Acne: despite how common it is, there are still a lot of myths out there. Here's a quick guide to separate the true from the false.
Only teens get acne
FALSE. It's true that teens are particularly prone to acne (90% of teens suffer from it at some point), but adults can get it, too. Even newborns can get acne for a short period, but it generally goes away on its own. Overall, about 20% of the Canadian population, all ethnic groups combined, has acne-prone skin.
Acne comes from dirty skin
FALSE. Acne is an inflammation caused by an excess of sebum, which clogs pores, creating the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish. It has nothing to do with hygiene. In fact, some people with acne think they should scrub their faces but in fact, that only makes things worse: the cleansing irritates the skin and removes the natural oils so the skin over compensates, creating even more sebum... and pimples! So don't go crazy! If you suffer from acne, wash your skin gently twice a day without soap or with a PH-neutral soap.
Pimples are a fact of life and there's nothing you can do about them
FALSE. For light to moderate acne, there are a number of over-the-counter products available. They contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, fruit acids or sulphur. But, because these products can take up to eight weeks to show results, you have to arm yourself with patience and resist the urge to pop your zits. Popping them won't make them go away and could cause scarring!
Sun dries up acne
FALSE. It's an easy myth to believe, because the sun's UV rays dry out lesions and tanning can help conceal imperfections. But the effects of the sun are short lived and the acne will likely come back... sometimes with a vengeance! What's more, because some acne treatments can make the skin photosensitive, exposure to the sun's rays is a bad idea. If you have to be out in the sun during acne treatment, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and make sure you choose a non-comedogenic formula to avoid clogging your pores.
Nutrition plays a role in causing acne
TRUE AND FALSE. To date, no scientific study has proven that junk food, alcohol, red meat or any other type of food causes acne. However, many people have noted that diets low in refined sugar and dairy products could help reduce acne in people who suffer from it regularly.
Avoid using makeup when you have acne
FALSE. While it is a good idea to let your skin breathe freely without foundation at least once a week, makeup can be a precious ally in helping you conceal redness and imperfections, provided you use the right products: opt for oil-free and non-comedogenic products and mineral powders. Make sure you keep your makeup brushes clean and gently remove all makeup every evening.