Thursday, 27 July 2017

Acne Myths

Eating oily food causes acne?

Food and acne is always a hot topic. More than 10 reviews have been done in the last ten years on fatty food, sugary food etc. Rather than oily food, sugary food is more likely to be responsible for your acne.

Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea and Ache hunter-gatherers of Paraguay ate minimally processed plants and animals without typical carbohydrates and they have almost no acne!

Have you ever heard of the term Glycemic Index? Glycemic index described how much your blood sugar increases with a portion of carbohydrate. The higher the glycemic index of a food, the higher your blood sugar goes after eating it, and your sebaceous glands will produce more skin surface triglycerides and the more likely it is for acne to erupt.

What about milk and diary products?

Many observational studies suggested that the more milk you drink, the more likely it is for you to get acne in the same manner as taking high glycemic index food. Observational studies, however, are not strong studies with good design. We can only conclude that until better studies are carried out in the future, the evidences are not enough to ask all acne patients not to drink milk or take diary products.

Bad facial hygiene gives you acne?

Contrary to popular beliefs, washing your face too hard, particularly with scrub, gives you more acne (and we called it acne mechanica).

When you wash your face too much, you might remove all the protective oil on your face leading to dry skin. I usually tell my patients not to wash their face more than twice a day, and use a gentle face wash instead of strong ones that leaves your skin feeling tight and dry after using.

Make-up can cause acne?

Wearing thick make-up that clogs the pores and failure to remove make-up completely can cause acne (and we called it acne cosmetica). Look for the label "non-comedogenic" if you are worried. Also nowadays, many manufacturers actually added anti-acne medications such as benzyol peroxide and salicylic acid into the products. Tinted benzyol peroxide concealers might help to treat your acne while concealing it at the same time.

Stress causes acne?

No and yes. No becaurse there isn't enough scientific evidence yet. Yes because theoretically stress affects your hormones (more cortisol that activates the sebaceous glands) and can be the cause of your acne. In reality many patients do report their acne worsens when they are preparing for major exams. Perhaps exactly the same reason why some girls have acne every month before having their menses.

Sex causes acne?

Well, I have no idea where this myth starts from. To prevent teenagers from having sex perhaps?

Acne is a teenage issue?

False. Although more common among teenagers, acne can affect people in their middle age too.

Acne should not be squeezed or popped?

Squeezing an immature acne can gives you scar. Squeezing an acne incompletely or without hygienic measures may get it infected or spread it to surrounding skin too. However, squeezing a mature acne can actually reduces pain, infection and initiate healing earlier. Proper method of squeezing without picking on the skin should have low risk of leaving you a scar.

Apply toothpaste onto acne helps to heal it faster?

Toothpaste does not contain any ingredient to heal acne, and sodium lauryl sulphate in the toothpaste may not do any good to your skin. Perhaps it helps to dry up existing acne? I'm not too sure about that.

Sun tanning helps to heal acne?

False. Many skin conditions get worse under the sun and acne is just one of them. Apart from that it puts you at risk of skin cancer too. Use a good sunscreen that is non-comedogenic especially under the hot sun of Malaysian weather.

Probably this is why dermatologists always talk about sun protection, sun protection and SUN PROTECTION! Upcoming next post will be on choosing the best sunscreen. I hope my take on choosing the best sunscreen offers a little extra information than what you can easily google from most skin care sites out there. :)

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