Myths vs Facts about Acne
The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) estimates that close to 85% of us will suffer from an acne breakout at some point in our lives.. This kind of prevalence can only mean one thing - plenty of myths and misconceptions revolving around acne, what causes it and the supposed remedies of dealing with it. Speaking of which, the contest between myths vs facts about acne has been around for eons now. The advent of modern science, despite shining a crucial light on the subject, has contributed to the flaring up of even more myths about acne to the point that it is almost impossible to tell between what has a scientific bearing and what is just mere hearsay. Having said that, here's a collection of fast facts about acne vis-a-vis myths about acne causes that you're likely to come across. Let's debunk them, shall we?
Only Teenagers Get Acne
One of the common myths about acne is centered on the misguided belief that only teenagers deal with breakouts. Nothing, nonetheless, could be further from the truth. Here is the thing; even though acne and hormonal-related skin problems are more prevalent in teenagers, any person (regardless of ethnicity, age or gender) can get acne. If anything, it is estimated that close to 25% of men and around 50% of women have to contend with breakouts per year.
The only reason acne seems to be rife among middle school and highschool attenders can be traced back to the fact that androgens (hormones associated with sexual maturation) are typically berserk among this subset of the population. Going by biology, these androgens have a bearing on our oil-producing glands and, considering that the acne-causing bacteria p.acnes thrives on sebum, it is easy to draw a correlation between adolescence and the frequency of breakouts.
That being said, it does not mean that acne is a preserve for teenagers only. When the conditions are just right for acne-causing bacteria to thrive, anybody can develop pimples regardless of their age.
Acne is Caused by Genetics
In the realm of myths vs facts about acne, nothing seems to be more ingrained in us than this. There are people who have literally given up on the quest to have flawless skin after believing that they are genetically pre-destined to always have pimples. And you will be surprised to know how common this defeatist mindset has lately become.
The fact is that while genetics have some influence on the frequency and susceptibility of developing pimples, there's so much that you can do to control how prone you are to breakouts. One of the easiest lifestyle changes that you can implement is aiming to stay hydrated, eating healthy and balanced meals and avoiding being chronically stressed. Adhering to a detailed face cleansing regimen and making sure that your beddings/furniture are constantly fumigated and sanitized are also ways that you could use to keep acne-triggering pathogens.
Tweaking your diet to avoid the increased sebum production or hormonal imbalances that are associated with frequent breakouts is also a recommended way of controlling the frequency of pimples.
Acne is Caused by Dirt or Grease and a Consequence of Poor Facial Hygiene
One of the common myths about acne causes seems to be predicated on the fact that poor hygiene is the only reason why people get breakouts. This, however, is not the whole story. Acne, like most common topical problems, starts from deep in the skin and takes a while to form. Bear in mind that whiteheads and blackheads tend to occur when the glands that are located below the skin's exterior surface start to secrete too much oil that the pores become clogged with a combination of dead skin cells, bacteria and grime. As you can see, grime i.e dirt is just one of the factors (which is not even necessary) that precipitate breakouts. This, therefore, debunks the simplistic assumption that acne is simply the result of accumulation of grease that has not been washed off.
If anything, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that appears to suggest that excessive scrubbing and washing of the skin can trigger nasty breakouts. This should be cautionary tale for most people who tend to think that cleansing the skin several times a day with using harsh cleaning agents, scrubs, toners or exfoliating agents is the ideal way of dealing with acne. Quite the opposite, washing and cleaning your face too often robs the skin of its natural oils that protects its from dryness and environmental aggressors. In a bid to make up for it, your sebaceous glands begin overproducing sebum that potentially predisposes you to even more pimples.
The best and the only proven way of stopping the progression of acne at its tracks is by tackling the root problem - clearing breakouts starting from the inside out. And what's a better way to do it than by investing in skin-healing pills that infuse a range of natural acne-fighters into your system to target zits from within. Not only does this lessen the frequency of breakouts but also detoxifies your system and helps heal old acne scars.
To get rid of Pimples Faster, You Need to Squeeze Them Out
Nothing can be more counterproductive than this. Squeezing pimples is detrimental to your complexion for more reasons than one.
For starters, popping your zits only pushes the bacteria deeper into your skin. This makes it harder for the natural healing properties of the skin to repair the damage sustained which then causes swelling, redness and a vicious cycle of inflammation.
Secondly, as tempting as it is squeezing the pimples you risk spreading the acne-causing pathogens to other undamaged parts of your face. This is why a second pimple almost always appears next to one that has been repeatedly squeezed.
Thirdly, and most importantly, it is only obvious that picking and squeezing a pimple leaves behind a wound or scab. Picking a papule, for instance, tends to make it swollen and redder than it actually is. Do this regularly enough and you will manage to turn it into a nodule( a red, hard and painful blemish located deep within the skin.) Moreover, if the squeezing and pressing of pimples does not result in depressed scars, you can be sure that dark marks will surely follow after the pimple eventually heals. These dark marks are what dermatologists refer to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and charge an arm and a leg to get rid of.
