Acne is something that can happen to everyone, from preteens to adults. With the most common skin condition in the United States comes many facts – and myths – about the causes and treatments of acne. Here are a few facts about acne that may surprise you and make you rethink your next breakout.
There is only ONE way to get a pimple.
To put it simply, a pimple is the result of blocked pores or hair follicles where bacteria develops. A pore gets clogged from the combination of oil glands overproducing oil and the buildup of dead skin cells, which produces a breakout. However, while this is the root cause of acne, other factors can make breakouts worse. Things like hormones, stress, diet and exercise, environmental factors, and genes can affect the intensity of a breakout. Things you might not even realize, like a dirty pillowcase or cell phone, are full of acne-enhancing dirt, oil, and bacteria.
There are several types of pimples.
Pimples actually come in six different forms. Blackheads and whiteheads, probably the most well-known, are slightly raised bumps resulting from blocked pores (dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria buildup). Pustules are bumps topped with white or yellow pus and a red base, and papules are hard, raised bumps that might be tender. These two types are slightly larger bumps caused by blocked pores that become irritated. Even more painful and larger are nodules and cysts, deeper pimples that require dermatologist treatment.
Acne and Diet
Although there is little evidence that specific foods, like chocolate or fried foods, cause breakouts, diet does play a crucial role in your skin’s health. Too much sugar or grease can definitely worsen an existing breakout; keeping hydrated and eating healthy will help your overall wellness and can improve the appearance of your skin.
Sun exposure –good or bad?
While getting a tan does a good job at making a breakout less noticeable, too much sun can actually worsen acne and pose a danger to your skin. More than 10-20 minutes in the sun unprotected can darken acne scars and cause more breakouts to appear. UV rays cause drying of the skin, and can lead to premature aging and skin cancer, so always use sunscreen.
Washing your face will not prevent breakouts.
Often times we link acne to an unclean face, but the truth is that washing your face several times a day will not keep you from breaking out, and won’t do much to clear up existing breakouts. Over-washing and over-exfoliating irritates and dehydrates your skin, causing it to produce more oil, so go easy your skin!