8 myths about acne

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Acne usually occurs with the onset of puberty and can be triggered by hormonal changes, which cause your glands to produce more oil. Although it’s more of a hereditary condition, acne can also be caused by anything which leads to the blockage of your pores. Research has shown that there are many myths about acne, it’s causes and treatment. Our experts at Skin Renewal clear up some misconceptions for us …

Myth 1: Eating chocolate leads to breakouts

Dead wrong. Most types of acne have absolutely nothing to do with diet. Changes in hormone levels (remember high school?), stress and genetics are major factors for pizza face. So, feel free to chomp down on a big bar of chocolate. But like all things in life, don’t overdo it.

Myth 2: There’s a definite link between acne and dairy

Dairy is mucous-forming and can be difficult for the body to digest. If you are severely lactose intolerant or have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy products, then this can quite easily manifest on the skin. For some people, it manifests in digestive issues or stomach pain or cramps in the colon, while for others, it can result in severe headaches and nausea, but for many, this issue will manifest as breakouts on the skin. But to simply say that milk or dairy products are a cause of acne is not necessarily accurate it really does depend from person to person. You might want to do a detox and see what happens.

Myth 3: It’s okay to pop pimples if you do it safely

What’s the first thing you do when you notice a spot? The majority of us will push it, pick it and try to pop it. When you try to pop a pimple, you use force to get it out – in the process, you cause tearing of the skin. And like all tearing, it scars. In extreme acne cases, the skin is left with permanent pocks that can only be removed or treated by professional medical treatments. Cleanse the area gently twice a day with an anti-bacterial cleanser and apply a spot-busting treatment cream that’s filled with acne-busting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, like Benzac AC 5 Gel, Obagi Clenziderm Therapeutic Lotion or Lamelle Active control gel.

Myth 4: You need to wash your face more thoroughly with an electronic face brush

If you are someone who has no concerning skin conditions (such as acne, rosacea, sensitivity or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), and the device is used correctly, ie. not too harshly or aggressively, then it can certainly be used to improve skin cell turnover. However, if you do have any of those skin concerns, and if you are already using very active ingredient that promotes skin cell turnover (such as retinol and acids with a low pH), then you may actually cause unnecessary sensitivity, inflammation and in the long run, this can cause pigmentation or more breakouts or prolonged sensitivity. So it really comes down to being wise in the treatment of your skin.

Myth 5: Never use exfoliators

If a therapist is referring to using a scrub cleanser or granular exfoliator, then yes, this information is true, as the scrub-type products tend to scrape the skin and can, therefore, transfer infection. However, it is actually important for a congested skin to exfoliate at least once a week, BUT you need to use an enzyme-type exfoliator that does not scrape the skin at all. There are a few very good ones that I can highly recommend, one of my personal favourites is Lamelle’s Cathepzyme.

Myth Number 6: Putting toothpaste on a pimple clears it up

Toothpaste is made for teeth. Even though it is a drying agent that might decrease the size and appearance of a pimple, try something more gentle and soothing for your skin. If you’re going to use something in your kitchen cupboard try something such as raw apple cider vinegar.

Myth Number 7: You should lay out in the sun to clear up your acne.

False! Many people think getting a tan will help. While it may hide some discolouration and UV light can be anti-bacterial, which in turn can help reduce the appearance of acne, the sun is not your cure. Both indoor and outdoor tanning damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. If you expose acneic skin to the sun or a sunbed, you will develop PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and this comes with its own set of challenges.

Myth Number 8: Sexual intercourse reduces acne

While the idea may be very appealing and attractive to many of us, this is absolutely false. Having sex does not “balance the hormones” and has absolutely no effect on improving acne. The bottom line is that MOST Acne starts in the gut. The most effective acne treatments include repairing and restoring the gut health. Once this is in place, all the topical treatments and products’ results are also much more effective in curing this problem.

Do you want to ask Dr. Allem a question about skin? Click on her Ask The Experts profile here.

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  1. Chandni Jivan

    I usually pop my pimples..I just can’t stand them but it leaves horrible scars on my skin. I feel that it’s better to just cleanse and apply a spot clearing cream instead. It keeps your skin much healthier and clearer.

    4 weeks ago •

  1. Ayesha94 Petersen

    Can’t believe how helpful this article is! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    4 months ago •

  1. Saidat Rabiu

    So true. I get pimples few days before my period which I blame on the hormones fluctuations instead of food.

    4 months ago •

  1. Tembisa Maqungu

    This post took me back to my high school years and early twenties. I was barred from eating chocolate believing it made my acne worse only to later learn that it was just hormonal changes that lead to my breakouts.

    4 months ago •

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