Statistics show that upward of 60 million Americans of all ages have some degree of acne. And the enduring myths concerning the condition, which essentially is the occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin, are seemingly almost as numerous. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions:

  1. Acne is only a teenage thing: Not so. According to results of a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, half of women in the US between 20 and 29 years old, 35 percent of women between 30 and 39 years old, and 26 percent of women between 40 and 49 reported having acne.
  2. Sun exposure improves acne: This myth has roots in the fact that exposure to sunlight may, indeed, reduce inflammation in the body and, after all, acne is an inflammatory process. But while a bit of a tan can help initially clear a complexion, over time, it breaks down the skin’s collagen. This means your pores have less structural support and are, quite literally, open to blemish-causing elements.
  3. Sunscreen and moisturizer cause acne: This may be true of one of the two categories of sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens, which absorb UV light, can irritate the skin, causing inflammation and acne breakouts. On the other hand, physical sunscreens, which reflect UV rays, may help to block or even kill acne-causing bacteria, particularly if they contain zinc oxide. As for moisturizer, dehydrated skin produces more pore-clogging oil than hydrated skin.
  4. The toothpaste trick zaps zits: This trick became popular because most toothpastes contain some amount of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, menthol, essential oils and triclosan, an additive that helps prevent bacterial contamination. Unfortunately, all of these ingredients also can irritate the skin or even cause a rash. So, you’re potentially trading one skin malady for another.
  5. Acne breakouts mean it’s time to ramp up cleansing: Yes, this can be true, particularly if you regularly head to bed without first removing makeup and cleansing your skin. But over-washing also can be a factor. Washing your face too often or too aggressively can strip your skin of its natural oils. Resulting dehydration triggers your body to overcompensate, producing more pore-clogging oils than it normally would and exacerbating acne problems.

If you’re dealing with persistent acne, Metropolitan Dermatology can help. Visit our Clark, Kearney, Teaneck, Jersey City, West New York or Staten Island location today.

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