There’s a ton of misinformation about acne, its causes, and how to care for it. We’re here to set the record straight on these common acne misconceptions.
“I have acne because I am dirty.”
No. You are not dirty. You are human. Open and closed comedones (“blackheads” and “whiteheads”) papules and pustules (“pimples) develop from a buildup of sebum (oil), dead skin cells, and bacteria. Pus forms when a “pimple” is ready to be extracted. Pus is a mixture of dead skin and white blood cells. The pus is important, because the white blood cells are being sent to the site of inflammation. This is all part of your biology, not a sign that you are dirty.
“Chocolate is making me breakout.”
This one is a little trickier. Although food has not been shown to cause acne, diet can affect the quality of oil produced in the sebaceous glands. That piece of chocolate will not cause you to break out in the morning, but over time, a poor diet can cause a thickening of the oil in the skin, cause skin to become dehydrated, and contribute to potential clogging of the hair follicles, papules, and pustules.
“I can’t moisturize because I have acne.”
Repeat after us: Oilly/Acneic skin needs moisture, too. Make this your new mantra. When skin gets dehydrated, a whole host of acne-loving conditions can arise. Dead, dehydrated skin cells can clog hair follicles where oil is used to flowing freely. When the oil has nowhere to go, it becomes hardened, stagnant, and often a papule will form. A proper oil and water balance on the skin helps protect the acid mantle as well—the protective barrier on the epidermis that helps guard against acne-forming bacteria. Keep your skin hydrated by using a lightweight, water-based moisturizer day and night.
“The only way to get rid of acne is through an antibiotic.”
While there is a time and place for antibiotics, we strongly recommend seeing an esthetician before beginning a regimen of invasive, potentially side-affect causing drugs. Very deep, cystic acne can benefit greatly from a course of antibiotics. However, people with mild to mid-grade acne breakouts can achieve excellent results with a series of deep- cleaning facial treatments and proper home care. Consult with an esthetician first to see if your condition can be treated before beginning an antibiotic.
“Only teenagers get acne.”
If only this were true. Many adults who spent their teenage years with healthy, clear skin, are often surprised to see breakouts in their late 20s, 30s, 40s and on. What causes this later-in-life acne? Stress hormones. When we experience heightened levels of stress—anything from pressure at work, raising children, or caring for aging family members—our bodies produce excess amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone, which in turn increases oil production. Taking time to care for your skin and yourself (might we suggest regular massages!) can reduce your overall all stress.