet Has Nothing to Do with Acne
Today’s researchers have discovered a link between diet and the onset of acne. People who eat more sugary foods, dairy products, unhealthy fats, and less fish, tend to have moderate to severe acne. Contrary to the myth, you really are what you eat. At a skincare clinic, you can get effective treatment for stubborn acne scars, even if your diet isn’t perfect.
Myth #7: Only Teens Have Problems with Acne
Another acne myth is that once your teenage years are over you will be free of acne for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people from their mid-20s to late 40s still have acne, and the surge of hormones you experience as a teen is still to blame. For women, estrogen levels increase at your first period and pre-menopause. This hormone can cause an increase in oil production in your skin, which can ultimately lead to bacterial inflammation and pimples. These hormone changes make it common for women to experience acne flare-ups later in life. The good news is that you can get laser acne treatment for acne scars in Toronto, and get rid of those stubborn acne scars for good.
Myth #8: Make Up Make Acne Worse
While it is true that some makeup products clog your pores and can cause pimples, there are new makeup formulas that can actually improve acne. You can use powder-based mineral foundations that contain ingredients like titanium dioxide, silica, and zinc oxide. These foundations actually absorb oil that would normally clog your pores. If you do choose a liquid foundation for fuller coverage, make sure that it is non-comedogenic. Of course, you should be removing your makeup before you go to bed every night, so that you do not increase the bacteria levels on your skin.
Myth #9: Chocolates Are Your Enemy
Despite the connection between diet and acne, you can still enjoy some chocolate. It is true that any food with a high glycemic index can increase the blood cortisol levels and make acne worse, but the problem is not with the cocoa itself, it’s the sugar and dairy that’s added. If you struggle with acne, you can still enjoy dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher. The higher the percentage of cocoa in your chocolates, the lower the glycemic index and the lower the chance it will affect your acne flare-ups.
Myth #10: Acne Is Caused by Unclean Skin
It would be great if the only reason for acne was dirty skin. At the end of the day, you could just wash your pimples away and the dirt that made them. Unfortunately, this is another myth. If you wash your skin too much, you can actually strip your skin of its natural oils. When your skin is dehydrated, it overcompensates by producing more oil, which clogs your pores and makes your breakouts worse. You can avoid this by washing with a gentle cleanser at night, following with a cream that has retinol. In the daytime, be sure to use a lightweight moisturizer that contains sun protection.
At the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic, we pride ourselves on using the latest clinical methods to give clients the beauty they deserve. We support our clients being able to make the right, informed decisions about how to pursue laser acne treatments and we strive to provide the best practitioners in Toronto. Feel free to contact us by phone at 416.546.4664 or by e-mail at info@AntiAgingToronto.ca to ask any questions. Our skincare specialists can also offer you a tour of our Toronto facilities.