Dr Johanna Ward’s 10 Acne Myths

Acne affects 80% of people at some point in their life, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the bane of teenagers.

Acne, which is caused by the body’s immune system creating an inflammatory response to bacteria that lives in the skin, does not discriminate against gender, age or race.

And because it’s so common, acne is not only the subject of much discussion, but also many myths. To clear up some of those myths, we spoke to Dr Johanna Ward, the leading skin specialist at the Skin Clinic Sevenoaks & Brentwood.

Acne is related to poor diet

Acne is actually caused by an excess of androgen hormones (male hormones) and is not thought to be due to poor diet or excess fats and oils in the diet. However, there are some recent clinical studies that suggest that there might be a link between acne and high dairy intake and diets with a high glycaemic load. (high carbs, high sugars) A well balanced and nutritionally healthy diet will generally help prevent acne and keep the skin in good health.

Acne is just a normal part of being a teenager

Acne is the commonest skin disorder and affects 80% of teenagers at some point. This doesn’t mean however that it is normal or that it should be ignored. Acne is a disorder of the sebaceous unit that can cause secondary scarring if left alone or ignored.  It is extremely important to get help for your acne at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid the risk of secondary scarring.  There are many safe and effective treatments for acne

Acne is due to poor skin hygiene

Acne is not due to poor skincare or hygiene. It is due to an imbalance of hormones. A good daily skincare routine will help you control your acne. A regime that involves daily gentle cleansing and some salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide products will help keep pores clear and free of blockages.

Sunbeds help clear acne

There is no indication for the use of sunbeds in the treatment of acne. Sunbeds have many harmful UVA and UVB rays and should not be used for acne. Blue light however is very helpful for acne and has been used for many years in dermatology to help treat and manage it. Blue light kills the bacteria that causes acne (Propionibacterium Acnes) and helps reduce localised skin inflammation. There is blue light in sunlight which is why the skin may improve in the summer months.

Moisturisers can make you break out

Moisturisers can make you break out if they are heavy and oily. However the skin needs daily hydration so its important not to avoid hydrators completely. The best moisturisers are those that are water based and oil free or have the words ‘non-comedogenic’ as these are designed especially for skin types that are susceptible to outbreaks. These kinds of oil free moisturisers can be used happily with acne and won’t make you prone to outbreaks.

Toothpaste can cure acne

There are many safe and effective treatments for acne but toothepaste isn’t one of them.  The best topical treatments are products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and retinols. These are all excellent at helping to control acne with relatively few side effects.

Regular scrubbing of the face will prevent acne

Scrubbing the face can make things worse for acne as the skin can easily scar. Bursting pimples can cause a lot of localised swelling and can also cause scarring. Cleaning the face regularly but without excessive scrubbing will help to keep acne under control.

Make up is bad for acne

Some make ups can definitely aggravate acne but nowadays we have mastered the technology of mineral and breathable makeup so make up can be worn without clogging up the skin and making acne worse. Look for a mineral, oil free.  or ‘non comedogenic’ make up, preferably with an SPF and you should be fine. Remember also to clean make up brushes as they can hold on to oil and bacteria.

Blackheads are full of dirt

Blackheads are not full of dirt but are simply blocked pores with oxidised sebum and skin debris in them.

Acne is just seen in teenagers

Acne for some people lasts well into their 30’s and 40’s. In fact some people never get acne until they reach adulthood. There are many great treatments that can help control and manage acne for all age groups. Clinically proven products include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinols, antibiotics and blue light.

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If you suffer from acne, and really want to get rid of spots, order your Lustre Pure Light device at Boots.com.

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