Acne Facts and Myths – You’ll be surprised!


The “one million dollar” question is, how much do you know about acne facts and myth?

In this day and age, people are quick to give their perceived opinion of what they think is the cause of a problem. Are they are always correct? It’s always best to fact check, else you’ll find yourself believing what they say. This often comes with consequences as you start to implement the wrong strategies to solve the problem

Take it with pinch of salt! That’s my “one million dollar” advise when it comes to what people have to say about your acne. This leads us to why we have to look into acne facts and myths. So verifying the facts are pretty essential

This article will help you understand what the general misconceptions and the facts about acne are.

Let start with the myth


I have heard people often say that acne is caused by poor hygiene. But, is this true? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Researched articles generally don’t support this claim. As a matter of fact, it’s been busted by many researched articles that acne is not caused by poor hygiene.

So washing or scrubbing your face excessively will not cure your acne. On the contrary, excessive scrubbing or washing can aggravate it.

However, the importance of having a good hygiene as part of your daily routine is encouraged. This is where your choice of gentle wash, nonirritating body/face wash and moisturizers count

Benefits of good hygiene may include (but not limited to) the following;

  • Improving your body image,
  • Prevents embarrassment you’ll to face from your peers and great for your general well being.
  • Prevent social stigma, especially from body odor
  • Good for our psychological and emotional health
  • Prevents infection and the spread of germs

Just a Teenage disease?

The answer is a big NO.

This is perhaps one of the most misconstrued aspects of acne. For the record, acne is not just a teenage disease. It can persist into adulthood – this is when you begin to deal with adult acne and it could be related to multiple factors in both male and female.

Just to note though that some people may experience improvement in their acne as they grow older but it doesn’t go away on its own.

The idea that acne is just a teenage disease and will end when you’re past that stage is DANGEROUS. This is why so many teenagers resign to their fate and fail to seek appropriate treatment or even adhere to the treatment they have been given. They just feel that when they grow out of teenage hood, their acne will resolve on its own.

The problems associated with this myth are;

  • Permanent scarring – due to untreated acne
  • Failure to adhere to treatment provided
  • Failure to seek treatment
  • Frustration – feeling of “well, after all I can’t do anything about it because I’m still a teenager”.
  • Low self-esteem among teenagers
  • Feeling of being embarrassed among their peers
  • Isolation
  • And the list GOES ON.

Food You Eat?

Is acne caused by the food you eat? Nope! It’s not caused by what you eat – surprise! surprise!!

This is another popular misconception about acne. We’ve previous covered the causes of acne and foods that can help clear acne. That being said, eating junk foods, fast food, burgers etc. will not cause acne.

So what role does food play. It’s been well researched that generally foods rich certain vitamins (such as A and E), minerals (such as Zinc), polyunsaturated fatty acid (such as linoleic acid), as well as foods with low glycemic index(GI)/low glycemic load(GL) can help in the treatment of acne. This is where paying attention to your diet is important, but, again, it’s not a cause of acne.

For pregnant women, vitamin A and its derivatives can be teratogenic – meaning can cause birth defects especially if you are consuming large amount of vitamin A. So consult with your nutritionist or doctor for dietary counseling regarding this if you are pregnant.

While change in dietary lifestyle is important in the treatment of acne, it’s always advisable to consult with your doctor and nutritionist for a treatment plan that’s tailored to your need, routine, skin type, tolerance and so on, especially if you have severe acne.

Although not considered a cause of acne, milk is also another food item that can aggravate your acne due to the presence of IGF-1. However, the benefits of milk are numerous and a plant based option such as soy milk could be and option for you. Your doctor or nutritionists can provide further tips on this.

Importance of eating healthy and Low GI/GL food include;

  • Reduction in lesion count
  • Weight management
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Reduces your risk of food related diseases such as T2DM, hypertension, some cancers, stroke etc.

Sexual Activity?

There’s no evidence supporting the idea that acne is caused by having too little or too much sex or masturbating.

The only evidence available is that increased production of male androgenic hormones (i.e testosterone) plays a role in the pathogenesis of acne.

For females who become sexually active and start taking birth control pills, reduction can be seen in their acne because birth control pills help to reduce androgen metabolism and sebum production.

For people with PCOS who are treated with birth control pills, similar reduction can be seen.

However, the myth that your sexual activity can cause or worsen your acne is busted!

Factual Statements About Acne

Having busted the common myths about acne, let’s consider the FACTS.

It’s a YES to the following questions;

  1. Can squeezing your pimples/acne aggravate them? YES, it does – that’s why you should stop this habit. Certain face masks can help to lower your tendency to do so
  2. Can acne occur during pregnancy? YES, it does. Females experience hormonal changes (i.e. increase in androgenic hormone) that can lead to acne during the first and second trimester of pregnancy. This may reduce or resolve during your third trimester of your pregnancy – consultation with your doctor for treatment option is advised
  3. Is acne hereditary? YES, if a member of your family has acne, it’s likely you are prone to it as well. This is why it’s important to have a good skin care routine and lifestyle from an early age to avoid or minimize acne
  4. Does sunlight make acne worse? YES, it does. UV ray can aggravate your acne. This is where a good, suitable sun screen can help, Also important if you are using certain topical formulations – as they could make you more susceptible to UV ray.
  5. Does oil-based foundation for make-up make acne worse? YES, it does. You should go for silicon-based foundation instead of oil, As for make-up generally, always choose a non-comedogenic option.
  6. Does stress cause or worsen acne? The answer is YES. Stress can cause breakout or worsen your acne – as you experience hormonal changes when you are stressed.

I hope this article was useful and has helped to clarify misconceptions about acne


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