Acne Facts & Myths
When it comes to treating acne, there are a lot of myths with very few facts. Patient education is imperative when it comes to treating acne, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Without the proper treatment, acne may become worse, which can lead to scarring and skin discoloration.
A common misconception is that scrubbing will really cleanse your skin and eliminate acne. This couldn't be further from the truth. The American Academy of Family Physicians states that scrubbing only irritates your skin, which can cause or produce more acne. Excessive washing also causes skin irritation, which again, leads to more acne. The AAFP also states that poor hygiene does not cause acne.
Acne Cleanser Types
Not all cleansers are the same. The truth is that different cleansers use different active ingredients. Active ingredients can include benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, azelaic acid, sulfur or salicylic acid. Each active ingredient treats acne in different ways. As an example, salicylic acid breaks down whiteheads and blackheads, whereas alpha hydroxy acids work by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of new skin, which is especially helpful in reducing the appearance of acne scars.
The AAFP states that sometimes hormones do play a role in acne, but this is not true for all hormones. Fluctuating hormones can cause acne, especially during puberty when androgens spike and around a woman's menstrual cycle. Stress, however, does not cause acne. The AAFP claims that acne may cause stress in an individual, but stress itself does not cause acne. Women can experience acne around the time of menopause. Acne tends to cease once androgens have reverted back to their normal levels, after puberty.
Diet and acne have no relationship, according to the AAFP. There is no scientific link between pizza, french fries or chocolate and acne. While there is no link between diet and acne, it is still important to maintain a healthy diet for your overall health and well-being. MyFDA.org recommends drinking 64 oz. of water each day to help flush toxins out of your system. According to MyFDA.org, exercise promotes sweat and toxins are released from the body through your sweat, which is also beneficial to help clear and prevent acne. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you shower after your exercise routine to remove dirt, excess oil and other harmful bacteria that may cause acne.
You may have heard to avoid toners and astringents due to the risk of dry skin they may cause. This is not true. According to the AAFP, these products are OK to use as long as they do not contain alcohol. It is the alcohol that causes dry skin, not the toner or astringent. You may have also heard that you should avoid moisturizers, as they may clog pores. This is also not true. The Mayo Clinic advises wearing moisturizers that are oil-free, noncomedogenic or water-based to prevent your pores from becoming clogged.
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