Acne affects all of us at some point in our lives, and while it can be more severe for some than others, it’s still never a welcome addition to our skin. Learning how to tackle your acne starts with understanding what kind of acne you have, and breaking fact from fiction with some myths about the common skin ailmet. We reached out to dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett from DLK on Avenue explain everything we need to know, once and for all!
Pimples, Blackheads and Whiteheads Unregulated sebaceous glands are the root cause of acne which can manifest in active papules, blackheads and whiteheads. It’s estimated that approximately 70 percent of North Americans will suffer from some type of acne throughout their life. Someone may have had great skin as a teen, but breakout as an adult, or vice versa.
Generations of Acne If dealing with your teen’s acne wasn’t bad enough, you may be in store for your own pimple problem. Regardless of when it strikes, both adult and teenage acne develop because of an overgrowth of oil in the sebaceous glands and an abnormal shedding of keratinocytes (skin cells) in the duct of the oil gland/ hair unit which cause pores to clog. This process creates sebum which feeds p.acnes bacteria in our skin which is what materializes into what we know as pimples.
Adult Acne Vulgaris Active papules, blackheads and whiteheads are indicators of adult acne vulgaris also referred to as adult acne. The most common factors that contribute to adult acne are hormones (pregnancy or menopause), medications, the incorrect use of skin care products, cosmetics, stress, environmental pollution and inappropriate treatments such as extractions or aggressive facials. In addition, since hormone levels fluctuate throughout the month especially in women, there can also be a corresponding fluctuation in the flare up of acne.
Teenage acne is often directly associated with hormonal fluctuations such as the rapid increase in hormone production from puberty. Hormones affect oil production in different ways, for many this results in clogged pores for the first time in their lives. The hormones that are produced in the ovary or those associated with pregnancy or those related to the birth control pill can also affect oil production in teens.
Acne Cosmetica This type of acne is directly related to using products which are not appropriate for acne prone skin. This can be cleared by having a proper dermatological consultation and establishing what the correct products for your skin are, and how and when they should be used.
Acne Conglobata The condition of Acne conglobata is the result of acne cysts and nodules growing together deep beneath the surface of the skin. Over time this type of acne can causes significant and oftentimes traumatic scarring.
Acne Fighting Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl Peroxide can reduce sebum production and act as an anti inflammatory. Found in acne treatment creams Salicylic Acid: Also referred to as beta hydroxy acid (BHA), is an exfoliant that can be found in peel products. Glycolic Acid and Mandelic Acid: Used as ingredients in skin care to exfoliate dead skin cells and can be found in acne cleansing products.
Myth #1: Eating junk food causes acne.
Skin reflects your overall health, so if you have poor diet and lack nutrition, your skin will reflect this. If you follow a healthy diet and indulge in the occasional chocolate bar, the good news is that this is not going to cause acne. However, if all you ate were chocolate bars, you’d have a very poor diet and your skin would not look its best.
What you can do: Eat vegetables and fruits, anything with minerals and vitamins in them. Thick, green leafy vegetables and orange fruits have lots of antioxidants which are very good for skin.
Myth #2: Squeezing pimples can make them heal faster.
If you like to pop it’s time to stop. Extractions are an outdated method of treating acne. Squeezing or any method of traumatizing pimples can lead to increased inflammation, infection, scarring and cyst formation so do not squeeze, pick or manipulate your skin!
Myth #3: Teen acne and adult acne are the same thing.
Adult acne can be even more difficult to treat and can last longer!
Myth #4: Washing your face more often helps fight acne.
Most patients with acne have adequate hygiene. Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous [hair and oil] duct unit and is not based on cleanliness.
Myth #5: Toothpaste is a great DIY way to treat acne.
People believe toothpaste will dry out acne and make it disappear. While it may have a drying effect, it could be an irritant to the skin and can cause a contact dermatitis.