Acne is an extremely condition affecting nearly 80% population at some point of life. It is among the top 5 disorders that present to our OPD at CIHSR. The term acne and pimple are one and the same, consisting of blackheads, whiteheads, deeper lumps and modules which occur on the face, chest, back, scalp, shoulders and arms.

Most of us believe that acne is a condition pertaining to teenagers, but there are a large number of adults who still get theirs acnes into their 30’s, 40’s, & 50’s. The presentation may vary in these age groups with acne confined more than the usual T.Zone. In our set up, most patients are of the age group of 15-35 years.
This article is aimed at dispelling certain myths about acne.

Myth I:

Acne occurs because your face is dirty- Absolutely not. Acne occurs due to the action of sex hormones (which is spurting in the teenage period & hence the increased incidence in the age group) on the skin glands which produce sebum/oil. Together with the oil, dead skin cells and a clog/block the pores which give rise to blackheads, whiteheads and inflamed lesions on the surface of the skin.

Myth II:

We can eliminate acne by scrubbing the face frequently- Not so. This will only exacerbate the condition. Too much scrubbing/cleansing will dry out the skin and lead to more irritation, then inflammation and hence more break outs. Gentle cleansing with a mild, medicated cleanser and lukewarm water twice a day is sufficient.

Myth III:

Squeezing or popping pimples can eliminate acne- By doing so, you will only be pushing in bacteria, dirt, oil and dead cells further into the pores, leading to more swelling, redness and scarring. Scars once formed will stay a lifetime on your face.

Myth IV:

Eating chocolate and fried food can cause acne- It was thought previously that diet have no role to play in acne. But recent studies have shown a link between the two wherein food that causes a rise in blood sugar level like chips, soda, sugary food have been suspected to increase acne, as also dairy products like milk. Consuming them in excess can increase acne and sticking to a high fiber diet along with fruits and vegetables may lessen the distress. If you notice that certain food cause a flare up, stop eating those.
Myth V:

You should let acne run its course it is just a phase and will go away eventually – Acne can last for year’s altogether and if not treated, may worsen leaving people in a lot of distress and depression. One does not have time to suffer silently with acne. Timely intervention will help in limiting disability and controlling the disease. There are various treatment modalities available to help clear acne and prevent scarring and future breakouts. Consult a dermatologist for the right medication as there are different types of acne and treatment will vary from individual to individual.

Myth VI:

You can’t wear make-up if you have acne- Anything heavy with oily base should be avoided. While certain cosmetics make acne worse, those that are oil free or non-comedogenic can be used for a short period during the day. Remember to always wash off make-up with a mild cleanser at the end of the day.

Myth VII:

Steaming helps get rid of acne-   No, high humidity and heat will only aggravate acne. Several studies have shown that acne worsens in the summer. A cool shower after a hot, humid day will cool the skin.

Tips on Acne care:
1. To prevent scars, do not pop or prick at acne.
2. Seek treatment early.
3. Gently wash with a mild cleanser twice a day and avoid vigorous scrubbing.
4. Use oil-free cosmetics and sunscreen.
5. Avoid alcohol based astringents which will strip your skin of natural moisture.
6. Do not be over zealous with the medications as most anti-acne preparations have a tendency to dry the skin.
7. Certain drugs like steroids, anti-TB drugs, anti-epileptic drugs and OCPS can cause acne after taking the medicine. Consult your doctor.
8. Avoid hairstyles where hair is constantly coming in contact with the face and the shampoo regularly
9. Drink lots of water to get rid the body of toxins and impurities, and exercise regularly. If you feel good it will show on your skin.
10. Avoid facials during breakouts to avoid flare-ups.
11. If nothing else works, please visit a Dermatologist (Skin Specialist) for consultation.