You may think you know all about acne but there are a lot of myths about what causes acne and how to treat it. This page looks at the myths and the real facts.
Myth: Chocolate and greasy foods cause acne.
Fact: Although eating too many sugary, high-fat foods is never a good idea, studies show that no specific food has been proven to cause acne.
Action: However everybody is different and some people notice their spots are worse after eating certain foods and these foods are different depending on the person. For example, some people’s spots get worse after eating chocolate, while others are fine with chocolate but notice they get spots after drinking too much coffee. If that’s the case for you, it can help to cut back on that food and see if it makes a difference.
Myth: The more you wash your face, the fewer breakouts you’ll have.
Fact: Washing your face does help to remove dirt and oil from your pores but washing too much can lead to dryness and irritation, causing more breakouts.
Action: So avoid scrubbing your face, which can irritate the skin. As a general rule, wash your face twice a day with mild soap and water in a circular motion and then gently dry your face with a towel.
Myth: Squeezing spots will help them go away faster.
Fact: Squeezing a spot may make it seem less noticeable temporarily, but squeezing can cause it to stay around longer. By squeezing spots you can actually push bacteria further into the skin, causing more swelling and redness - and sometimes causing a red or brown mark or scar to form.
Sometimes marks can last for many months and true scars (dents and pits) will last forever.
Action: Try not to squeeze a spot however tempting it is.
Myth: Don’t wear makeup if you want clear skin.
Fact: Try to choose cosmetics that are labelled “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic” they shouldn’t make your spots worse.
Action: Some concealers now contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which help to fight acne. You can also try tinted benzoyl peroxide creams that hide spots whilst helping treat them.
If any makeup or skin product irritates your skin stop using it and see your GP if the irritation carries on.
Myth: If you keep getting breakouts, it helps to use more acne medication until the breakouts stop.
Fact: Because acne medication contains drying agents like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, using too much medication may cause overdrying, leading to irritation and more blemishes.
Action: Make sure you read the instructions on tile acne treatment package.
Myth: Tanning clears up skin.
Fact: There is no link between a suntan and spots going away. A tan may hide the spots for a short time but the sun can make the skin dry and irritated, leading to more breakouts in the future.
Remember though the sun’s rays can cause skin cancer and early aging of your skin.
Action: Always protect your skin by choosing a sunscreen with at least an SPF (sun protection factor) 15 that says noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic on the label, which means it won’t clog pores.