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If you have acne, you’ve probably received unsolicited skincare advice from everyone from your concerned grandmother, to your nosy doorman. And while well-intentioned, sometimes bad advice is just that - bad advice. From old wives tales to pseudo-science acne cures, bad skincare advice can be dangerous for those with acne prone skin. Understanding what really helps, and hurts, your acne prone skin is essential for achieving clear skin.
In this article, we’re separating acne fact from fiction. Let’s debunk these popular acne myths so that the next time your grandmother tells you to get a sun tan to clear your acne, you’ll have the perfect, science-back comeback!
Myth #1: Getting sun will clear up your acne - False
If you’ve ever gotten sunburn, you are probably familiar with that temporary decrease in breakouts that immediately follows. A sun burn is just that - a burn. The top layers of skin are destroyed, causing a form of exfoliation. And while this will temporarily reduce breakouts and smooth skin texture, what’s bubbling underneath the skin’s surface is concerning.
Sunburns are extremely inflammatory. As we explained in our Acne + Inflammation article, inflammation is the root cause of acne. This inflammation is going to kick your sebaceous glands into overdrive, causing a cascade of breakouts in the coming days. So while a sunburn might give the appearance of clearer skin in the short term, it’s going to come back in full force in a few days time.
The sun also damages the DNA of our skin cells, causing oxidative stress, wearing our skin barrier and making it more susceptible to bacteria that causes acne. So next time you’re tempted to tan your face to get rid of those pesky whiteheads, double-up on the sunscreen instead!
Myth #2: Diet causes acne - True
The link between diet and acne has long been debated between dermatologists, dieticians, estheticians and acne sufferers. However, in the last several years, an undeniable amount of legitimate, peer-reviewed studies has proven that an inflammatory diet high in processed carbohydrates, sugar and dairy does in fact increase skin inflammation and acne causing hormones.
Specifically, a high-carbohydrate diet is the worst for acne prone skin. When we eat carbohydrates, whether its a salty potato chip or a sweet chocolate chip cookie, it raises our blood sugar. The pancreas secrets insulin to help bring our blood sugar back to a healthy level. The more times to force our bodies to secret insulin, the less insulin-sensitive we become. Overtime, continuously high insulin levels cause our bodies to create more acne-causing hormones like testosterone.
A balanced diet rich in fiber, healthy fats and protein is essential for clearing your skin. Read all about the best foods for acne here.
Myth #3: Acne is caused by dirt clogging the pores - False
Unless you’re rolling around the playground every day and not washing your face at night, the odds that there is literal dirt in your pores is slim to none. The idea that “dirty skin” is the cause behind acne is simply false.
When pores get clogged, its a build up of dead skin cells that get glued together by our oil. This sticky mixture gets trapped underneath layers of dead skin, leading to breakouts. There is no dirty involved.
Regular exfoliation is the key to keeping pores clear. Find your new favorite exfoliant here.
Myth #4: Acne is a teenage problem - False
Acne can affect anyone of any age at any time. For women in particular, changes in hormones that occur naturally as we age can spontaneously trigger acne at any age, even in our 30s, 40s and beyond (terrifying, right?)
If you feel like your biological clock is ticking and ticking and you’re still breaking out, cut yourself some slack. Acne is not just for teenagers. It is a legitimate skin condition that affects adults and can absolutely be controlled with a proper skincare regimen, regular facials and a balanced diet.
If you’re suffering from hormonal breakouts as an adult, we recommend this supplement to help reduce those acne causing hormones.
Myth #5: Wearing makeup everyday is causing your acne - False
Sometimes covering up your acne is simply non-negotiable. Acne can have traumatic effects on self-esteem and the thought of facing the world without your foundation and concealer be terrifying.
In truth, wearing makeup is probably not the root cause of your acne. So long as you’re not using pore-clogging ingredients and you are properly cleansing off your makeup at the end of the day, you can continue to make progress in clearing your skin while maintaining your self-confidence.
For a full breakdown on our Triple Cleanse Method to ensure total makeup removal, click here.
To check your makeup products for pore-clogging ingredients, click here.