Popular acne myths : Acne Treatment Guide

There are a number of myths which currently surround acne that have sprung up over the years. This is mainly due to the fact that acne is a very common condition which affects a great many people. As a result of this sufferers tend to discuss their condition with others which is where these misunderstandings occur.

You have probably heard this saying:

“Eating too many chips or greasy food will give you acne”

That is one of the most common if not the most common acne myth. Many people wrongly assume that chips, chocolate or other fast foods cause acne but there is no scientific evidence to show this.

So, diet does not cause acne but you may find that there are certain types of foods, e.g. shellfish which can worsen your acne. It is a good idea to try and identify these foods and eliminate them from your diet.

So what are the other acne myths?

Here is a ‘top ten’ list of the most popular myths about acne:

1. Myth: a diet high in greasy or fatty foods causes acne.

Truth: there is no conclusive link between greasy foods and acne. But it is still a good idea to limit your intake of these types of foods to reduce the risk of heart disease and other similar conditions.

2. Myth: poor skin hygiene causes acne. Truth: wrong. Many people assume that no looking after your skin properly means that you will develop acne. But there is no evidence to support this. Blackheads and other forms of acne are caused by excess oil production and dead skin cells, not dirty skin.

However much you clean your skin, if you have a pre-disposition towards acne then you will develop this. We would suggest that you avoid excessive washing of your face if you already have acne as this can remove essential oils from your skin.

3. Myth: stress causes acne.

Truth: stress does not cause acne but it can worsen existing cases of acne. So if you have acne and are experiencing a period of stress then you may find that this aggravates your acne.

Teenagers may find that stressful situations such as exams cause their acne to worsen.

Reducing stress levels will ease this problem.

4. Myth: wearing make-up causes acne. Truth: make up does not cause acne and you can still continue to wear it even if you already have acne. But it is a good idea to wash your hands every time you apply it and remember to remove it before you go to bed.

5. Myth: acne is contagious.

Truth: incorrect. Acne is not an infectious disease but is a complex condition which involves hormones, excess sebum from the sebaceous glands, bacteria and dead skin cells. It cannot be passed from one person to another.

6. Myth: oily skin causes acne.

Truth: an oily skin is nor more likely to result in acne than a dry or normal skin. An oily skin does not cause acne; it is caused by an over-production of oil known as sebum from sebaceous glands under your skin. This oil combines with dead skin cells and bacteria on the skin surface and become inflamed, leading to an outbreak of acne.

Find out more about this in our about acne section.

If you have acne and an oily skin then this oiliness is a symptom of your acne and not a cause.

7. Myth: having a tan will cure acne.

Truth: having a tan may help to disguise the signs of acne albeit with a red appearance. But this can be a double edged sword in that it may aggravate it!

Too much sun either by sunbathing or using a sunbed can damage the skin leading to premature ageing and even skin cancer. It may seem to be an ideal solution but it is a temporary one that carries with a degree of risk.

8. Myth: drinking plenty of water will cure acne.

Truth: drinking lots of water is good for your hydration levels and may give your skin a healthy glow but it does not get rid of acne.

9. Myth: acne affects more girls than boys.

Truth: Acne affects boys more than girls, due to the hormone testosterone. Girls have a very small amount of this hormone but it occurs in far higher levels in boys.

10. Myth: squeezing spots or pimples will get rid of acne.

Truth: in fact, squeezing acne spots can make it worse by spreading the outbreak or in some case can lead to scarring.

Avoid the temptation to pick or squeeze your acne and use an acne product on your skin.

There are probably other acne myths that we have not included but these are the most common ones. As usual it is a case of separating fact from fiction.

These acne myths refer to facial acne but acne can develop in other areas of the body. Find out more in our body acne section.

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