Acne is one of the most common skin conditions characterized by red pimples on the face and you’ve likely heard plenty of stories about common zits causing reasons. However, a lot of them are just myths. Today, we’re myth-busting 7 of the most common myths about acne you shouldn’t believe.
1. Eating greasy food will give you acne
Generally, this is not true, though some foods can play a role in zits. However, it’s not the “greasy” film on foods like pizza that popular myths claim cause acne, but instead their inflammatory elements. Foods with a high glycemic index can aggravate acne because of their effects on our endocrine system and hormones—as well as the hormones in the fat component of dairy products, including chocolate.
2. Popping pimples isn’t so bad
In general, this is a horrible idea. The trauma caused by popping a pimple can introduce more bacteria into the lesion and increase inflammation—which will make the zit worse and more likely to leave a dark mark as it heals. The occasional instance when popping a pimple may yield good results is: if it has come to a head and is very ready to pop and that the underlying clogged pore isn’t inflamed, painful, or red.
3. Pimples are a teenager problem
When and how severely a person will get acne is very much genetically determined. While there are many who only experience acne during teenage years, there are tons of people who get adult acne, too. In fact, The International Dermal Institute puts the number at between 40 to 55 percent of adults aged 20 to 40.
4. The sun will clear up your zits
There’s no truth to the idea that the sun clears up acne. It decreases the immune system in our skin, which is generally not a good thing since that immunity is needed to prevent infections and skin cancers. Plus, we know that too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles and pigmentation issues. However, when there’s a skin issue present like eczema or psoriasis, the sun can decrease related inflammation and therefore temporarily improve the condition.
5. Acne gets worse before it gets better
Have you ever been told by someone that a new skin-care regimen that’s intended to clear up your acne will actually make it look worse before it clears up? Overall this isn’t true, though some people may experience the phenomenon in certain prescription products—say, for instance, retinoids and Accutane.
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6. You need to wash your face more often
Unfortunately, soaping up more frequently won’t cure your acne. The causes of acne are multifactorial, the major players being hormones, stress, and genes—and you can’t change any of those by washing your face. Bacteria can play a role, as can heavy pore-clogging skin products that may exacerbate acne. Face washing can be helpful to decrease these factors, but it’s usually not the only issue at play.
7. Blackheads are dirt stuck in pores
When sebum and skin cells build up in your follicles, you can get a blackhead or whitehead. Blackheads are open, which leads to the oxidization of the plugged materials and the black color. When the pore is closed—preventing oxygen from reacting to what’s inside—you instead get whiteheads. Blackheads have nothing to do with dirt, though.