Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world. A lot of information has been circulating on social media and the internet about it, not to mention unsolicited skincare advice given by our own mothers! Today, we’re going to debunk some common myths about acne.
Myth #1: Only teenagers get acne.
I wish. Unfortunately, it’s only a myth. Acne affects people of all ages. It generally begins during adolescence and it may or may not continue until later on in life. That being said, it’s not uncommon for people to start developing acne in their 20s, 30s, even 40s and so on. Adult acne is more commonly seen in women, and it is closely linked to the fluctuations of hormones in our body caused by menstruation, pergnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause as well as hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Myth #2: We’re getting acne because we don’t wash our face enough.
Washing our face is necessary. It gets rid of dead skin cells, sebum and other unwanted debris that can clog our pores. Ideally speaking, we need to wash our face twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. But, more than that may do more harm than good. Washing our face too many times can compromise our skin barrier and it can exacerbate inflammation on the skin and worsen acne.
Myth #3: Acne only occurs in oily skin.
Acne occurs in all skin types from dry to oily. However, it is true that oily skin is more likely to develop acne. Excess sebum production is a contributing factor in the formation of acne. However, it’s not the only one. The pathogenesis of acne is multifactorial. When dead skin cells pile up on the surface of our skin, they clog the pores. As a consequence, sebum gets trapped inside, creating an environment suitable for the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Our immune system responds to it, leading to inflammation. Hence, the formation of acne.
Myth #4: Sunscreen will only make us breakout even more.
Sunscreen is an important part of our daily skincare routine so much so that it is included in the three basic steps. That’s why we should wear sunscreen religiously. It provides protection against UV rays that may aggravate inflammation and increase sebum production, resulting in more breakouts. Also, sunscreen helps to prevent the aftermath, which is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). The key is to pick a light sunscreen that feels comfortable on our skin.
Myth #5: Stress causes acne.
This is one of those acne myths that isn’t entirely false. There hasn’t been any evidence that stress directly causes acne, however it can exacerbate it. Research shows that our brain responds to stressful stimuli by releasing hormones – cortisol and androgens – that cause sebum overproduction and inflammatory response, resulting in worsening of acne. Remember that managing our stress levels is vital, dedicate some time to practice self-care because everyone deserves it.
Myth #6: Toothpaste can heal acne.
Toothpaste can disrupt the pH balance of our skin and cause irritation, leaving us with more skin problems than acne. I bet we all agree it’s not worth the risk. Instead, opt for skincare products with acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or azelaic acid. The toothpaste rumor mill in the past might be due to triclosan in its formula that can kill acne-causing bacteria. However, the FDA banned the ingredients because it has negative effects on our body.
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