So, what's the solution? Instead of squeezing and popping your pimples, the best approach would be employing an OTC acne spot treatment to dry it out and kickstart the healing process. And if scars follow in the aftermath of the breakout, then using a suitable acne scar remover to fade the blemishes could help restore your complexion to its previous flawlessness.
Vitamins Do Not Affect Skin Condition
Yet another misleading misconception that attempts to absolve people from their poor eating habits. On the contrary, ensuring that you are getting ample vitamins is one of the best ways of combating the following imperfections from the inside out.
- Rough patches
- Excessive dryness
- Dark spots
More broadly, vitamins are needed to oversee the following important pointers involved in promoting proper skin health.
1. Activate a Series of Internal Metabolic Processes
Vitamins such as Tocopherol and Vitamin K are essential in promoting a number of internal metabolic processes whose culmination is often smoother skin, faded scars and quick healing of bruises. A good example of this is the rapid healing of wounds that vitamin K is thought to be responsible for, which is believed to help with spider veins, dark spots, stretch marks, circles under the eyes and acne scars.
In addition to this, vitamins such as ascorbic are known potent antioxidants which play a critical role in protecting your complexion against sun damage and a slew of other environmental aggressors. If anything, it has been repeatedly shown that taking vitamin C orally can give a lending hand to the effectiveness of sunscreens and lotions applied to shield your precious skin from the sun's harsh UV rays. This is possible due to its unmatched ability to speed up healing and lessen cellular damage if it occurs.
2. Participate in the Production of Collagen
Vitamins, especially vitamin E and C, play an undeniably important role in the synthesis of collagen and elastin. These are two protein molecules responsible for giving your skin both volume and structure. High levels of collagen are also associated with smoother skin, fewer wrinkles, less visible age-related damage and, generally, more youthful-looking and plump skin.
3. Bolsters the Protective Functions of your Skin
Your skin is the first line of defence against physical, chemical and biological aggressors. The physical and biological integrity of the skin dictates how well your internal organs are shielded from potential damage. Vitamins strengthen the protective function of the skin by protecting it from damage by UV rays, also known as photoprotection. By lessening damage instigated by UV rays, vitamins can stave off wrinkles, dark spots and the premature aging of the skin.
Besides, nutrients like vitamin E aids in the synthesis and production of sebum, the oily-like substance that is secreted via the skin pores. In the right concentration, consistency and balance, sebum prevents dryness and keeps the skin conditioned enough to resist easy bruising.
High GI Foods are the Reason for your Frequent Breakouts
It was not so long ago that researchers used to believe that one's diet has a significant bearing on the flawlessness of their skin. The culprit, in this case, was foods that are considered to have a high glycemic index such as chips, white potatoes, white bread, chocolate and refined carbohydrates. Nonetheless, this is one of those myths about acne that can be quite misleading as it borders the realm of science and dietary nutrition. Following the postulation that high glycemic index can cause acne, further indepth research only showed a correlation between the two but not a direct cause-and-effect association. There's a lot of inconsistencies in the findings to the point where researchers cannot overtly conclude that eating high glycemic index foods causes breakouts
So, what does this mean? It implies that tweaking your diet to exclude high GI foods is not a dependable anti-acne remedy. Granted, there are many health benefits of shunning foods with a glycemic load but having pimple-free skin is not one of them. In short, it pays if you invest your time and money crafting a proven anti-acne routine rather than putting all your effort in avoiding high glycemic load foods with the hope that you will be rewarded with an excellent complexion.
Toothpaste Can Help Clear Acne and Pimples
This is one of the myths about acne which was quite ubiquitous in the 90s and early 2000s. It got so bad that people would abscond professional acne treatment for home remedies that involve smearing toothpaste on blemishes and blackheads. Nonetheless, this is not just counterproductive but also potentially harmful as well. The thing is that household solvents and toothpaste are just not formulated to be applied in the skin. At no point during the production, packaging or formulation process did the manufacturer factor in that the product may end up on your skin.
Intrinsically, it means that there is a possibility of further worsening your pimples by applying household bleach or toothpaste on it. Opt for a proven acne spot treatment that employs salicylic acid instead. Your complexion will thank you in the future.
Acne only Affects those with Oily Skin
The myth that acne is only a preserve for people with extremely oily skin seems to originate from the mistaken presumption that only people with naturally oily faces have sensitive complexions. The myth was also further perpetuated by the belief that acne-causing bacteria can only thrive in oily skin. The truth, however, is that you can still have acne episodes regardless of your skin type, whether combination or dry. The only difference is that your acne treatment approach will be different compared to those with oily skin. Patients with combination or dry skin, for example, may want to steer clear of skincare products that contain ingredients that could further dry out their skin such as benzoyl peroxide. Instead, they may want to look for products with active ingredients that are a bit easier on their sebum producing glands such as salicylic acid.