Acne Myths

  • Myth:

    Acne is curable.

    Reality:

    There is no cure for acne. However, through the consistent use of treatment and remedies acne can be controlled or prevented.

  • Myth:

    Acne is caused by poor hygiene.

    Reality:

    If you believe this myth, and wash your skin hard and frequently, you can actually make your acne worse. Acne is not caused by dirt or surface skin oils. Although excess oils, dead skin and a day's accumulation of dust on the skin looks unsightly, they should not be removed by hand scrubbing. Vigorous washing and scrubbing will actually irritate the skin and make acne worse. The best approach to hygiene and acne: Gently wash your face twice a day with a mild soap, pat dry--and use an appropriate acne treatment for the acne.

  • Myth:

    Acne is just a cosmetic disease.

    Reality:

    Yes, acne does affect the way people look and is not otherwise a serious threat to a person’s physical health. However, acne can result in permanent physical scars--plus, acne itself as well as its scars can affect the way people feel about themselves to the point of affecting their lives.

  • Myth:

    You just have to let acne run its course.

    Reality:

    The truth is, acne can be cleared up. If the acne products you have tried haven’t worked, consider seeing a dermatologist. With the products available today, there is no reason why someone has to endure acne or get acne scars.

  • Myth:

    Washing your face more often will help clear up acne

    Reality:

    Facial blemishes are not caused by dirt. Contrary to what you may have seen in commercials, pores do not get blocked from the top down due to "impurities". Rather, the walls of a pore stick together within the skin, starting acne formation. Far from preventing acne, frequent washing may actually irritate pores and cause them to become clogged. A washcloth can add even more irritation. The best bet is to wash very gently with bare hands, and only wash twice a day.

  • Myth:

    Stress causes acne

    Reality:

    Stress may have an effect on hormones and theoretically can promote acne. However, an effective acne treatment regimen is more powerful than a bout of stress any day. Some psychiatric medications may have acne as a side effect, but stress itself is no big deal. Your time is better spent determining the right course of acne treatment rather than feeling guilt about stress.

  • Myth:

    Masturbation or sex causes acne

    Reality:

    This antiquated notion, originating as early as the 17th century to dissuade young people from having premarital sex, is just plain wrong. Don't believe the hype.

  • Myth:

    The sun will help get rid of acne

    Reality:

    The sun may work in the short-term to hasten the clearing of existing acne while reddening your skin, thus blending your skin tone with red acne marks. However, a sun burn is actually skin damage. Sun exposure causes irritation which can make acne worse. People will often notice their skin breaking out as it heals from sun damage. The sun is a short-term band-aid which will often bite back with more acne in the weeks following exposure. Having said that, I don't want to give the impression that the sun is evil. It is not. We get our vitamin D from the sun for instance. Limiting sun exposure on acne prone areas of your body is most likely prudent, but some exposure from time to time is not only unavoidable, but is perfectly okay.

  • Myth:

    Diet and acne are related

    Reality:

    The bottom line is we need more research. We do know that people in some indigenous societies do not experience acne whatsoever across the entire population. This is in stark contrast to the widespread presence of acne throughout all modern society. It leaves us to ponder the question of whether the indigenous people's diet contributes to their acne-free skin. Discovering a dietary way of preventing acne may be a future reality, however, we may live so differently from our hunter/gatherer ancestors that it has become close to impossible to replicate our ancestral diet. But, let's see if we can work together to come to some concensus from our own experiences.

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