5 Myths Busted - About Acne by David Pollock, Global Safe Beauty Expert
It’s me, detective David, at it yet again. This time I am busting some of the myths about acne. I have a lot to say in this 2 part series, so let’s just get right down to shining the light of truth (and science!) on some of the most commonly, and wrongly, held beliefs about acne.
1. Acne is a teenage problem, it will go away once puberty is over: All I can say about this one is a resounding “OH, I WISH”. No, acne is not a problem that just poofs itself away after your awkward teenaged phase is over. As many as half of all adults suffer from acne.
2. One pimple is the same as any other: Once again, nope! Acne is a condition that can be caused by any number of things. One of the most common culprits with adult acne is skin irritation caused by makeup and skincare products. Yes, you read that right - the products you use to clear your skin, may actually be what is causing your outbreaks! Even your makeup remover can be working against you, as many of them are based on harsh ingredients that irritate the skin or can even clog pores. Hormones can also cause your skin to overreact. This means women who are pregnant, going through menopause, eating hormone heavy foods (like many dairy products) or other dietary issues, and on birth control or other medications are all prone to outbreaks. Some people may suffer from a condition called cystic acne where the breakouts happen in deeper tissues and can become large patches of red inflamed skin measuring several centimeters across; sufferers may also develop cysts (fluid filled sacs) under their skin. This type of acne can be quite painful. Stress may cause your oil glands to go a little bit nuts and cue the breakouts. Finally we have sweat and dirt as one of the usual suspects. Those of you who work more physically demanding jobs, workout often, etc. may find that you breakout in areas where you sweat a lot or where the sweat pools. This may lead to acne, back-cne, bust-cne, butt-cne and pretty mush any other “-cne” you can think of. All of these types of acne should be treated in different ways.
3. Blackheads are dirt trapped in your pores: Not exactly. Blackheads are actually oil and dead skin cells trapped in your pores. Once the pore is clogged and the duct is blocked the dead cells begin to fester with bacteria (sorry, science can be gross) and turn dark brown to black once they are exposed to air.
4. Blackheads are step 1 in your breakouts: This one actually has some truth to it. Most “regular” breakouts do indeed begin with blackheads. Once the wonderfully delicious sounding process from #3 is complete a blackhead may turn into a red pimple if it is left untreated. That happens when a blackhead becomes inflamed and will spread across the face or body if they are touched or picked at with dirty hands or tools. If a red pimple becomes infected it will develop a pustule and become a whitehead. Whiteheads are the types of pimples that can leave scars and pits in the skin when they are broken.
5. “Don’t eat that chocolate! It will make you break out!”: Not exactly (I hear a sigh of relief from the audience) chocolate doesn’t cause acne – but the sugar in the chocolate bars can create havoc. Also, studies have shown that dairy products can cause already-existing acne to flare up. This myth may have come from the basic idea that unhealthy imbalanced diets can lead to skin problems, which is true. If you are going to indulge in chocolate, I suggest dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and looking for candy bars made with Stevia or other sugar alternatives.
Now you know the truth about 5 very common acne myths. To learn more about adult acne, checkout the segment from my radio show – ‘Beauty Inside Out’ with my guest Dr. Sellman – and stay tuned for part 2 of my acne myth-busting series, where we will do a bit more busting and talk about treatment.