Acne is a common condition that causes blocked pores, pimples, cysts and other lesions on the skin of the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. While teenagers are often affected, adults of any age can suffer from acne. Acne is not life-threatening, but can lead to scarring of the skin and and emotional distress.
Acne develops on the skin when the pores become clogged, which may occur as a result of an overproduction of oil, a buildup of bacteria or shedding of dead skin cells that irritate the pores and hair follicles. When these substances build up in the hair follicle, they form a soft plug that forces the follicle wall to bulge and protrude from the skin, causing a lesion to develop. The cause of excess oil production is unknown, but is believed to be caused by a combination of several factors, including hormones, bacteria, heredity and in some cases, the use of certain medications.
Common Misconceptions About Acne
There are many myths related to the cause of acne. It is important to know that certain factors do not affect acne at all. Myths about acne vary from the foods that are eaten to hygiene techniques.
Acne is Caused by a Poor Diet
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate, greasy and fatty foods do not cause acne. This is pure myth. Scientific studies have not found a connection between diet and acne. Acne is the result of clogged skin pores, which does not occur because of something you ate. While these may not be the healthiest food choices, they will not produce acne on the skin.
Acne is Caused by Poor Facial Hygiene
It is a myth that frequent face washing prevents acne. While washing the face with a gentle cleanser once a day is recommended, vigorous washing and scrubbing of the skin can irritate and dry out the skin. Patients are much better off visiting the doctor for a topical remedy to prevent acne flare-ups without harming the skin.
Acne is Best Left Untreated
Some mild cases of acne may resolve on their own without any type of intervention. However, for many people, acne will get worse over time and sometimes cause scarring. A dermatologist can provide a full range of treatments that can treat acne quickly and easily.
Stress Causes Acne
Normal every-day stress does not cause acne. There is no scientific evidence that acne is caused by stress.
Picking at or Popping Pimples is the Best Way to Get Rid of Acne
Picking or popping pimples can push germs further under the skin which causes more redness and sensitivity. This may also result in an infection. In addition, popping pimples often results in permanent scarring of the skin.
While acne is not a life threatening condition, it can affect the way people look, causing permanent physical scars, which in turn, may cause mental distress to many people who are affected. People who may suffer from acne are encouraged to consult with a dermatologist as there are several effective treatment methods available to help improve the appearance of the skin and prevent future breakouts from occurring.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine
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