There is more fiction than fact on the internet about many things- including acne! Let’s clarify some common untruths about acne!
Myth #1- “Exfoliating with scrubs will help clear acne.”
With names like “blackhead eraser” and “pore minimizing scrub,” who wouldn’t want to try one to treat their acne? But unfortunately, the names don’t deliver, and using harsh scrubs for sensitive acne-prone skin will typically only cause further irritation and inflammation. It may “feel” good to you, but it isn’t helpful for your skin or acne.
Myth #2- “Acne always goes away on its own.”
Unfortunately, some forms of acne do require treatment. The hardest part is not knowing when acne will go away for any individual person, and waiting to address it can lead to discoloration, staining and even scarring. Adult acne is not uncommon, and we have very effective ways to treat it in the office.
Myth #3- “Acne is caused by or worsened by dirty skin.”
No, it’s not. Acne has multiple factors at its root, but dirty skin isn’t one of them. Hormones, genetics, and inflammation leading to changes in pores, oil production and skin shedding are all part of the picture. Neither under-cleansing nor over-cleansing is good for the skin, but it isn’t the cause behind developing acne.
Myth #4- “Popping pimples is an effective strategy.”
Untrue. Popping pimples often leads to a more noticeable blemish, and more so, can risk leaving a scar or a very longstanding red or brown spot. Coming up with a treatment plan to both treat and prevent pimples is ideal, and doing our best to be hands-off is really important.
Myth #5- “If I cut out dairy, my acne will vanish.”
We wish it were this simple. Unfortunately, the relationship between diet and combatting acne is much more complicated. Hormones in dairy and meats (both natural and added synthetic ones) can play a role for some people but not all. Any foods that increase our insulin or insulin-like hormones could all possibly impact acne- and that is a very long list!
What is Acne?
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions there is affecting millions of teens and adults, yet only about 10% of sufferers seek professional help. It affects boys, girls, men and women. It is characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and even cysts. These problems occur when oil and dead skin cells park themselves in your skin’s hair follicles, often leading to inflammation.
Acne doesn’t just appear on your face, either. It can develop on your shoulders, neck, chest, and back. Acne can be frustrating and affect self-esteem, so let us help you or your loved one gain control of it!
Acne affects many adolescents, tweens, and teens. The sooner you start a skin regimen, the less likely the acne is to leave marks or even scar. Acne often gets worse over time, especially through puberty, and then it can get harder to treat. Social media has led to a big fear of missing out and many trends that lead to overusing products and even using products that are not safe for the face. It is hard not to fall into the “skin product buffet” trap, but different people can have different types of pimples, so treatment is not one size fits all! And it does take commitment because there is no “cure,” and often, treatment needs to be ongoing.
There can also be different triggers for different people that we can help sort through, even though hormones are the biggest bottom line. Did you know skim milk may trigger more acne than 2% milk? Did you know some protein supplements could worsen acne? Even some medications can trigger acne. Most importantly, finding the right regimen only involves a few steps and some good coaching that we love to provide!
Do Adults Develop Acne?
Yes, they do! Contrary to what some people may think, acne doesn’t only affect teens. Many adults, women and men, suffer from acne.
Each adult patient’s case is unique, as there are various causes of acne and the different ways it can manifest. A 40-year-old’s acne — and the solutions to treat it — might be very different from a 16-year-old’s, for example.
What Causes Adult Acne?
Acne can be persistent and is caused by a combination of things:
- Hormonal shifts
- Refined carb and sugar-heavy diets
- Heredity (genes!)
- Some medications
- Certain supplements and steroids
Adult acne can particularly affect women as they undergo a major hormonal shift each month with their menstrual cycles. And as we get older, new stresses emerge on a regular basis.
We at DermPhysicians of New England employ diverse treatments that are customized to your skin’s needs and your goals. These include:
- Helping you navigate over-the-counter products
- Topical medications- and there are many new ones over the past two years!
- Internal prescription medications, both antibiotics and non-antibiotics, including hormonal and nonhormonal alternatives
- Corticosteroid injections for cysts as they appear (always at the worst time!)
- Laser treatments for acne scarring or redness
- Chemical peels
Topicals work with religious use, medications work systemically, and corticosteroid injections shrink cysts quickly, lowering your chances of scarring. Many times, we find people are using too many products and maybe not the right ones; this is easy for us to figure out!
If you’re struggling with acne at any age, we can help you execute a treatment plan that clears your skin! Let’s make sure you are using the best cleanser, appropriate moisturizer, and any useful over-the-counter products or prescriptions- we have you covered!!