5 Adult Acne Myths that You Need to Know About

5 Adult Acne Myths that You Need to Know About

Acne is something no adult wants to deal with. For reasons that are still being researched, people are struggling with acne well into there 40's and beyond. Acne can take a toll on us emotionally and physically, affecting so many different areas of our lives. Because of this, some people are desperate for any product or any information that can help them eliminate the problem quickly.

The difficulty with this approach is that there is a disappointing amount of myths and misinformation about the subject available online. AcnEase users come to us with a multitude of questions about these myths, so in the spirit of setting the record straight, here is a look at five adult acne myths that don't withstand scrutiny.

Acne is a teenage problem.

The biggest myth about adult acne is that it doesn't exist! When we hear terms like "pimples," "zits," and "blackheads" it conjures up images of angsty and awkward teenagers. However, acne can strike at any age. It's true that people going through puberty are predisposed to developing acne because of the hormonal changes they're going through, but it's important to note that these changes can occur at any stage of life.

When it comes to breakouts, androgen is the principal hormone to blame. While many people associate it with masculinity (since testosterone is a form of androgen), women produce this substance as well, albeit in smaller quantities. When the amount of androgen in the bloodstream increases relative to other hormones, this can send signals to your skin's sebaceous glands to produce more skin oil, known also as sebum. This excess sebum begins to clog your pores and creates an environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive.

Acne is caused by junk food.

For years, researchers have attempted to examine the link between a person's diet and their risk of acne. On the one hand, there is some evidence that what you eat can affect your breakouts. For example, milk and other dairy products may negatively affect levels of hormones your body naturally produces. Additionally, there is evidence that excess sugar consumption can lead to skin inflammation-which shrinks your skin's pores and makes them more susceptible to clogging.

That being said, the link between diet acne is not always that straightforward. If you have a slice of pizza and a bowl of ice cream for dinner one night and wake up with a new pimple the next morning, chances are your unhealthy meal isn't to blame. To understand how food affects acne, you have to look at the long-term-what you put into your body on a regular, extended basis. One moment of dietary weakness is not going to throw your skin's health into chaos. There are many foods that are known to help keep your body and skin healthy - but they will only assist, not be the driving force behind, truly treating acne.

Sunscreen can actually cause acne.

This is one myth that is one part truth, one part fiction. It's true, choosing the wrong sunscreen can actually make your problems worse. However, there are numerous products that shouldn't cause your breakouts to become more severe. It's all about avoiding the wrong ones.

While the "wrong" sunscreen may vary from person to person, most adults find that their acne troubles increase when using chemical sunscreens. As the name implies, chemical sunscreens use chemicals to literally absorb the sun's UV rays. Sometimes the substances found in these products can irritate and inflame the skin, and as was already mentioned, inflammation shrinks pores and increases their risk for clogging.

On the other hand, physical sunscreens use substances to actually reflect the sun's rays so that they cannot penetrate your skin. While it's possible for some people to experience an allergic reaction to these products, the risk of skin irritation is much lower.

Unfortunately, most companies don't market their sunscreens as either chemical or physical. Instead, you'll need to take a look at the ingredients list. If you see things like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, chances are you've found a physical sunscreen. Conversely, chemical sunscreen ingredient lists will be much longer and contain substances like:

  • Para aminobenzoic acid
  • Octyl salicylate
  • Avobenzone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Padimate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Trolamine salicyclate
  • Octocrylene

Makeup is a no-go if you have acne. Some wear it every day, and some wear none at all. Unfortunately, some people with acne believe that it's off-limits to them because it can clog their pores. As with sunscreen, this is a myth that's actually partly true.

Heavy, chemical-laden cosmetic products will definitely cause problems for your pores. You can reduce its effects by thoroughly washing it off at night, but that won't reverse the damage done during the day. However, there are lighter and more natural alternatives you can turn to. When choosing acne-friendly makeup, always look for products labelled as "non-comedogenic." This means that they have been specially designed to not clog your pores.

Conversely, avoid products that contain the following ingredients, as they most likely will make your acne problems worse:

  • Cocoa Butter
  • Octyl Palmitate
  • Isostearic Acid
  • Myreth 3 Myristate
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Lanolin Acid
  • Oleic Acid
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Squalene
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Acetylated Lanolin
  • Oleyl Alcohol

Keep in mind, that even if you're using non-comedogenic products, you still need to give your pores some time to breathe. Avoid wearing makeup when it's unnecessary (i.e. at home), and always thoroughly wash and cleanse your skin after use.

Stress is a main cause of adult acne.

Let's face it-life can be real tough at times. There is a lot of debate about the link between stress and acne, but the fact of the matter is, it's not likely that your stress is the primary cause.

Sure, there is evidence showing that breakouts can worsen during trying times. However, it's not entirely known why this is. One hypothesis is that people neglect self-care during stressful events. If you've got a million other things to worry about, taking care of your skin is likely to be cast aside. While this proves that there may be a link between the two, the primary cause of breakouts is not stress-instead, stress merely exacerbates a problem that was already there.

That being said, cutting out unnecessary stress from your life is always a good thing (easier said than done at times, we know). While it may not eliminate your acne entirely, you could see some improvements.

With a promise of clear skin,
Dr. A

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