Acne Myths

Dispelling common acne myths.

Acne Myths Part 1

There is lots of acne advice out there yet we still get breakouts.  In order to maximize results, you need to distinguish between tested truths and old wives’ tales.

Myth: diet does not affect acne

Today we are finding there is a connection between food and acne.  A team of researchers lead by Jennifer Burris, a doctorate candidate at New York University, looked at the diets of more than 200 people and found that those who ate more sugary foods, dairy products, and unhealthy fats, as well as less fish, were more likely to have moderate to severe acne.

Myth: If you have acne you should not eat chocolate

There is a connection between diet and acne but it isn’t reasonable to just blame chocolate.  Mona Gohara MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale says that any food with a high glycemic index (ex processed breads, cakes, sweets), can increase blood cortisol levels and worsen acne.  These refined carbs cause your insulin level to spike, which leads to increased sebum production and clogged pores.  The problem with chocolate is not the cocoa but the sugar that is added.  Look for chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher.

Myth: Acne is a teenager problem

The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 50% of women between 20 and 29 years old, 35% of women between 30 and 39 years old, 26% of women between 40 and 49 years old report having acne.  We can blame the same surge of hormones that we experience as teens says  Dr. Gohara.   Estrogen increases at your first period and perimenopause.  The hormone causes an increase in oil production, which ultimately causes bacterial inflammation and pimples.

Myth: Makeup makes acne worse

Some products CAN clog pores and cause pimples, but the right makeup can improve acne.  Dermatologists often suggest powder based pure mineral makeup with ingredients like silica, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide ( we like Jane Iredale and Colourescience). Powder foundations absorb oils that would otherwise clog pores.  If you prefer a liquid foundation look for one that is non-comedogenic.

Myth: Sunscreen Clogs Pores

A little sunscreen education…There are 2 types of sunscreen: chemical sunscreen, which absorbs UV light ( common ingredient include oxybenzone and avobenzone) and physical sunscreens, which reflect UV rays (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).  Some chemical sunscreens can irritate skin, cause inflammation and breakouts.  Sometimes the culprit is the base ingredients that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.  Physical sunscreens like zinc oxide can actually calm irritated skin while absorbing excess oil.  Look at your labels!

Myth: The sun makes acne better

Here is the bottom line with sun as explained by Dr. Germain, Exposure to sunlight may reduce inflammation in your body and since acne is an inflammatory process, you may initially see a decrease in breakouts.  BUT, over time sun breaks down the skin’s collagen ( collagen is what keeps our skin firm), and then pores have less support and they can appear larger leaving clogged pores looking more obvious.  We also cannot forget about the correlation between skin cancer and sun exposure…need we say more?

Trust the Skin Health Experts