Acne Myths

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There are many myths about acne that people continually hold onto, which is crazy!

Here are the most common acne myths and why they’re not real:

  1. Stress causes acne. Reality: Stress may have an effect on hormones and therefore in theory can promote acne. However, using an effective system to combat your acne is more powerful than a bout of stress any day. Some medications may have acne as a side effect, but stress itself is no big deal. Your time is better spent determining the right course of acne treatment rather than worrying about stress.
  2. Sex causes acne. 
Reality: This is an old-fashioned idea, originating as early as the 17th century to try and stop young people from having premarital sex. It’s not based on scientific evidence, and a more plausible explanation may be that higher levels of androgens (male sex hormones) can cause increased sex drive. We also know that high levels of androgens can be related to more severe cases of acne. So it’s hormonal, rather than caused by sexual activity.
  3. Washing your face more often will help clear up acne
. Reality: Facial blemishes are not caused by dirt. Contrary to what you may have seen in commercials, pores do not get blocked due to “impurities”. What actually happens is that the walls of a pore stick together deep within the skin, starting acne formation. Far from preventing acne, frequent washing may actually irritate pores and cause them to become clogged! A washcloth can add even more irritation. The best bet is to wash very gently with bare hands, and only wash twice a day.
  4. The sun will help get rid of acne. 
Reality: 10-20 minutes per day for sun exposure for people with lighter skin and 20-30 minutes per day for people with darker skin may prove beneficial for acne symptoms, especially body acne. However, overly exposing your skin to the sun creates skin damage, which leaves the skin irritated. This irritation can result in more acne in the weeks following over exposure as the skin heals itself. If you notice a break out that’s sudden, ask yourself if you got too much sun about two weeks before, as that may be the cause.
  5. Diet and acne are related
. Reality: We really don’t know, and we need more research as it’s inconclusive.  Some people claim that it’s directly linked, whereas others say the opposite. We do know that people in some indigenous societies do not experience acne whatsoever across the entire population. This is in stark contrast to the widespread presence of acne throughout all modern society. It leaves us to ponder whether the indigenous people’s unprocessed hunter/gatherer diet contributes to their acne-free skin or whether their clear skin is a result of genetics or some other factor. Discovering a dietary way of preventing acne may be a future reality, however, we may live so differently from our hunter/gatherer ancestors that it has become close to impossible to replicate our ancestral diet. If you feel that you have cleared your acne using a particular diet, or if you are planning on attempting a diet of some kind, please post your method on the comments section below. Keep in mind that almost any diet will appear to work in the short term because as your body loses weight, insulin and other hormones react and acne tends to recede. Then, as body weight levels out or increases, acne symptoms return.

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