Do you know someone who has some skin concern like acne? What are those acne causes and some acne myths?
Zits or pimples may appear harmless but it can ruin a person’s social life and can even destroy his self-confidence.
For one, it is disfiguring and can mar even a beautiful face.
What is acne? Certainly, most of us know what it is, simply because we have had to experience it at one time or another in our lives. But, in case a definition is needed, here is a short one.
Acne is a dermatological term that includes clogged pores, pimples, and lumps or cysts that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.
Acne occurs most commonly in teenagers but is not limited to any age group, afflicting even adults in their forties.
This disease has many varieties, and although none are life threatening, the more severe cases of acne can be disfiguring, leaving permanent scars on affected areas.
The physical changes in body tissue – or lesions – which acne causes are described in five ways: comedos, papule, pustule, nodule, and cyst.
Further, these terms denote range or severity with comedo (also known as blackheads and whiteheads) at one end and nodules or cysts at the other.
As stated above, acne is most common among teenagers, affecting teens between the ages 12 and 17.
Usually, these mild cases are cleared up with over-the-counter treatments and the acne goes away by the early twenties.
It also should be noted that although acne affects both girls and boys equally, there are some distinctions.
Young men are more likely to have severe, long-term acne while women can have reoccurring or intermittent acne well into adulthood due to hormonal changes and cosmetics.
Many of the problems facing those who are trying to deal with acne are the pervasive sources of misinformation out there regarding the causes of acne.
Despite the numerous valid sources of information on and about acne that are now available, these myths persist and are passed on by word-of-mouth to those unfortunate enough to suffer from the disease.
Rather than finding solutions and treatments to alleviate the symptoms, problems are often compounded.
Ill-advised treatments based on these myths can have less than effective results and can often do further damage in the case of severe acne.
In light of the influence that these myths can have on both understanding acne in general and the courses of treatment, in particular, it would be wise to start with a quick overview of some of the more common myths that are out there, dispelling the misinformation with the truth about them.
After this, we can move on to the question of what the actual causes of acne might be.
Myth #1: Acne is caused by poor hygiene.
It doesn’t matter how often, how ritually, you scrub your face and other areas affected by acne.
This has no bearing on either the status of current a breakout or the creation of new problems.
In fact, this sort of rigorous regimen of washing and scrubbing can actually irritate skin and make the acne worse, not better.
Though you may have heard so from well-meaning parents growing up or some other misinformed person, acne is not caused by poor hygiene. This doesn’t mean that hygiene isn’t important.
In some way, good hygiene can help reduce the effects of acne if used in conjunction with acne treatment products.
Rather than frequent, harsh washing, it is generally recommended that you wash your face twice to three times a day with mild soap and then pat it dry – don’t scrub dry.
Myth #2: Acne is caused by diet.
“Don’t eat chocolate, it will give you pimples!” “They say that eating greasy foods can give you zits. Most of you have heard these and other similar statements before, right?
What they are saying, in effect, is that what you eat can cause acne. But, what they are saying isn’t true. It is a myth, one of the most popular ones actually, about the causes of acne.
Extensive scientific research has been conducted, searching for possible correlations between one’s diet and a possible cause of acne, and have not found anything conclusive.
However, each of us is different. Some people notice that breakouts are worse after eating certain foods and the kinds of food differ with each person.
For example, some people may notice breakouts after eating chocolate; while others have no effects with chocolate.
Instead, they notice breakouts occurring after they drink too much coffee or caffeine.
These are just examples but they might be worth heading. If there is some sort of food or drink that might be affecting your acne, then cut back and see if that helps.
Myth #3: Acne is caused by stress.
Stress is not a direct cause of acne but it is true that some types of stress can cause the body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which can irritate existing acne.
Indirectly, some medication that we take to alleviate or control extreme stress or emotional problems like depression can be factors in the production of acne. In fact, some medicines have acne listed as a possible side effect.
Myth #4: Acne will go away on its own.
This is generally not true and acne needs treatment in order to be cleared up.
With the selection of acne treatment products available today, there is no reason not to investigate and find what has the best results for those concerned.
In some cases, a dermatologist should be consulted and other forms of treatment can be pursued.
