At the Natural acne clinic, we really like to break myths about acne and breakouts. The following are the most common ones we’ve come across with our patients:
Myth: Washing Your Face Often Prevents Breakouts
FACT: Washing your face multiple times a day will not get rid of acne on its own. In fact, washing too often will most likely just irritate and dehydrate your skin. The reason that washing alone will not get rid of acne is that acne starts INSIDE the skin when an excessive about of dead skin cells turn over and start to form a microcomodone (the beginning of an acne lesion).
These microcomodones cannot even be seen. What is needed is active products (such as serums and treatment lotions) that stay on the skin and are able to penetrate inside the pore to start preventing acne from forming in the first place.
Myth: Acne is caused by poor hygiene and/or acne is caused by dirt
FACT: As we just discussed in Myth 1, acne starts under the skin and deep within the pore. Acne-prone pores shed dead skin cells five times faster than a healthy pore. Contrary to common belief, acne formation has nothing to do with dirt and oil on the surface of the skin because acne forms inside of the pore and is an “inside job”. To eliminate acne that has already surfaced, washing or not washing will not get rid of it. The acne must be treated with products that penetrate the pore and slow down the cellular turnover.
Myth: Acne is caused by candy and French fries
FACT: Yes, these things can make acne worse but they do not “cause” acne. There have been studies done to prove this fact that sugar and fast food can make acne worse but is not the root cause. If it were the direct cause then everyone who ate a diet high in sugar and lots of fast food would have acne. But this is not the case. What is acne? Again, acne is an inherited disorder of the pore- you are either prone to it or not.
Myth: Acne is just a cosmetic disease
FACT: Any disease that can cause permanent scarring in addition to staph infections is something that should be taken seriously and not considered to be “just cosmetic” or a “vanity issue”. Scarring can leave the face permanently disfigured and staph infections can be very dangerous if left untreated. The self-esteem of acne suffers is real and can even lead to depression and avoidance of social situations.
Myth: You just have to let acne run its course
FACT: For some people, not very many, they never grow out of their acne. When acne can be managed with the right products, why take the chance of it causing permanent damage? Studies have shown that people with acne get lower paying jobs and are overlooked for promotions. Our culture rewards healthy, attractive people. While this may not be right it is the way that it is. If you can do something about your acne that works, then why not!
Myth: You should spot treat zits with benzoyl peroxide
FACT: Benzyl peroxide (BPO) is best used as a PREVENTATIVE for acne, not as a treatment of acne. If you are only using BPO to spot treat then you are missing the microcomodone (the beginning of the acne lesion inside the pore and under the surface of the skin). BPO is best used as an all over treatment to areas where you cannot see the acne because it will penetrate through the surface of the skin and kill the microcomodone. Microcomodones can form under the skin up to 90 days before they surface so a 90-day regimen of BPO is recommended to makes sure everything is clear inside of the pore in addition to the acne you can visibly see.
Myth: Acne can be cured
FACT: There is no “cure” for acne. At some point in their lives, most people grow out of their acne but we never know for sure when that will be. This does not mean you cannot be acne free! The good news is that there are programs like Face Reality and Acne Specialists like me that can show you how to have clear skin despite your skins’ nature to produce acne. We are here to guide you through the process with a program that really works (even when other products have not).
Myth: Toothpaste can cure acne
FACT: This is absolutely an urban myth. Using toothpaste to spot treat acne is simply a band-aid approach. Toothpaste, at best, may dry out the acne lesion a bit, and worst case scenario it may make the acne worse because it contains sodium lauryl sulfate (a known pore-clogger). Using toothpaste to cure acne will never work because it is doing nothing to treat what caused the acne in the first place.
Myth: Moisturizer will make you break out
FACT: Most people with acne are scared to death to put moisturizers/lotions/creams/sunscreens on their skin because they might breakout. You are actually very justified in being afraid of most of the moisturizers on the market, even those labeled for acne.
The reason being is that most of them do contain pore-clogging inactive ingredients that will clog your pores and make your acne worse.
With all that being said, if you are using active products such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, vitamin A, glycolic acid, etc. then you will need to use a moisturizer because these products will dry/dehydrate your skin. This means that you need to:
- Slowly introduce active products to your skin for short amounts of time or on an every other day schedule
- Use a non-pore-clogging moisturizer and sunscreen during the day to allow your skin to get the moisture it needs and so it does not get irritated, dry, and itchy
- NEVER use moisturizer over benzoyl peroxide (BPO) as it will prevent the BPO from getting deep into the pore
Myth: Products need to tingle or sting in order to work
FACT: It is true that you need aggressive products to work but if they are too aggressive then your skin will eventually get irritated, dry, red, and itchy. Your skin may even breakout more from overly aggressive products because they are unnecessarily overstimulating the skin.
Some companies say that this “purging breakout” is good and to keep using their products but in truth, it is just not necessary for your skin to get worse before it gets better. Almost all of my clients using Face Reality report that their skin has improved after 7-14 days of use, NOT gotten worse.
The other problem with products that are too strong is that if your skin gets too irritated then you will have to stop using the products and this will slow or completely stop any progress you could be making.
So, while you may be tackling the myths yourself and wondering whether they’re true or false, we are here to answer any of your questions and more! Why not try an Online Acne Consult with one of our Clear Skin Coaches? It’s a 60-minute in-depth online call where you will be educated about your acne and provided with the information you need to treat it and get clear.