There are many factors which contribute to acne. For example, there are hereditary components which affect the severity of an individual’s acne. Simply put, if you have a parent who has suffered from a severe case of acne, the chances that you will also have severe acne are increased. But there are also dietary and sociological factors that contribute to the development of acne, which if changed or eliminated, may prevent an outbreak of severe acne. Because of the many contributing factors, acne myths have proliferated over the years.

Acne Myth Number 1 – Scrubbing and washing the face often will prevent acne.

While dirt may contribute to the formation of blackheads leading to pimples, many people believe that washing your face three or more times a day, or hard scrubbing of the face and skin can prevent acne. Face washing should be done gently, using a mild facial scrub or exfoliant only twice a day. Frequent washing can actually irritate acne breakouts and it strips the skin of its natural oils. This not only makes the skin dry, but can lead to the sebaceous glands increasing oil production to protect the skin surface. Also, scrubbing can cause inflammations. Gentle cleansing, using the lightest possible touch, is best for all-round skin protection.

Acne Myth Number 2 – Fried food, overeating, and chocolate, causes acne to develop.

Diets heavy in fat do have an effect on the body’s sebaceous glands, but science has shown that moderate consumption of fried foods will not cause acne to get worse. In fact, some oils are necessary for the healthy maintenance of the human body and the “acid mantle” that keeps skin moist and supple. In addition, a seeming connection between certain foods such as chocolate and acne may be due to food allergy rather than to the food itself. The notion that any particular food always causes acne is quite false.

Acne Myth Number 3 – Daily stress will cause breakouts of acne.

Routine, daily stress is not considered to be a cause of acne. Severe stress has been shown to have detrimental effects upon many of the body’s systems but its connection to acne breakouts has not been clearly established. More research is needed in this area before anything conclusive can be formulated. One caveat, though, stress medications may have a side-effect of contributing to acne, but if so, this should be discussed with a physician as an alternative medication may not have this effect. In general though, stress is a normal part of life and is not regarded as a major contributor to acne.

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