An estimated 80% of all people between 11 and 30 will have outbreaks of acne at some point in their lives, meaning the overwhelming majority of people are affected by acne. Considering this high prevalence, it is surprising that there are still a lot of misunderstandings surrounding acne. To make matters worse, many of these misunderstandings actually make acne worse and prevent people from effectively treating their skin. Check out this list of common myths and misconceptions to see if you’ve been taking the wrong approach to treating your acne.
Acne only happens to teenagers
Although acne is common in teenagers, many people continue to struggle with acne well into their 20s and 30s, while some develop it for the first time later in life. In fact, most of those treated professionally for their acne are adults.
Acne is caused by dirt
Acne is an extremely complex skin condition which is caused by excess sebum production, resulting in the clogging of pores and the multiplication of bacteria in the pores, causing in inflammation. Outside agents like dirt are therefore not the initial cause of acne, although substances that clog pores can exacerbate the condition. No amount of cleanliness can cure acne, and those who suffer from acne should not attempt to ‘wash away’ their acne.
Scrubbing your face hard relieves acne
As acne is not caused by dirt, it cannot be scrubbed away. While gentle exfoliation can be useful in treating acne, scrubbing the face too hard can actually increase inflammation and exacerbate acne. It can be very tempting to scrub at acne, but using good quality acne treatment products as they are intended to be used is much more effective.
Popping pimples makes them disappear
Squeezing and popping pimples is another practice which is very tempting but only serves to worsen acne. While professionally trained beauticians, doctors and dermatologists are able to safely perform extractions using special sterile tools, this is not the same as popping a pimple at home. When you squeeze a pimple with your fingers, the liquid inside spills into surrounding tissues which can cause scarring, irritation, bleeding and infection.
Acne will go away without treatment
Many people suggest that acne is just something you grow out of without any treatment. While this may be the case for some people, there are many who continue to suffer from acne well into their 30’s 40’s or even 50’s, proving that acne often does not go away by itself. Mild topical treatments should be used when acne begins to appear in order to prevent the condition from worsening.
Tanning clears acne
Tanning can help disguise the appearance of acne, but the negative effects of UV rays to the appearance of your skin in the long term outweigh this small improvement. Exposure to UV rays not only causes premature ageing but also significantly increases your risk of skin cancer.
Sweating helps to get rid of acne
Some people believe that acne is something that can be ‘sweated out’ by using steam rooms. Steam can help to open your pores, enhancing the efficacy of topical treatments, however the steam itself does not treat acne. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that high temperatures and humid environments can aggravate acne.
So what should you do to treat acne?
Topical treatments have been proven to be effective at treating mild to moderate acne. A good system of cleanser, moisturizer and a medicated treatment product with active ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide as well as nutritional supplements to improve your skin from within can help to clear up your acne.
Gently cleansing your skin twice a day can help to remove oil and bacteria, preventing the formation of acne. QV Face Wash is a gentle soap substitute that preserves the skin’s natural protective oils. It is pH balanced and does not contain fragrances, colour or lanolin to avoid irritating the skin.
Those with oily skin often think that moisturising is unnecessary or even harmful to their skin. This is a myth - moisturising is actually vital, as it prevents the skin from overcompensating by producing excess oil. QV Face Moisturising Day Cream with SPF30+ is a non-greasy moisturiser that helps to maintain a healthy moisture balance.
Finally, topical acne treatments should be used to directly target spots and acne. Benzac AC 2.5% which contains benzoyl peroxide is one of the most popular topical treatments for acne. It can be purchased in varying concentrations depending on the severity of your acne and the sensitivity of your skin. Customers are advised to start with a lower concentration before gradually working their way to a higher strength concentration if necessary. Azclear Medicated Lotion is another targeted spot treatment that uses Azelaic acid to treat breakouts.
In addition to topical treatments, oral supplements are available to provide nutritional support to help prevent and heal acne. These supplements contain zinc and beta carotene to assist in healthy skin and wound healing in addition to Echinacea and calendula which decrease inflammation.
At Chemistworks, our skilled team can help you to determine the best products to treat your acne, taking into consideration your skin type and the severity of your acne. You can find all the products mentioned in this article in our online store, or to receive further advice and guidance, you can visit your local Chemistworks.