Acne is a widespread skin condition but is also not very well understood. Because of this, there are lots of myths surrounding acne. If you try a skin regime based on these myths, you may find that you just end up irritating it or making your skin worse.
Here are ten myths about acne that we think you should know.
Myth 1: Acne is caused by a bad diet
There has been no evidence so far that a bad diet is responsible for causing acne. However it is also important to bear in mind that eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is definitely beneficial for your general physical health.
Myth 2: Acne is caused by bad hygiene / not washing often enough
The processes that cause acne occur beneath the surface of the skin, so it’s not accurate to say that it is caused by bad hygiene.
Having said that, it’s also important to remove your makeup at the end of the day (if you wear it), and use a mild cleanser and warm water to wash your face.
Bear in mind that washing your face more frequently than twice a day can actually just irritate your skin and existing acne.
Myth 3: Acne is infectious
Acne is caused by hair follicles becoming blocked by dead skin cells and an oily substance called sebum that is produced by glands in the skin.
Bacteria that usually live harmlessly on the skin start to act differently because of the excess sebum and end up infecting the blocked hair follicles, causing acne.
Because it is caused by processes happening under the surface of your skin, acne can’t be spread from one person to another.
Myth 4: Acne is only a problem for teenagers
It’s true that many teenagers suffer from acne. In fact around 80% of people aged between 11 and 30 experience it.
However it is something that can also be an issue in adulthood, and about 5% of women and 1% of men over the age of 25 suffer from acne.
Myth 5: Blackheads are dirty pores
Although the colour of blackheads might make you think they are made up of dirt, they aren’t. They are actually hair follicles blocked with a combination of excess sebum and dead skin cells, and absolutely no dirt. The colour comes from the pigmentation in the lining of the hair follicle.
Myth 6: Moisturisers will make your acne worse
This one has a little bit of truth to it, but only in certain cases. Moisturising won’t make your acne worse and is beneficial to your skin, but only if you use the correct moisturiser for your skin type.
If your skin doesn’t receive enough moisture, it can over-produce oil and sebum which will make your acne worse. A dermatologist can tell you more if you’re unsure what your skin type is.
Myth 7: The sun / sunbeds will improve acne
There’s no firm evidence that exposure to the sun or using sunbeds is any good for acne prone skin.
Certain acne medications can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Because of this, you should be extra careful when going out in the sun so as not to cause damage to your skin or increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Myth 8: Toothpaste and other home remedies will dry up a spot
Home remedies can just inflame acne and irritate your skin. There’s no conclusive evidence that toothpaste can dry up a spot and you may end up aggravating your acne or causing a rash.
Instead you should try using a medication designed specifically for treating acne.
Myth 9: Sexual activity can affect acne
This is completely untrue! Having sex and masturbating have absolutely no effect on acne.
Myth 10: Squeezing spots will make them go quicker
Squeezing spots might feel satisfying, but it can mean that they take longer overall to heal and disappear. It can also damage the skin and lead to permanent scarring if you do it repeatedly.