Like many skin conditions, acne is complex. From random outbreaks to more persistent problems, diagnosing and treating acne isn't always simple - and common misconceptions don't help. New research from Dermalex has revealed a number of prominent skin untruths. Here, we set the record straight:
Myth 1: Acne is caused by a poor diet
Nearly two thirds of acne sufferers have heard that the condition can be caused by a poor diet. On top of this, 50% of sufferers surveyed have heard that chocolate gives you spots.
Fact: While it's best to follow a healthy, balanced and varied diet, it's unproven that a poor diet = acne. Instead, acne results from hormones that promote the over-production of sebum that, in turn, blocks pores, resulting in inflammation and characteristic spots, blackheads or whiteheads.
Over half of acne sufferers (56%) have heard that the condition is caused by having dirty skin or poor hygiene
Fact: There is no direct link between poor hygiene or dirty skin and acne. Since most of the biological reactions that trigger acne take place below the skin's surface, scrubbing your face clean may have little effect on spots. In fact, over-cleaning the skin may aggravate the skin further.
Myth 3: Squeezing blackheads, whiteheads and spots is the best way to get rid of acne
Nearly 40% of sufferers have heard that squeezing spots and skin impurities is the best way to get rid of acne.
Fact: You should not squeeze or scratch spots - this can make them worse and may lead to inflammation or even scarring. If you think your acne is severe, your doctor, a pharmacist or dermatologist should be a first port-of-call.
Myth 4: Sunbathing, sunbeds and sunlamps help improve the symptoms of acne
Over 40% of acne sufferers have heard using sun beds or sunbathing could improve symptoms.
Fact: As well as there being no evidence that using sun beds and sunbathing improves acne, they are associated with increased skin damage and risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, while some acne products (like Dermalex Acne) won't make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, medications used to treat acne can do this. So you should always make sure you follow instructions!
Myth 5: Toothpaste, lemon and lime juice are effective in treating acne
Almost half of acne sufferers have used or considered using toothpaste to treat symptoms, while 30% have gone down the citrus-based route and used (or considered using) lemon or lime juice.
Fact: While it's tempting to try to dry out the skin, using harsh substances may lead to unnecessary soreness and these are not designed for use on the skin. Try opting for a clinically proven product that treats mild or moderate acne symptoms such as acne spots, redness and swelling, without drying out the skin.