Increasingly, more and more people are facing myths about acne – a skin ailment which occurs when pores are plugged or blocked by dead skin cells. The plugs blocking the pores can be seen on the skin as small spots referred to as blackheads and whiteheads.
While acne is more pronounced on your face, it also occurs on your neck, shoulders, chest and back. Effective treatments for acne exist, but the condition can be dogged and take several months and even years to heal completely.
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Acne, especially when severe, can be distressful to the patient as bumps and pimples heal slowly. Even more annoying is the fact that when one pimple or bump goes away, others start to appear.
False beliefs and myths about acne
- There is a widely held belief that acne is caused by stress. This is untrue.
- It is not correct to say that taking lots of water cures acne.
- Most people dismiss acne as a simple skin condition. Acne is, however, a complex combination of changing hormones, overgrowth of typically harmless bacteria, sebum, and inflammation. Acne is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through touching.
- Poor hygiene does not cause acne. Indeed, too much washing is likely to worsen the condition.
- While some people believe that sunbathing helps clear acne, there’s no evidence to support such claims.
- There’s also the belief among some people that there’s no effective medical treatment for acne. This is wrong. There are effective medical treatments that work well when used properly.
What (not) to do when you have acne
- Do not attempt to clean off blackheads. Skin pigmentation handles the black tip(s) of blackheads and it is not caused by dirt as some people tend to believe. As such, the black tips cannot be gotten rid off by scrubbing or washing.
- Do not wash too much. Bathing two times a day is the norm for most persons. Use lukewarm water and mild soap. Note: using very cold or hot water is likely to worsen the condition. Also, don’t scrub hard when cleaning the acne-affected areas. Do not use exfoliating agents, cleansing granules, astringents or abrasive soaps. Excessive cleaning and scrubbing can cause more inflammation on your skin as well as worsen the acne.
- Using antiseptic washes can be helpful.
- Some topical preparations for acne such as creams, lotions and gels can dry your skin. If this happens to you, use water-based, fragrance-free moisturizing cream. Shun oil-rich creams or ointments because they are likely to clog the pores.
1. Acne is a different condition to spots-myth
According to dermatologists, most of their patients think that acne is different from spots. Well, they are wrong because acne and spots is the same thing. Acne is a medical term that doctors use to describe bad spots. Doctors can correct this condition through medical treatment. Patients can also use medicinal soaps, acne creams, and body gel among other products. Make sure that you consult with your dermatologist for a proper prescription.
2. Acne is for teenagers only-myth
Most people believe that acne only affects teenagers because of the adolescent stage. This is just a myth as this condition occurs during teenage as well as adult years. Adults can experience two subtypes of this condition: persistent acne as well as late-onset acne. Persistent one continues to form a teenager and refuses to disappear. Late on-set begins after the age of 25 years. It is now clear that this condition affects both adults and teenagers.
3. The main cause of this condition is dirty skin-myth
Have you ever watched a video advertisement for some soap where they claim that unclean skin causes acne? Such ads claim that if you specific soap, especially the septic ones, it clears all the dirt and cleanses the skin, thus protecting it against acne.
Keep in mind that acne develops because of a multifactorial process. The condition refers to a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. This layer consists of hair, an oil-producing gland, and a hair follicle. Hormone levels affect the size and performance of the oil-producing gland depending on what you consume among other conditions; the gland increases in size, producing more oil. This will cause ‘sticky’ trapping pores. This leads to the multiplication of P. acnes bacteria that cause spots. Poor hygiene does not cause acne. Indeed, too much washing is likely to worsen the condition.
4. Taking lots of water cures acne- myth
It is healthy to drink a lot of water to make our body hydrated. Moreover acne, prone skin needs moisturizing. Did you know that moisturizing the skin maintains its integrity of barrier function? Did you know that oily skin also needs moisturizing? This is because excess oils do not guarantee effective skin hydration. We should clean the skin at least twice a day using the right cleanser. Use a light gel to moisturize the skin that prevents the formation of blackheads. In simple words, we need to clean the skin and moisturize it, but drinking a lot of water will not cure your acne.
5. Avoid using abrasive products- myth
Most people think that if they have acne, then they should avoid using abrasive products. They think that these products may worsen their condition. No, that is not the case. Abrasive products are good, especially for oily skin as it enhances exfoliation. It removes dead skin cells from the surface, thus leading to a brighter appearance. This reduces the development of blackheads. Do this gently, though; otherwise, you might irritate the skin, making the situation worse.
6. Squeezing spots helps in clearing them-myth
Many people believe that squeezing spots and removing that oily thing inside helps to cure them. That is not true; it is not advisable to prick, scratch as well as squeeze spots. This will damage the skin, causing permanent pigmentation marks. It is only advisable to use proper spot-directed treatment directly on the affected area like the salicylic acid. If spots persist, then you should consult with a dermatologist. They will advise you on proper skin care as well as treatment.