Acne, the bane of many – a skin condition which affects 80% of teenagers at some point and indeed, adults too – often well into their 30s and 40s. There are plenty of products available over-the counter, and GP prescribed medicines – so the prognosis is good. There are solutions, with the right care and advice. Clinically proven products include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinols, antibiotics and blue light, the latter of which targets and destroys acne causing bacteria.
A good place to start, are myths – to make sure you’re doing the right thing, and equally important – not the wrong thing. To assist, we enlisted the help of Dr Johanna Ward; an award winning Cosmetic Doctor and GP with a special interest in dermatology and advanced aesthetics. Below you will find her Top 10 Acne Myths.
1. Acne is related to poor diet
Acne is actually caused by an excess of androgen hormones (male hormones) and is not thought to be due to poor diet or excess fats and oils in the diet. However, there are some recent clinical studies that suggest that there might be a link between acne and high dairy intake and diets with a high glycaemic load. (high carbs, high sugars) A well balanced and nutritionally healthy diet will generally help prevent acne and keep the skin in good health.
2. Acne is just a normal part of being a teenager
Acne is the commonest skin disorder and affects 80% of teenagers at some point. This doesn’t mean however that it is normal or that it should be ignored. Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous unit that can cause secondary scarring if left alone or ignored. It is extremely important to get help for your acne at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid the risk of secondary scarring. There are many safe and effective treatments for acne.
3. Acne is due to poor skin hygiene
Acne is not due to poor skincare or hygiene. It is due to an imbalance of hormones. A good daily skincare routine will help you control your acne. A regime that involves daily gentle cleansing and some salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide products will help keep pores clear and free of blockages.
4. Sunbeds help clear acne
There is no indication for the use of sunbeds in the treatment of acne. Sunbeds have many harmful UVA and UVB rays and should not be used for acne. Blue light however is very helpful for acne and has been used for many years in dermatology to help treat and manage it. Blue light kills the bacteria that causes acne (Propionibacterium Acnes) and helps reduce localised skin inflammation. There is blue light in sunlight which is why the skin may improve in the summer months.
5. Moisturisers can make you break out
Moisturisers can make you break out if they are heavy and oily. However the skin needs daily hydration so its important not to avoid hydrators completely. The best moisturisers are those that are water based and oil free or have the words ‘non-comedogenic’ as these are designed especially for skin types that are susceptible to outbreaks. These kinds of oil free moisturisers can be used happily with acne and won’t make you prone to outbreaks.
6. Toothpaste can cure acne
There are many safe and effective treatments for acne but toothepaste isn’t one of them. The best topical treatments are products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and retinols. These are all excellent at helping to control acne with relatively few side effects.
7. Regular scrubbing of the face will prevent acne
Scrubbing the face can make things worse for acne as the skin can easily scar. Bursting pimples can cause a lot of localised swelling and can also cause scarring. Cleaning the face regularly but without excessive scrubbing will help to keep acne under control.
8. Make up is bad for acne
Some make ups can definitely aggravate acne but nowadays we have mastered the technology of mineral and breathable makeup so make up can be worn without clogging up the skin and making acne worse. Look for a mineral, oil free. or ‘non comedogenic’ make up, preferably with an SPF and you should be fine. Remember also to clean make up brushes as they can hold on to oil and bacteria.
9. Blackheads are full of dirt
Blackheads are not full of dirt but are simply blocked pores with oxidised sebum and skin debris in them.
10. Acne is just seen in teenagers
Acne for some people lasts well into their 30’s and 40’s. In fact some people never get acne until they reach adulthood. There are many great treatments that can help control and manage acne for all age groups.