Bust Those Acne Myths!

acne treatments at RITUAL skin clinics in Hampshire

We’ve talked before about the causes of acne. RECAP – Sebum (the natural oil that the skin produces) gets stuck underneath the skin causing pimples and sometimes inflammation.

Acne affects 75% of 11 – 30 year olds so the chances are that you have been affected by acne at some point in your life.

And although the most common skin condition in the world, it doesn’t diminish the devastating effect on self-esteem and confidence that it can have, particularly during those uncertain teenage years.

The good news is there are several effective treatments out there! The problem is, they are intermingled with myths, old wives' tales, and quite frankly some untruths and bogus products.

So here’s where I’m trying to help. 

By busting some of those myths and giving you some key ingredients to look out for in the products that you are buying.

Acne only happens during puberty – MYTH. Adult acne is more prevalent now than ever, and just like acne during teenage years it affects women more commonly then men.

Dirty skin cause acne – MYTH! Acne is caused by excess sebum production getting trapped underneath the skin. It has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene.

Acne is genetic – FACT. We think. We don’t know the exact figures, but some studies suggest that 80% of acne cases are caused by inherited genes.

Poor diet causes acne – MYTH. Whilst diet and lifestyle can have an impact, the causes of acne as are above. Eating chocolate does not necessarily cause spots, it is a well disputed and controversial topic. I believe it is the dairy in chocolate that causes spots. There is evidence to suggest that dairy and foods with a high GI index can aggravate acne so cutting out these foods will improve your skin condition.

Exfoliate your skin every day – MYTH. Be kind to your skin. Over exfoliating with harsh products will aggravate your skin. It will disrupt the barrier function, preventing it from being able to protect itself, and delaying it’s healing capacity. In addition, over-exfoliating will strip the skin of the necessary oils being produced, so what happens? The skin reacts. It starts over-producing sebum. This results in sebum getting stuck underneath the skin, and spots! Exactly what we were trying to avoid in the first place.

So what can we do?

There are an awful lot of products on the market, and it’s difficult to know what will suit your skin without talking to a professional skincare therapist. 

(And I’m not talking about the sales assistant who was given half a day training and is now selling expensive creams and serums based on one glance of your skin. I’m talking about skincare professionals who work with skin day in day out, who understand how the skin is made up, who can evaluate your skincare routine and identify where you can make dramatic improvements with simple steps.)

To help you out when faced with a myriad of cleansers, serums, moisturisers and gels, the key ingredients to look out for in the products that you are buying are:

Benzoyl Peroxide – This helps to dry out pimples AND prevent new ones forming by slowing down the production of sebum.

Salicylic Acid – This helps to exfoliate the skin which prevents pores getting clogged. You don’t need to use this everyday, remember be kind to your skin.

Azelaic Acid – Growing in popularity, I’m a big fan. This strengthens the cells that line the follicles which stops sebum eruptions and reduces growth of bacteria.

My other top tip is to drink plenty of water. I know I harp on about it a lot but it really does help.

I hope that has given you some useful information. Remember you can pop in for a skin consultation if you ever need any advice. We’re a friendly bunch at RITUAL, you needn’t be self-conscious or worry about being judged with us, so do get in touch.

By the way, if you have suffered with acne, you are more likely to go on to develop Rosacea. I suffer with this incurable skin condition myself, you may well have seen flare-ups across my cheeks at times as I try to manage this very challenging skin condition.