85% of people have battled acne in their life. As such a frustrating and pervasive disease, many myths have circulated about how acne is caused and how it can be treated.
June is Acne Awareness Month, so here we’ll be breaking down some of these myths.
Myth #1: Acne is just cosmetic
Acne can leave permanent scarring on the face or other affected areas – it’s not just cosmetic. Some acne can lead to staph infections which can be incredibly dangerous if not treated. Many acne-sufferers are prescribed Accutane (isotretinoin) which in and of itself has many dangerous side effects. Not to mention the psychological impact of acne – self-esteem can be affected so intensely that it can cause long-term mental health issues.
Myth #2: You’re just not washing your face enough
Acne starts deep within the pore, long before you can see it on the surface of the skin. Washing or scrubbing the skin will not prevent breakouts. In fact, scrubbing and over-washing can cause additional irritation and inflammation and cause acne flare ups to be worse.
Myth #3: You have acne because of poor hygiene and dirt
As mentioned above, acne starts deep within the poor, months before it surfaces. Dead skin cells build up faster than your skin can handle, which causes a “microcomedone” (the beginning of a breakout) to form inside the pore. Dirt, surface oil, or any other factor of “poor hygiene” has nothing to do with causing acne. Managing acne starts with the right products targeted to penetrate the pore to prevent acne from forming.
Myth #4: Don’t worry about acne, you’ll grow out of it
Some people grow out of their acne, it’s true. More often, it is something that comes and goes during your life, and having the tools to manage it are considerably more helpful than just hoping it will go away. In addition to the obvious problems with having acne, like low self-esteem, there is a risk of permanent disfiguring scarring – it’s not worth that risk! Working with an acne expert can take the guesswork out of a stressful condition, and give you the tools to manage and treat your acne.
Myth #5: Acne is caused by greasy foods and sugar
While there are foods that can trigger acne flare ups and make acne worse, no food truly causes acne. Acne is a dysfunction of the pore, not of your diet!
Myth #6: Acne can be cured
There is no cure for acne. It is truly incurable – however, acne can be treated. As mentioned above, many people will grow out of acne at some point in their life, but it is entirely unpredictable and the negative impacts of acne can ravage your skin and your esteem while awaiting the day it “magically” disappears. Treating acne with the right products targeted for your specific needs is the best way to attain clear, manageable skin. Working with your acne expert can get you to this point in as little as 3-4 months.
Bonus myth: Accutane will cure your acne for good
While Accutane (Isotretinoin) can be an effective treatment for some acne-prone people, it is not a cure-all. Many patients who use Accutane have to take it several times, and many still have acne return in their lives. It also has a significant amount of dangerous side effects that should be carefully considered before signing the required paperwork to accept the prescription.
Myth #7: Just spot treat with toothpaste
This is an old wives’ tale through and through! Older formulations of certain types of toothpaste would dry out an acne lesion, and give the user some semblance of relief. But here’s the deal! Modern toothpaste usually has pore-clogging ingredients in it, so slathering that on a breakout will only make it worse. Spot treating is not the way to treat acne, but it can offer some relief, when using the right product (allow me to recommend the Sulfur Spot Treatment for optimal results).
Myth #8: Spot treat with benzoyl peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is an awesome preventative for acne. Its interaction with the skin creates oxygen, which kills the anaerobic c. acnes bacteria that leads to inflamed acne. But don’t go dabbing this into your spots and hoping for a miracle – spot treating only treats visible acne on the surface of the skin. For best results, always area treat (so apply a thin even layer on your entire face, or back, or chest, wherever you’re experiencing acne breakouts). Area treating with benxoyl peroxide will help prevent acne from forming in the first place, and that’s a big win!
Myth #9: If a product stings, that means it’s working
Stinging products means irritated skin, which leads to worse acne. Our goal is to customize a routine of the strongest products your skin can handle, without causing any stinging! With the right protocol for your skin, you and your acne specialist can get your acne under control.
Myth #10: Skipping moisturizer is good for acne-prone skin
Many people with acne-prone skin think that avoiding moisturizer will help their breakouts go away. However, if you are drying your skin out too much, it will cause additional irritation and will lead to more oil production and more acne flare-ups. When choosing a moisturizer, select one without any pore-clogging ingredients and you’ll already be on the right track. Make sure you’re also applying an SPF of at least 30 every morning that is also free of pore-clogging ingredients to protect your skin!