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Acne Myths and Facts

Busting Common Acne Misconceptions

Acne is a skin condition caused by 3 components within the skin – the oil-producing sebaceous glands, hair follicles, and dead skin cells. 

  1. The glands are responsible for producing oil, lubrication, and protection.  
  2. The hair follicles, some fine and some coarse, protrude out to the surface of the skin. 
  3. Also, the skin constantly repairs itself by producing new cells and losing old cells.  

Acne is when the hair follicles get blocked with excessive oil and dead cells, leading to the formation of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and even pus-filled red bumps (infected).  

It is a very common condition in the growing years, especially if one has oily skin, affecting almost 80% of the population during the teenage years and up to 90% of people across all age groups. It is also a chronic condition which at least runs its course for a few years before disappearing.

Myths related to acne

With teenage years being a very crucial period when people get very conscious about their looks, acne is a major concern. Severe acne can be very distressing. The variety of acne care products out in the market is proof of how desperate people are to get rid of acne.  However, there are many myths about acne. Some of them are:

  1. Acne is age-related:  Though teenagers do experience slightly more acne, it can occur at any age.  Even people in their 50s (both men and women) can have severe acne. 
  2. Acne is not caused by stress: This is a vicious cycle. People get worried about their looks with acne. Consequently, they get stressed, making it worse.  Therefore, stress per se does not cause acne but getting stuck in this cycle does.
  3. Food correlation to acne: A young boy or girl with acne is likely to get multiple advice about avoiding chocolate, oily foods, caffeine, etc., to control acne. Studies have proven that there is no definite correlation between oil consumption and acne. The use of topical oil products and greasy creams on the skin, however, can make it worse as the oil or grease comes in direct contact with the skin.
  4. Acne is contagious:  While some people believe that touching another person’s skin can spread the acne, it is not true. Acne bacteria do not spread from one person to another, like other bacterial infections. It is, however, advisable to not share towels or soaps with someone who has acne for hygiene reasons.
  5. People with acne should not use makeup: Acne does not get worse by wearing makeup. However, it is important to choose products wisely and avoid making the skin greasier and oilier which can definitely worsen the condition.
  6. The best treatment is just to wait for it to heal: This is not true. It is important to seek proper treatment if you have acne, especially if they are not healing, because only your dermatologist or doctor can give you the right prescription.
  7. Get rid of the acne by squeezing it: It is not a good idea to squeeze or pop the acne because it may leave a scar on your skin, making the situation worse.
  8. Toothpaste can clean the skin: Although toothpaste is made up of a few components which can have a drying effect on your acne, it is still not recommended. This is because it can cause irritation and allergy on the skin. Therefore, it is vital to visit a doctor to get the right treatment.

Treatment for acne

  1. Acne treatment ranges from hygiene habits like regular washing of face to keep the skin oil-free.
  2. Anti-acne creams and lotions that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide and retinoids are widely available and used.
  3. The first one acts as a cleanser and the second compound reduces inflammation and attacks bacteria-causing bacteria.  
  4. In more severe cases, if infected, antibiotics may be required.

  The exact treatment approach, however, would depend on the skin type and severity of the condition.

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