If any of you have ever dealt with the struggle of acne prone skin, you’ve also dealt with the struggle of people without acne telling you what to do to get rid of it. Some people just don’t get that washing your face every day isn’t going to clear up years of problem skin and aggravated acne.
To educate those that don’t know, I’d like to talk about the causes and myths of acne.
Acne is a chronic condition: it is continuous and exists on the surface of the skin as well as underneath the surface. Ninety-five percent of adolescents experience acne in their life, which can last for up to a decade. It’s impossible to completely cure acne, but there are various ways to manage acne prone skin.
There are four steps for a breakout to occur: excess dead skin cells clog up pores, an overproduction of sebum occurs, an overgrowth of p. acnes bacteria occurs, and then swelling occurs in reaction to the bacteria.
One myth about acne is that spot treating clears it up: this, unfortunately, isn’t true because the appearance of pimples is the end of the acne process. Spot treatments can only dry out singular zits, they cannot stop future breakouts.
Going back to what I said about washing your face every day, another myth about acne is that it’s caused by dirty skin. This is far from the truth. The p. acnes bacteria that causes acne is already on the surface of the skin, and it grows when it feeds on excess oil. Washing your face twice a day is enough, and anything more than that can worsen acne by stripping the skin of natural oils. The only way to kill p. acnes bacteria is to target it in the pores with benzoyl peroxide.
Another myth about acne and my personal favorite is that certain foods can cause acne. While what your diet can affect your skin, there is no evidence to suggest that greasy foods, like french fries, cheeseburgers, or pizza, have a large effect on acne. On the flip side, there is also no evidence that connects an increased water intake with the reduction of acne.
A universal occurrence among people with acne prone skin is the scars left behind after picking a zit. It’s common knowledge that picking at your zits doesn’t do anything to help acne, but sometimes the urge to scratch one off or pop one is too overwhelming. This only leads to acne scars, which last much longer than any zit ever would. For acne scars, many turn to exfoliating for faster cell regeneration; another myth about skin care is that all exfoliants are the same. When exfoliating, it’s important to stay away from any facial scrubs that can cause micro-tears in the skin, leaving it open for irrigation. There are physical exfoliants and chemical exfoliants, and a good skincare regime utilizes both.