Myth #5: Tanning clears up the skin.
In fact, this has the reverse effect. At first, it may seem that the latest bake in the tanning bed or sunbathing has improved your complexion, but in fact, the tan may only have masked or covered the acne.
In reality, the sun can make the skin dry and irritated and this can lead to more breakouts.
On another note, if you do tan, make sure that you are using a sunscreen that doesn’t contain oils and other chemicals that might clog up your pores and cause acne to get worse. (Look for noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic on the label.)
Myth #6: Popping Zits Will Make Them Go Away Faster
Again, though this seems true, it is another myth.
Rather than speeding up the process of healing, this action actually prolongs the situation as popping the whitehead caused the bacteria inside to be pushed deeper into the skin, which allows more infection to grow, and ultimately leads to scarring.
Myth #7: Only Teenagers get acne.
The truth is that about 25% to 30% of all people between the ages 25- 44 have active acne.
So, the idea that acne is only a problem for teens is yet another myth.
To get familiarize on these myths and avoid them, check them again on another angle although they are almost the same as mention above.
Let’s take a look at some popular beliefs about acne to dispel any other rumors …
Myth #8: Is it true that increased stress spreads acne?
Not exactly! What is true is that ultimately stress can have a very minimal or minor influence all by itself.
It cannot actually cause acne, but it can influence reoccurrences of acne as stress increases the body’s creation of a substance called cortisol that in turn causes your sebaceous glands to produce increased amounts of sebum oil that can be blocked in pores.
Note, however, that some medications people take when trying to deal with or treat stress can have a large influence on acne as the result of medication side effects.
Myth #9: Acne is contagious, true or false?
No! No one can “catch” acne; it is non-communicable.
Myth #10: You’ll outgrow acne, so just leave it alone – myth or truth?
This is false. Acne strikes all ages and is treatable, but shouldn’t be left alone to possibly worsen.
Myth #11: Being out in the sun helps acne, right?
In the long run, no. The sun may appear to help clear up your blemishes and redden your skin, thus lessening the overall reddish effect of the targeted acne area when it was outstanding.
However, rays from the sun can cause skin damage and actually irritate skin more, worsening any existing acne problems in the process and clogging more pores as skin cells dry up and slough off quicker than normal. So, use caution and sunscreen here!
Myth #12: Sweating helps clean out your hair follicle areas, myth or reality?
Another myth. In reality, strenuous activity can temporarily increase your body’s oil production that can actually worsen acne problem areas, causing recurrence or intensification.
Myth #13: Acne problems are directly proportionate to sexual activity, or lack thereof; true or false?
False, this is another myth. Just because teenagers are going through hormonal changes, does not mean that this has anything to do with acne.
Both are separate issues. It is the same with adult acne and sex – two entirely different issues.
Myth #14: People with acne are dirty and don’t wash enough.
No! This is another myth. Acne is the result of a buildup of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria in a closed pore. Period. Dirt is not even a factor in the equation.
Myth #15: Acne is only on external issue or surface deep; people shouldn’t make such a big thing out of it, myth or reality?
Myth. In reality, yes, it basically is only on your skin and underneath the surface a little bit.
However, the effects run much deeper than that in many instances.
More than 50% of those suffering acne problems reported negative comments and other feedback from members of society, regardless of whether or not there was any scarring left for others to see afterwards.
And resulting internal depression and low self-esteem can be harmful emotionally not only short-term but over a person’s lifetime.
Thus, acne can indeed be a very big issue requiring healthcare treatment and support.
Myth #16: OK, myth or reality: there is a cure for acne?
Myth. Although there is no cure at this time, there are many treatments available that do a great job. As the saying goes, “Prevention is the best medicine.”
However, there is no need to suffer in silence with all the options available on the market today for all price ranges.
In fact, you can check this article for natural home remedies for acne: What Are The Natural Remedies For Acne You Can Apply?
After covering these myths, it is important to note, that these are not all of the myths that are out there, circulating in the popular health magazines and on the Internet. No, not by a long shot.
There are dozens more where these came from. Be very careful about researching the topic and deciding what sources to trust.