Let's look at some of the myths surrounding acne and replace them with the facts.
Myth: Any skin condition that causes pimples, blackheads, and redness is a form of acne.
Fact: There are other conditions that look like acne but aren't. Several other skin conditions look like acne. Rosacea is a hereditary skin condition that causes redness and can eventually develop tiny whiteheads and pimples if left untreated. Contact dermatitis can occur when the skin is exposed to harsh soaps or even sheets or pillowcases washed in harsh chemicals. It, too, can cause whiteheads, tiny pimples, and redness.
Myth: If I have acne, it means my skin is dirty. I should use a stronger cleanser.
Fact: Harsh cleansers and excessive washing can make acne worse. It's true that excessive oil on the skin can clog pores, but harsh cleansers and soaps will irritate the skin, making acne worse. Use a mild cleanser that doesn't dry your skin. Wash twice a day--before applying makeup in the morning and before bed. It's essential to cleanse your skin prior to going to sleep to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants. Use a makeup that is water-based and noncomedogenic (non-clogging), and avoid cold creams or lotions that leave a greasy film. See your esthetician for product recommendations customized for your skin type.
Myth: Eating chocolate and fried foods makes me break out.
Fact: A healthy diet greatly contributes to healthy skin, but eating foods, such as chocolate, doesn't by itself cause acne breakouts. Research has never been able to prove that eating specific foods--even fried foods--causes acne. However, certain foods may aggravate it. On the other hand, eating a healthy diet contributes to better skin, especially foods rich in beta-carotene, such as spinach, apricots, peaches, sweet potatoes, and carrots. These provide the raw materials for the body to produce vitamin A, which is essential for cell growth and skin health. Citrus, tomatoes, and berries contain vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps the body fight bacteria that can cause acne. A healthy diet provides the building blocks for healthier skin, but eating chocolate or sweets occasionally won't cause acne flare-ups.
Myth: Sunbathing clears acne.
Fact: While limited exposure to UV rays from the sun may help clear existing pimples, extended exposure can make acne worse. Extended sun exposure can damage skin, causing peeling and flaking, which translates into blocked pores--a primary cause of acne. In addition, sunbathing dries skin, which stimulates oil production. This excess oil combines with extra dead skin cells from sun damage, setting up the perfect environment for blocked pores and breakouts.
Myth: I'll grow out of it.
Fact: Half of all adult women and one-fourth of all adult men have some degree of acne symptoms. While it's more common in teenagers, acne is prevalent in adults as well. Some people make it through their teenage years only to develop acne later in life. The hormone changes experienced during pregnancy can cause adult-onset acne, but other conditions--the use of certain medications, exposure to chemicals, and other hormonal changes experienced in adulthood--can also produce acne symptoms long after adolescence.
Myth: I'm the only one who understands my complicated skin.
Fact: As a Licensed Clinical Esthetician, I can help. I may recommend you see a dermatologist to help correctly diagnose and treat your skin condition, and I can certainly help direct you in the best ways to help support a healthy complexion. By guiding you to the right skin care products and makeup and teaching you how to use them, I can be an important part of your team. Monthly facials specifically designed to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin will also aid in healing and prevention. A series of chemical peels are also ideal for many clients in the treatment of active acne lesions.
Acne requires special attention in your daily skin care regimen and lifestyle. Your esthetician can support you in this journey to health through regular treatments and sound education.