Acne is a very common skin disease and it is estimated that four out of five adolescents have skin lesions of varying degrees of intensity. There are many theories as to why some people suffer from acne. Some of them, as you can imagine, belong more to the category of urban legends. The result is that many people have a skewed view of what causes or exacerbates acne, and therefore what to do to reduce the symptoms.

Obviously, scientific advances on skin health in general, and on acne in particular, have made it possible to invalidate or confirm these theories. Thus, many received ideas conveyed for several generations have been refuted in recent years by the scientific community (or on the contrary, have been scientifically validated).

Different solutions exist for acne patients. Treatments, with or without a prescription, will help these people reduce the appearance of pimples. In this article, we are going to dispel some myths.

1.     Acne is not caused by diet

Food plays almost no role in the occurrence of acne. In fact, this condition results from a closure of the hair follicles. As a result of excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands, the pores become blocked, hence the appearance of a black head, or comedo, or white microcysts. Subsequently, the development of inflammation inside the follicles and their infection with a bacterium, ropionibacterium acnes, results in pimples (papules, pustules and nodules). Stress could also promote acne through hormonal changes. If you have acne, you can therefore consume cold meats, cheeses and more generally the products you like, including chocolate. They won’t have an effect on your acnes. However, it is generally recommended to have a balanced diet for multiple other health reasons.

2.     Acne doesn’t just affect teens

It is true that the majority of severe acne is found in adolescents and young adults. But, unlike what has been said for years, acne has nothing to do with masturbation and definitely does not go away with marriage. Its greater frequency in adolescents is explained by the fact that the secretions of sex hormones, and in particular androgens, by the adrenal glands are stronger at this period of life. This hormonal secretion stimulates the activity of the sebaceous glands.

Contrary to popular belief, the first manifestations of acne do not appear at puberty but a little earlier. Indeed, the adrenal glands begin to synthesize sex hormones and sebum begins to be produced between the age of 6 and 10. In addition, some babies old of only a few weeks can also have acnes, which could be linked to the passage through the placenta of the mother’s hormones.

Finally, certain forms of acne, in particular those called “rosacea” or acne of medicinal origin, also affect adults.

3.     Acne is not due to poor hygiene

The formation of comedones, which are the most characteristic lesion of acne, has nothing to do with hygiene but simply results from too much sebum inside the follicles. On the contrary, some adolescents worsen their lesions by cleaning them too drastically, which increases local inflammation and delays healing. Excess washing tends, moreover, to activate the formation of sebum. If you have acne, avoid touching the pimples and use a mild soap type to wash with. You can find different types in pharmacies.

4.     Acne is not contagious

Although acne lesions contain a small bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, this disease cannot be transmitted to other people. Indeed, the development of Propionibacterium takes place inside the hair follicles and away from air and oxygen. There is no risk of transmission. Furthermore, many people without acne also naturally harbor Propionibacterium in their skin.

5.     Acne does not cure with the sun

In fact, the sun is a bogus friend in the fight against acne. At first, it dries up the lesions by increasing the thickness of the skin. Because of this, the bumps might disappear. However, the thickening of the skin might lead to even more acnes due to a higher chance of having ingrown hair. Beware, many medications prescribed for acne contraindicate sun exposure. It is therefore better to protect yourself and, in any case, not to use tanning oil because the application of oily products to acne-prone skin is hardly recommended.

6.     Acne does not only affect the face

In severe forms, acne can affect the upper back, shoulders and neck. Acne occurs where there are sebum-producing glands that protect the skin. But under the influence of various factors (hormones, genetics, etc.), sebum is made in excess and can no longer flow through the channels at the base of the hairs. This results in the formation of microcysts (small white balls) and / or comedones (black dots) under the skin. Secondly, acne can become inflammatory (swollen red pimples: papules and pustules) if the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes starts to proliferate. Most often, acne is mixed, with a mixture of these different types of pimples. Those located elsewhere on the body are not acne but boils.

7.     Make-up does not make acne worse

Acne in no way prohibits makeup, but it is essential to choose the right products. As with all products used for your face, choose non-comedogenic (not promoting the appearance of pimples). But as a rule of thumb, it is necessary to wash off the make-up thoroughly before going to bed.

Elena Mars

Elena writes part-time for the Scientific Origin, focusing mostly on health-related issues.