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Acne Facts and Fictions


Acne is far from an uncommon ailment. Many of us struggle with this harmless, yet aggravating condition. Fallacies about acne are abundant, as well. Hopefully this article will help you sort out the fact from the fiction.

Fact: Acne is caused by oil secreted by the skin

Yes, it is true that one of the major components of acne is oil secreted by sebaceous glands, which are found in the skin of all mammals.

Fact: Acne is caused by blocked pores

Yes, dead skin cells and excessive oil secretions combine to block the pores in the skin. These blocked pores then begin to grow the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. The body may then have an allergic reaction to these bacteria. These factors combine to cause an inflammatory response by your body, which is what we call acne.

Fiction: Acne is caused is caused by improper hygiene

While it is true that acne is caused by blocked pores, better hygiene cannot prevent acne. All of the scrubbing in the world cannot unblock or prevent the blocking of pores, because the blockage is well below the surface of the skin.

Fiction: Acne is caused by diet

While acne is caused by excessive oil secretions, changing your diet to exclude oilier foods is not likely to help. These oil secretions are not diet related, but hormonally controlled.

Fact: Acne is related to hormones

The causes of acne are largely controlled by hormones, so acne is often triggered by hormonal changes, such as puberty. Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause the excessive oil secretions, and other factors that are related to the causes of acne.

Fact: Acne may be caused by medications

Yes, there is evidence to show that Acne can be caused or triggered by certain medicines or chemicals, including Anabolic steroids, any medication that contains halogens, and exposure to high amounts of chlorine compounds.

Fiction: Acne is caused by smoking

Of course, we all know that smoking is associated dangerous and life-threatening risks and that smokers would do well to terminate the habit sooner rather than later, but the notion that smoking somehow causes acne is simply not true. It is true, however, that there are chemicals in tobacco smoke that are absorbed through the act of smoking and subsequently cause damage to the connective tissue beneath the skin. The end result? Wrinkles. And wrinkly skin certainly does not abet the impression of having fresh, healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Fiction: Inexpensive or "home" remedies just don't work

There are a few home remedies that you may discover work as well as some of the over-the-counter preparations you can buy from the drug store. Many of the over-the-counter acne medications contain benzoyl peroxide, which is a drying agent. While this works fine for some, others may find that benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin.

Generally, cutting back on the frequency of use and then building back up again is a way around the problem. But if this technique is not effective, products containing benzoyl peroxide may have to be avoided completely. In that case, here's an inexpensive solution: buy a bottle of Witch Hazel at the drug store. It, too, helps to dry those overactive oil-producing glands, but is milder and far less likely to cause irritation for people with sensitive skin. Also, a dab of toothpaste left overnight on a troublesome pimple can help to shrink the pimple more quickly.

Being able to sift through much of the erroneous information that circulates in the guise of "truth" can definitely help you to understand what you can do to avoid acne breakouts or, when avoiding them is impossible, the best approach to take regarding acne skin care treatment.

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