From indulging in too many sweets to the role of hormones, ask any teenager or adult, and chances are they will tell you why acne breakouts occur. There is science behind many of the reasons you might hear, but for the most part, the information will be completely false. There are many pervasive acne myths and unfortunately, some are preventing teens from seeking treatments that will actually prove effective. Here are five of the most common acne myths, and the reasons why they aren’t true.
Tanning Eliminates Body Acne
In an attempt to eliminate body acne many teens and adults have thrown caution to the wind and slipped into a tanning booth. Yes, there is a slight improvement initially, but this often occurs simply because the acne marks and scars are less noticeable against darker skin. Continued exposure to the intense ultraviolet (UV) rays of tanning beds only leads to premature aging and an increased chance of skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, frequent indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, than individuals who steer clear of tanning booths. If you do plan on tanning outdoors, protect your skin with sunscreen and moisturizer featuring an SPF of at least 10.
Pop Those Pimples
Acne seems to rear its ugly little head at the most inconvenient times, including right before a first date or formal dance. In an effort to eliminate a nasty zit, and any social embarrassment, many teens squeeze, pop, and pull at the unwanted bump. Popping a pimple minimizes its appearance temporarily, but in the long run, it could lead to future breakouts, scarring, and pitting. When a pimple is squeezed all that nasty bacteria, oil, and dead skin are pushed to the surface—all over your face. The mark left behind can last for several months or even years.
Load Up on Acne Medication
Over-the-counter acne medications featuring benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are effective in eliminating unwanted blemishes if used properly. However, in an attempt to completely control a problem breakout, many teens apply the product several times a day and against the manufacturer’s or their dermatologist’s recommendation. This practice won’t solve the issue and is actually making it worse. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can both cause irritation and over-drying, which unfortunately lead to future breakouts.
So What Should You Do?
From witch hazel and tea tree oil to a homemade brown sugar scrub, there are a number of effective, safe, and natural acne remedies. However, many people automatically assume that because the products aren’t prescribed by a dermatologist, they’re less effective.
This isn’t always the case. Furthermore, they are far gentler than some prescription medications and creams, most of which are harsh on the sensitive skin of the face and some of which have damaging side effects. For instance, benzoyl peroxide can dry out the skin and cause major irritation. Antibiotics sometimes prescribed by physicians can cause cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. Before rushing to the dermatologist, try some natural, homemade remedies. You might be surprised at how effective Mother Nature’s medicine can be.
Want Clear Skin? Ditch the Makeup
In the past, many brands of makeup were produced with heavy dyes, perfumes, and oils that caused acne breakouts. However, modern technology has allowed for the development of concealers and foundations that are completely safe for use on any skin type, even acne-prone skin. During your next trip to the pharmacy looking for two words: noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic. Basically, these identifiers indicate the product is less likely to clog pores, irritate the skin, or cause acne to form.
There are even moisturizers, concealers, and foundations that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which help treat and prevent future breakouts. If you’re not sure which makeup is best for your skin type, or you notice irritation associated with a certain brand of concealer or foundation, contact your dermatologist.
Acne, zits, pimples, or blemishes. No matter what you call them, suffering from imperfect skin is difficult, especially if you cannot afford to regularly visit a dermatologist.