10 Acne Myths: What Does Or Doesn't Cause Acne?

By Ernani Berces Jr. May 7th 2016

Acne is a common condition that most people experience at least once throughout their lifetime. Over the years, there has been an abundance of information and beliefs on the causes of acne and what to do to get rid of it. But before you divulge yourself into figuring out which one is accurate, it is best to try and get a better understanding of some of the popular acne myths. Here are 10 acne myths for you to look out for:

1. Your Diet Causes Acne

Not true. This is one of the most popular myths out there because it has never been scientifically proven. While certain foods have been held responsible for causing acne, such as chocolate and French fries, there has never been sufficient evidence to support this theory. According to studies, it actually takes two to three weeks for a pimple to emerge on the surface of your skin. Therefore, if a pimple suddenly appears after you eat a chocolate bar, there is no relation! Further research still needs to be done to provide actual scientific evidence that will prove a direct connection between your diet and acne. Until then, go ahead and enjoy a little self-indulging chocolate every once in a while.

2. Washing Your Face More Often Helps Prevent Acne

If it was that easy, then you wouldn't be reading this. Over washing your face can actually dry out and irritate your skin even more, which worsens your acne and triggers future breakouts. When pimples are formed, your hormones and genetics work together to cause dead skin cells and your body's natural oils to mix, causing pores to be clogged. This means that pimples and zits are caused within your skin, not on the surface by dirt and other impurities. The best way to avoid this problem is by gently washing your face twice a day in warm water with a mild cleanser.

3. The Use Of Makeup Causes Acne

Using makeup can cause acne, but it can also be easily avoided. Some ingredients in makeup products are comedogenic, which is well known for clogging pores. It is best to choose products that contain non-comedogenic ingredients and are labeled "oil free" and "hypoallergenic." Other makeup products that contain salicylic acid (acne fighting ingredient used in most acne products) may also benefit you. Most importantly, it is critical that you completely remove your makeup before exercise and before you go to bed.

4. Stress Causes Acne

Stress doesn't necessarily cause acne, but it does release a hormone called cortisol, which activates the sebaceous glands leading to the production of more oil. However, increase in oil does not always lead to pimples and zits; you can also get boils or just have oilier skin. In this case, the only way to help this problem is by relaxing and looking for ways to relieve stress.

5. Popping Pimples And Zits Makes Acne Go Away Faster

Popping pimples and zits only serves as a temporary solution to make acne's appearance less noticeable. But what you're actually doing is pushing the bacteria inside of a pimple or zit further into your skin, causing the acne to stay longer. Deep scarring and permanent craters may also form as a result of this method. A better solution is to apply a cream medicated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help dry it. Consult a physician before applying any of these creams.

6. The Sun Will Help Your Acne

Although the sun can provide a short term fix to hide the appearance of acne, it still does not cure acne at all. All the sun really does is provide a camouflage that blends your skin tone with acne marks. Too much exposure to the sun not only causes irritation and dryness, but also makes you more prone to developing skin cancer, sunburns and premature aging. Make sure to use oil-free sunscreen (non-comedogenic) to help protect your skin.

7. Acne Is Only For Teenagers

While acne is definitely more common amongst teenagers, studies show about 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men experience some form of acne throughout their adult lives, with some lasting for over 15 years. It is safe to say that acne not only starts during your teenage years, but can also flare up anytime during adulthood.

8. Sex Causes Acne

The truth is, the sex hormone called androgens (sex hormone produced during puberty) has been linked to cases of acne. However, while this and other types of hormones initiate a stronger sex drive, there has been no concrete evidence that sexual activity and masturbation aggravate acne in anyway.

9. Acne is "Just Acne"

Although acne is a common skin condition, it can have serious consequences when it comes to self-esteem. Some people with acne are known to suffer from social, emotional and physical trauma, with some that go into depression. It's best not treat acne lightly and to seek treatment early. There are over-the-counter acne solutions that can treat mild to moderate cases, and for severe acne, a dermatologist may be able to help.

10. Acne Can Be Cured

Because Acne is a combination of genetic factors and hormones, it can never be completely cured. Even using the best acne medicines and cleansers won't get the job done. However, acne can be controlled with daily skincare maintenance and proven acne medications.

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