The array of misinformation floating around about acne is astounding. From how eating greasy foods will lead to breakouts to home remedies and old wives’ tales, when pimples start popping up, so does the advice. But how do you separate fact from fiction?
New York Dermatologist, Eric Schweiger, MD, debunks 5 common acne misconceptions:
Myth #1: You can get acne from sweating
Truth: Sweating does not cause acne. Sweat glands are not the same as oil pores. While sweat alone cannot cause acne, there is a condition called acne mechanica, which is a form of acne that is caused by a combination of heat, friction and covered skin. It’s often found on athletes who sweat under their helmets. Other culprits of acne mechanica include tight clothing, snug backpack straps, and headbands worn for long periods of time.
Myth #2: Eating junk foods will make you break out
Truth: The dermatological community has long dispelled the idea that junk foods, such as French fries and chocolate, cause acne. However, there is new research linking diet to acne. Foods with a high-glycemic level (white breads sugary drinks, processed foods) are thought to trigger the production of androgens, a hormone responsible for oil production.
Myth #3: Washing your face more frequently prevents breakouts
Truth: Actually, over-washing your face can make acne worse. Washing your face any more than twice a day can cause drying of the skin, which can cause skin to produce more oil to overcompensate.
Myth #4: Sun exposure helps clear up acne
Truth: While “drying out acne” in the sun may seem like a good idea, it’s not. The sun not only causes premature aging, but it does nothing to help clear up or heal acne. A suntan may help mask the redness of zits, but it’s only temporary. Once the tan fades, the pimples can come back in full force thanks to ultraviolet light exposure.
Acne Myth #5: Applying toothpaste to a zit will clear it up
Truth: The thinking behind the toothpaste-as-acne-treatment myth is that toothpaste dries out the zit and therefore gets rid of it. Legitimate acne medications, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, treat zits with the side effect of dry skin, leading people to believe that toothpaste works just the same. Not so. Toothpaste is not an effective acne treatment, not to mention it contains ingredients that can irritate the skin.