Truths and Myths of Acne

Posted on 18 Apr, 2018
Truths and Myths of Acne

ACNE affects about 80% of people at some point in their lives. It is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease involving the oil glands at the base of hair follicles. It can have a huge psychosocial impact on sufferers and can contribute to the development of depression or anxiety. It is not dangerous, but it can leave skin scars.

It is primarily caused by increased levels of androgen hormones, seen in puberty, that causes a number of changes in the skin:

1. Excess sebum (oil) production
2. Follicle plugging from cellular debris
3. Propionibacterium Acnes (P. Acnes) colonisation
4. Inflammatory cascade


Myth #1 – Acne Only Affects Teens
There are a lot of people who only get acne when they’re teens, but there are a lot of adults who also get acne. Between 40 to 55 percent of adults aged 20 to 40 get it. It is more common in adult women due to hormonal fluctuations, but men can also experience adult acne.


Myth #2 – You Have to Wash Your Face More Often

One of the biggest acne myths people believe is that acne and blackheads are caused by dirt. Blackheads are made up of oil, skin debris, and protein, and they don’t have anything to do with dirt.

Washing your face too often can actually make your acne worse because it irritates your pores and can strip away your skin’s natural oils. When you do that, your skin gets dehydrated and pumps out more oil, which leads to more acne. Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.

Myth #3 – The Sun Will Clear Up Pimples

In fact, spending time in the sun can be more damaging to your skin. It can decrease your immune system, breaking down your body’s defences for cancer and other skin problems.

Also, too much sun can cause pigmentation issues and wrinkles. While many people believe a day in the sun will clear up their skin, there is no scientific evidence that proves this.

If you are going to be in the sun, always make sure you’re protected with a SPF 30+ sunscreen. That is one of the most important things you can do for your skin, especially if you’ve recently had a skin procedure or treatment.


Myth #4 – Blackheads are Dirt Trapped in Pores
The truth is that you can get a whitehead or a blackhead when skin cells and sebum (oil) build up in your follicles. The reason blackheads are black is because they are open, which leads to oxidization of the materials in the skin pore. The dark colour  comes from oxidized keratin, a major structural component of skin.


Myth #5 – It’s Okay to ‘Safely’ Pop Pimples
The truth is that this is a bad idea. Popping a pimple can cause trauma and introduce additional bacteria into the lesion and increase inflammation. This makes the pimple worse and more likely to leave a dark mark as it heals and can cause scars.


Myth #6 – Acne is Infectious

This is very simply not true. Acne is not a type of infection or virus that can be passed on from person to person.


Myth #7 – Acne is Curable

Not yet, but don't lose hope as it can be managed. Unlike previous generations, today you can prevent and control acne with daily use of appropriate products.

Even if your blemishes go away, your acne is not cured. It's important to be diligent about your skin care routine, even when your skin is clear.


Myth #8 – Stop Wearing Makeup Because it Makes Acne Worse

This really depends on the type of makeup you wear. While some makeup products can aggravate your acne by clogging pores, others can actually benefit your acne. Usually, it’s determined by how thick or heavy the products you choose are.

For example, powdered foundations can actually absorb the oils in your skin that trigger acne. They’re light and don’t aggravate your skin. While makeup will temporarily hide your acne, it’s not going to treat it, and you can only hide it for so long.

Consider booking for an acne assessment and treatment.


Myth #9 – Acne is Caused by Certain foods

This is not a simple yes and no answer. Chocolate does not cause acne. You should know that scientists have recently found a connection between some dietary components and acne, and they are listed in the table below.


Dietary intake

Established causation?

High-glycaemic diet ( sugars and refined carbohydrates )


Dairy (skim or full cream milk)








Saturated fat


Source: Diet and acne: a review of the evidence


Eating healthy foods provides essential vitamins and minerals that nourish your skin, just as they do they rest of your body. Enjoy your fruit and vegetables as healthy skin starts from within.

The main beneficial micronutrients that help control and reduce acne are:

~ Omega 3 (fish, krill or flaxseed)
~ Vitamin B complexes
~ Zinc
~ Magnesium
~ Vitamin D
~ Vitamin C
~ Vitamin A
~ Probiotics