We’ve all heard these well-established acne myths: that chocolate, fried foods, and stress are to blame, or that that acne can be resolved by putting toothpaste on your zits or getting a tan. The truth is that acne is an inflammatory skin condition, and you don’t need stronger products to reduce the appearance of blemishes. That’s why we’re debunking these commonly-held beliefs — and letting you know the steps you can take to address acne-prone skin.
What Is Acne?
Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the skin’s hair follicles and connected oil glands become clogged. Excess oil and dead skin cells clog pores, resulting in pimples that form on the face, back, shoulders, or chest. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans each year. Acne vulgaris is different from cystic acne, which is often caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance.
Common Myths About Acne
You may have heard advice like “oily skin types need to remove all oil from the skin” and “use the strongest active ingredients to treat acne.” How true are these statements, though?
Myth: Acne-prone skin doesn’t need moisturizer
Fact: Moisturizing can help oily skin remain balanced
Oily skin doesn’t equal hydrated skin. When you use a gentle moisturizer to lock in moisture, you’re helping bring balance back to the skin. To best care for your skin, moisturize after cleansing morning and night. Without moisture the sebaceous glands produce more oil, which then leads to a cycle of more breakouts. Oily skin is often dehydrated, and moisturizers contain humectants to bind water to the skin as well as occlusive ingredients to prevent transepidermal water loss. When the skin has ample moisture and hydration levels, the sebaceous glands are unlikely to produce excess oil, keeping the skin balanced.
Myth: Stronger active ingredients are more effective.
Fact: Stronger ingredients may damage the skin barrier, making acne worse.
Products with strong ingredients can reduce the appearance of acne in the short-term. But over time, they can ultimately end up making acne worse. Stronger ingredients can damage the skin barrier, which creates a protective layer on the surface of your skin. When the barrier is damaged, it can disrupt the trillions of microorganisms that make up your skin microbiome. Without the protection of good bacteria, inflammation increases and acne can get worse.
Myth: Only teenagers experience acne
Fact: Adult acne affects up to 22% of women
It’s true that many teens experience acne. An estimated 85% of teenagers have acne vulgaris. But acne impacts all age groups, and studies show that incidences of adult acne are increasing. You’re not immune from acne breakouts whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. People who experienced acne as teenagers may experience it again as adults. Hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause can also result in adult acne.
Living with adult acne isn’t easy in our appearance-obsessed society. With such emphasis on youthfulness and beauty, the effect of acne on self-esteem can increase with age. Know that you aren’t alone, and that seeking treatment can help.
Myth: Removing all oil from the skin will result in fewer breakouts
Fact: While acne-prone skin tends to overproduce oil, stripping the skin of all oils will exacerbate the condition.
Your skin’s natural oil serves a purpose: to protect your skin. When the oil is stripped, it can break down your protective barrier, throw off your pH, and leave the skin susceptible to an overpopulation of bad bacteria. The result? More breakouts.
That’s why stripping the skin isn’t the answer to an acne problem. Protecting and nourishing your skin’s protective barrier is.
Myth: Eating chocolate causes acne
Fact: The connection between food and acne breakouts is hazy at best
Chocolate and other foods have long been blamed for acne breakouts. Various research studies exist that both support and deny the idea of chocolate as an acne trigger. But there’s no concrete evidence that shows food alone is responsible for pimples, and it’s hard to isolate food from other possible variables and triggers.
That’s not to say diet can’t or won’t affect your acne. However, identifying one food like chocolate as an acne trigger is a lot more difficult than it may seem.
Facts About Acne: Where to Turn?
Putting acne myths behind you and understanding the science of your skin will help you determine how best to address adult acne.
Stripping the skin with harsh ingredients is counterproductive. Moisturizing is a must, and adult acne is a lot more common than you think.
Balancing the skin microbiome is an often overlooked way of treating acne. It doesn’t take harsh ingredients, a stripping of the skin’s protective oils, or even a prescription to do. Gladskin Blemish Gel with Micreobalance® works with the skin — instead of against it — to help restore balance to your microbiome and dramatically reduce the appearance of blemishes.