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Top Ten Acne Myths (Acne)
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Top Ten Acne Myths

Richard Thomas, MD

Acne is an extremely common skin condition, and the majority of people experience acne at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths regarding acne, creating a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about the skin condition. Here are the top ten acne myths, debunked.

10. Acne only affects men

While androgen is closely related to androgen levels, thus being most common in teenage boys, acne can affect women as well. Hormonal therapy can be beneficial in the treatment of acne for women. 

9. Sunlight will improve acne

Exposure to the sun can help dry out existing pimples, but have no effect in preventing new pimples from forming. In fact, many acne medications such as retinoids, or tetracycline can make the skin extra sensitive to the sun, causing serious sunburns. Additionally, sun exposure can further complicate acne for people with certain skin types. It is recommended that a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher be applied when exposed to the sun, for proper skin protection.

8. Acne is caused or worsened by stress

Acne is not caused by stress, but by overactive sebaceous glands, and pore blockage. However, certain drugs used to treat severe stress may contain substances that cause acne as a side-effect. A doctor should be consulted if acne development follows a new prescription for stress or depression.

7. Cosmetics shouldn’t be used for acne prone skin

It is true that certain creams, oils, or greases can aggravate acne, many products including foundations, moisturizers, and sunscreens do not affect acne. These products are labelled non-comedogenic, and do not lead to the development of acne. For more information about these products, visit cosmetics and acne.

6. Acne is caused by dirty skin

Acne is often mistakenly associated with dirty skin because blackheads often look like dirty skin, but in reality, is melanin, the pigment responsible for providing your skin color. Oil glands, which affect acne are far below the surface of the skin, and are not affected by scrubbing. Excessive cleansing and scrubbing should be avoided as it can dry and irritate skin further, increasing inflammation. A gentle wash twice a day with mild soap and a pat dry are recommended for washing. can provide you with helpful tips.

5. Acne is a teenage problem

Acne can affect anyone at any age. Approximately a quarter of people between the ages of 25 and 44 have acne, and even babies can get acne. Certain medications, pregnancy, and hormonal issues related to the menstrual cycle can contribute to acne in adults.

4. Squeezing pimples will remove the problem quickly

Picking or squeezing pimples can damage the cells beneath the skin, and cause the pimple to become inflamed, possible leaving a permanent scar. It is better to allow the pimples to heal on their own.

3. Sexual activity causes acne

This myth is long standing, and is common in all cultures, but has no basis in reality. Acne is associated with hormonal changes, and excess androgen, and are therefore most commonly seen during puberty. However, sexual activity itself has nothing to do with the development of acne.

2. There are no cures for acne

This is perhaps the most unfortunate myth. Although most cases of acne leave on their own over time, if left untreated, they may develop permanent scars, which could have been prevented. There are many effective acne treatment options that are available. Consult your doctor for what works best for you.

1. Eating chocolate causes acne

While greasy or high calorie foods like French fries or chocolate are commonly associated with acne, there have been no associations between food and acne throughout various research studies. A well balanced diet is always recommended.


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