5 Acne Myths You Should Stop Believing Now
“By the time my thirties rolled around, I was stunned when I developed acne—a skin condition I thought I’d left back in my teenage years along with big hair and blue eye-shadow," says Robin McGraw. "I learned that it’s actually pretty common in women in their thirties and forties, and that you can get it even if you never had it as a teen.”
There are a lot of half-truths and just plain misconceptions around what causes acne and how to treat it.
Let Robin debunk common myths about acne, plus give you the real facts.
1. Washing your face several times a day and scrubbing harder will cure acne
If your skin is too oily and you’re getting blemishes, stress and hormones are probably part of the reason.
Washing your face more than twice a day will not help.
Gentle exfoliation will help, but don’t overdo it.
In fact, abrasion and friction from aggressive scrubs, scrubbing brushes and pads will usually only further inflame acne outbreaks.
Get your skin on the right track with gentle cleansing morning and night, paired with a weekly exfoliation.
Robin’s gentle scrub loosens and lifts dead skin cells that can stick together and clog your follicles, resulting in acne outbreaks.
It’s safe for even sensitive, inflamed skin because our scrubbing particles are rounded and extremely small, in the form of a super-fine powder.
Most other scrubs are made with irregular bits of seed shells and fruit pits, and the pointed, sharp edges of those other particles actually cause microtears in the skin. Ouch.
2. Exposing your face to direct sunlight will heal acne blemishes
Definitely false. Skin naturally responds defensively to UV, and that defense mechanism is the production of melanin, or pigmentation.
This pigmentation-response can take the form of freckles, lobster-red sunburn, a tan, dark spots and blotches, and all of the above.
When your skin is already inflamed as the result of acne, UV simply makes matters worse.
Always use sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage and prevent permanent hyperpigmentation.
3. Eating chocolate and pizza causes acne
Not true. Unfortunately. If simply eliminating these two foods meant having clear skin, most people would gladly do it.
Because these super-processed foods are traditionally associated with adolescence, when rapid bursts of hormones often produce teen breakouts, the foods themselves were identified as the source.
Most dermatologists now state that there appears to be no direct link between what you eat and acne.
Of course, it’s always good practice to load your plate with dark green veggies, drink plenty of water, and limit simple carbs, sugar, salt and trans-fats.
Among other things, eating well will strengthen your immune system, so your skin can fight infection and heal blemishes faster.
4. Dabbing blemishes with alcohol and using alcohol astringents heal and prevent acne
A common misperception. Applying rubbing alcohol to your skin upsets skin’s pH, and may result in redness and inflammation.
Salicylic acid, made from the bark of the white willow tree, is a far more effective treatment for treating acne than straight alcohol.
First, salicylic acid calms the pain of a smoldering blemish—no wonder it’s the active botanical ingredient in aspirin!
Salicylic also functions as a mild exfoliant and astringent, helping pores shed the excess oil and sticky, dead skin cells that accumulate in follicles and invite bacteria to overpopulate, resulting in a blemish.
5. Everybody’s a born Dr. Pimple Popper
Sandra Lee, the actual Dr. Pimple Popper, is a licensed dermatologist with an M.D. as well as other advanced degrees.
The popularity of her gleeful videos may give you false confidence, but you should always handle your skin tenderly.
D.I.Y. pimple-popping can lead to inflammation and infection of your blemish, and can actually force bacteria back down under the skin, causing new pimples to “pop” up.
If you just can’t resist popping that blemish, begin with clean hands.
Cleanse your face with a foamy face wash made for sensitive skin.
Apply ice to the inflamed area, followed by a warm, clean washcloth.
Then, prepare to (gently!) squeeze, rock and roll!
Wrap your two index fingers in white medical gauze, and press down gently on either side of the cleansed blemish.
Wiggle both fingers slowly upward on either side of the blemish, rocking gently back and forth.
Do this no more than twice, then wipe the blemish clean and apply a healing acne cream. From there, hands off!
TIP FROM ROBIN: Never, ever use metal tools on your face, including the tool called a curette that you can buy at the drugstore. These are for professionals only-- using them incorrectly can leave scars.
Keep your skin safe by cleansing and treating your skin gently, and see a dermatologist if your acne is painful or severe.
Here’s everything you need to tame your acne and keep skin clear:
Polish to Perfection Micro-Polishing & Exfoliating Scrub contains tiny botanical scrubbing particles that are milled into a smooth, round shape, forming a superfine powder that buffs away dullness without irritating skin.
NEW Rx Acne Fighting Duo pairs Robin’s new acne treatments for day and night, both with salicylic acid to clear pores and heal blemishes fast.
NEW Relax ! You’re Covered! Sweet Dreams Night Acne Cream closes and heals blemishes fast with salicylic acid, then restores damaged collagen while you sleep with the antioxidant power of pomegranate.
NEW Zap! You’re Covered! All Day Long Day Acne Lotion contains natural willow bark, a botanical source of salicylic acid that clears pores to prevent blemishes from forming, and reduces redness.
NEW TLC Tender Loving Cleanser Foaming Sensitive Skin Cleanser is developed specifically to calm inflamed skin and support healing while gently removing dead skin cells and excess oil from the pores.
50 FIERCE Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Moisturizer & Sunscreen UV protection is essential to keeping acne blemishes from developing into permanently darkened spots.
Reference: Sun exposure does not cure acne
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