7 acne myths debunked
#1 Acne is a reflection of diet and poor hygiene
False - Acne is largely considered to be a genetic disorder says dermatologist Dr Yiasemides. “While many studies have looked at lifestyle and diet, there is no study that has conclusively found a link between these and acne development.” Dr Catherine Stone of The Face Place also warns that over washing can actually further aggravate the condition, stripping necessary oils which are then overcompensated for by the glands. “It has not been shown to improve acne and may actually exacerbate it by disrupting the protective layer of sebum and skin cells,” she cautions.
#2 Breakouts can be attributed to stress
True – The stress hormone cortisol causes the skin to produce excess oils, often triggering a breakout or exasperating existing acne. “Research has shown that adult acne is more prevalent in women who work in high pressure, professional roles,” says Dr Yiasemides, who also observes a significant improvement in skin once the stress has defused. While occasional acute stress can bring on the odd breakout, it’s important to monitor continual stress as this can lead to a hormone imbalance that will likely show in your skin.
#3 Smoking shows in your skin
True – Skin is very sensitive to nicotine. It increases sebum retention within the follicles, forming comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
#4 Acne gets worse when your period is due
True – If blemishes are popping up at the same time each month, it’s probably not a coincidence – “About 70 per cent of women complain of flare ups before their periods,” says Dr Yiasemides. They usually emerge seven to 10 days prior to your period due to a sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone levels.
#5 Make-up can cause or fuel existing acne
True – While make-up won’t onset acne it can definitely further irritate it. “Sweat proof, smudge proof and long wearing make-up is best avoided as it can contain plastics, which block your skin and cause breakouts,” explains Caroline Parker, head of education for Dermalogica New Zealand. “It’s best to use a mineral make-up that will not block or congest your skin,” she adds. Parker also strongly advises double cleansing – the process of cleansing your face twice in the evening in order to thoroughly rid your skin of daily build-up and ensure maximum absorption of serums and moisturisers.
#6 Toothpaste clears up pimples
False - While it may seem like a good idea as an emergency spot fix, toothpaste contains harsh ingredients like baking soda, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and methanol. These dry out the skin and are likely to cause irritation and inflammation, particularly to acne sufferers who have sensitive skin.
#7 Don’t moisturise it will make it worse
False - Skipping moisturiser will cause your skin to overcompensate with more oil. In fact, if you’re neglecting moisturisers completely it could be the reason for your breakouts. If your skin is on the oily side, look for an oil-free gel formula.