an attempt to dispell many of the common myths regarding acne and acne therapy,
many people remain confused as to whether there is any truth behind these myths.
Below is a discussion of some of the more common misconceptions that still exist...
Chocolate. Greasy food. Candy. They all make acne worse, right?
Not really. While the relationship between certain foods and acne remains one
of the most commonly held beliefs, these beliefs are not supported. There have
been several studies that have attempted to prove a link between diet and acne,
but most have failed to prove a realtionship. A recent study did suggest that
milk intake, specifically skim mild could be related to acne as well as a smaller
realtionship with sherbet, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. The though proposed
was that increased hormones found in the these dairy products were causing the
acne. However, the data collected in this study was based on recall of acne, and
did not actually involve a clinical diagnosis. In addition, there has been talk
about the "western" diet and its overall effect on acne. The only study
to look at this however, did not prove any significant relationship. So, to date,
no overall conclusions can be made regarding the relationship between diet and
acne. That being said, if it seems that a certain food is making your acne worse,
it is best to try and avoid that food.
It is a commonly held belief that dirt makes acne worse. However,
when looking at the
of acne, we see that this is a deeper process, and that dirt is actually not a
factor. In fact, there is no scientific evidence to support the fact that dirt
contributes to acne.
washing and acne
Most physicians recommend washing the face gently twice
a day. There is a misconception however that washing the face more may help to
further decrease acne. The opposite may be true. Increased or vigorous facial
washing may cause a
effect that can worsen acne. Face washing helps most if the use of a therapreutic
cleanser is used and many physicians will include a prescription cleanser in individual
The relationship of stress and acne has recently been re-evaluated.
A recent study, though small, indicated that stress may in fact be associated
with worsening of acne. It is felt that stress may release additional hormones
that may influence acne formation. The study was small, but it seems that stress
and acne may indeed be related.
the face and acne
Similar to other myths, it is felt that toucing the face
may aggravate acne due to contamination with bacteria, adding dirt to the face,
or adding more oil to the face. These ideas have never been supported. The only
way that tounching the face incfluences acne is by a mechanical phenomenon in
which resting on a hand, etc. can cause breakdown of the follicles in an individual
who is prone to acne ().
In addition, a more extreme form of touching the face is picking at pimples and
scrathing them ().
This type of behavior clearly can worsen acne.
pimples and scarring
One commonly help belief is that popping pimples can
make them disappear faster. While this may be true in rare cases of very superficial
lesions, attempting to pop deeper lesions may actually worsen acne. When a deeper
acne lesion in manipulated, there is a risk of pushing the inflammation deeper
into the skin causing the follicle to stretch, distort, or even rupture. This
then attracts more inflammation which causes the lesion to acutally lasts longer
and may even lead to scarring.
While there is no clear cut evidence that lack of sleep worsens
acne, some feel that lack of sleep occurs most commonly during periods of high
stress. This high sterss level as previously discused may contribute to worsening
(water consumption) and the skin
It is a widespread belief that drinking
more water will help to hydrate the skin and that this can improve acne. This
belief however is significantly flawed. There is no proof that increasd water
consumption can help acne. In addition, there is no scientific or studied proof
that it can help hydrate the skin.
Many people fell that sunlight and tanning helps their acne. This
may be true for a few reasons. First of all, a tan may help to cover up the appearance
of blemishes. In addition, similar to the use of
and , UV light may help to kill
bacteria and thus help acne. With this being said however, broad exposure to the
sun or tanning booths is not recommended for the treatment of acne as the potential
risks of skin cancer and photoaging far outweight the benefits it can provide
in treating acne.
For some people, exercise may seem to help acne and likley this
is from stress reduction. In others however there is the belief that sweat blocks
pores and that this can in fact worsen or cause acne. A recent, small study however
did not demonstrate any effect between physical activity induced sweat and the
formation of acne. One explanation for the development of acne in athletes is
as this can
develop from heat, pressure, friction and occlusion that often occurs in individuals
wearing heavy equipment while playing sports.