Acne, most commonly called Acne Vulgaris, is a common skin condition that affects most individuals. Acne commonly occurs during puberty or teenage, when the sebaceous glands (the oil-secreting glands of your body) become over-activated. This causes plugging of hair follicles (tunnel-shaped structure on the outer layer of the skin from which the hair starts growing) with oil and dead skin cells, leading to the formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of pimples on the body. 

Acne is primarily a hormonal condition, caused by the rise in the male or ‘androgenic’ hormone, testosterone. While acne can occur almost anywhere on your skin, the most common sites are the face, back, shoulder, neck, chest, and upper arms.

We are surrounded by so many myths about acne these days that make it hard to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Read on to find actual facts about acne myths that are preventing you from getting healthy, glowing skin.

Fun Facts About Acne

  • Acne is a skin condition including the oil glands at the base of hair follicles.

  • It affects 3 out of 4 individuals between the age of 11 to 30 years.

  • Acne is not life-threatening; however, it can leave scars.

  • Treatment relies upon how severe and persistent your acne is. 

Risk Factors

  • Genetics (hereditary)

  • Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Just before your period starts, estrogen and progesterone (female sex hormones) levels drop. This can trigger your sebaceous glands (oil glands) to secrete more sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your skin. Too much of sebum can result in clogged pores and acne. 

  • Anxiety and stress

  • A hot and humid climate. Sweat evaporates more slowly because of the humidity levels in the air, and sebaceous glands work overtime due to the heat. This combination leads to acne. 

  • Using oil-based cosmetics

  • Squeezing pimples

Let us Bust Some Common Acne Myths!

Myth 1: Don't eat greasy food and chocolate, because you'll break out.

Fact: This is probably the biggest misconception about acne. Junk food won't cause you to break out. However, if you want to cut back on these foods for other health reasons, go for it!

Myth 2: You should scrub your face hard because dirty skin causes acne.

Fact: We all should practice good hand and face hygiene. You should wash your face at least twice a day. Washing your face a lot and scrubbing it too hard won't clear up your acne; instead, it could aggravate the skin and make it worse.

Myth 3: You have to let acne run its course.

Fact: No way! Acne is a treatable condition. No need to wait for acne to clear up on its own. The longer you wait, the more likely your chances are of permanent scarring.

Myth 4: Makeup won't make your zits worse.

Fact: Wrong. Makeup contains oils and other ingredients that can worsen your acne. If you choose to wear makeup, choose products labeled non-comedogenic (a product containing ingredients that won't clog or block the pores on your skin) and oil-free.

Myth 5: Sun tanning reduces acne.

Fact: While a suntan can temporarily dry up some of the oil, the drying factor could actually encourage the skin to produce more oil, thus, causing more acne. Besides, over-exposure to the sun will cause wrinkles, age spots, blotchy spots, and sagging of your skin sooner than usual.

Myth 6: Cleanse your blood for an acne-free face.

Fact: Acne is caused due to excessive sebum i.e., oil secretion. It's not the blood but the oil glands which when gets blocked and infected, causes a pimple to pop out. 

Myth 7: Acne scars are not treatable.

Fact: Several surgical and non-surgical are options available nowadays that can reduce acne scarring considerably, when done by an experienced professional.

Myth 8: Acne occurs only on the face.

Fact: Acne can occur anywhere above the waistline- scalp, back, chest, shoulders, and also inside your ears. Acne can occur anywhere on your body. 

Myth 9: Only teenagers get acne!

Fact: People of all ages and races get acne. 30% of adults get acne. Although 85% of teens get some form of acne they are not the only ones who suffer from it. 

Myth 10: It is ok to pop your pimples safely.

Fact: This is never a good idea. Squeezing your pimples triggers inflammatory responses, introducing more bacteria to your acne. It may also result in permanent acne scars (changes in the texture of the skin and impressions that occur on the skin as a result of severe acne).

Self-care Tips For Acne

  • Try not to pick or squeeze the spots as this usually aggravates and causes acne scars. Taking action against acne is important to avoid permanent scarring and reduce embarrassment.

  • Use your severe acne treatment cream or gels for at least 2 months and use it properly to get maximum benefits.

  • Use makeup that is oil-free or water-based. Choose the product labeled as non-comedogenic (should not cause whiteheads or blackheads) or non-acnegenic (should not cause acne), after consultation with your dermatologist.

  • Cleanse your skin daily with a mild soap/cleanser and water.

  • Remove make-up with a mild soap or gentle cleanser and water, or an oil-free soap substitute.

It's never too late to visit a dermatologist to cure your acne and acne scarring. Don't let others decide the fate of your face.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.