Top Acne Myths

Acne VulgarisWhen it comes to acne, there’s a world of information out there that doesn’t square with the truth. That’s likely not shocking because most acne sufferers are intensely engaged with the condition and have tried everything to treat it. Many believe common myths about acne and repeat them to others, perpetuating the myths and misinformation. Here are a few examples of “common wisdom” that many share about acne.

Because I love it, my personal favorite has to do with chocolate – as in, eat chocolate, get acne. The truth is that no foods have been scientifically proven to cause acne, and there is no research anywhere that links chocolate to outbreaks. Let’s give chocolate a break!

So if it’s not chocolate, how about sugar? Doesn’t sugary soda prompt acne outbreaks? Sounds plausible, but there’s no research that confirms the link. That doesn’t mean cutting back on sugar and soda isn’t a great idea, though, just on general principle. Ditch the sodas and drink plenty of fresh water instead – and watch your skin glow. 

Another common belief is that if you have acne you can’t ever use anything but oil-free products on your skin. In fact, there’s really no need to limit your choices so strictly. You may prefer “sensitive skin products” that contain a very small amount of oil – these products do not contain enough oil or the kind of oil to clog pores or trigger acne.

Acne is a result of poor hygiene is another common myth. What’s sad about this belief is that it drives many acne-prone individuals to actually overscrub their skin – which irritates it and spurs oil production, making acne worse! Practicing good hygiene may help prevent acne (clean skin is less prone to outbreaks), but once erupted, acne cannot be scrubbed away. It’s best to wash very gently only twice a day and apply appropriate treatments.

And this myth gets the top prize: acne is merely a cosmetic condition that will run its course. Don’t believe this for a minute. Because acne is so visible and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, it is far more than a “cosmetic condition.” Treat acne promptly and never stop. Untreated, acne can leave noticeable scars including pitting, perhaps requiring cosmetic treatments like peels or dermabrasion. So don’t think it will “run its course” and be over. Deal with it now!

Living with acne is difficult enough, and such misinformation only makes it harder. Learning more about the condition and effective treatment is the only sure-fire way to bust those myths. A bit of chocolate, anyone?

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Published on 03/19/2009 | Last updated on 12/20/2016