Acne also known as pimples or zits – is a totally normal part of growing up. Teens get acne because of changes that occur during puberty, the time when our body begins the many changes that turn us into adults.
When you got your first pimple, you probably took off running to ask your parent, older brother or sister, or friend what you should do. But before you take their advice and pop that pimple, you should know that there’s a lot of information about acne out there that’s just plain wrong. Let’s clear up some common myths about acne – and maybe even your skin is in the process!
Myth: Popping your pimples is the best way to get rid of them.
Fact: Step away from that mirror! Some people might tell you that popping your zits will make them less noticeable and help them heal faster, but they’re wrong. Picking or popping your pimples pushes germs further under your skin, which could cause more redness, pain and maybe even a nasty infection. And popping zits can lead to scarring, which could last forever.
If pimples always seem to show up at the wrong time, like before a big event such as a dance, talk to your parent about paying a visit to your doctor who specializes in treating acne called a dermatologist. A doctor can help get your acne under control.
Myth: Eating fried foods or chocolate can cause acne.
Fact: Nope – that candy bar that you had last night or that slice of pizza at last week’s sleepover isn’t responsible for the pimple that showed up on your face today. What you eat isn’t the cause of acne, but that doesn’t mean you should pig out on junk food. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products (as described in the Food Guide Pyramid) will make you feel good and keep the rest of your body healthy and strong.
Myth: Stress causes acne.
Fact: Are you worried that the big test tomorrow or that next week’s championship game will cause your skin to break out? Don’t worry – the normal everyday stress of being a teen doesn’t cause acne. If you’re going through a especially stressful period in your life, your skin may produce more oil, also known as sebum, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get more zits.
Myth: You can get rid of acne by washing your face more.
Fact: Washing your face regularly is a good idea because it helps remove dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt from your skin’s surface. But overwashing or scrubbing your skin too hard can dry out and irritate your skin, which only makes acne worse.
What’s the best skin care strategy? As a general rule, gently wash your face no more than twice a day with a mild soap or cleanser. After you’ve finished washing, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Steer clear of exfoliants or scrubs, which can irritate your pimples. Also avoid products that contain alcohol because they can dry out and irritate your skin.
Myth: If you want to avoid acne, don’t wear makeup.
Fact: Young skin looks great without makeup. But if you like cosmetics, be sure to choose products that are labelled “noncomedogenic” or ”nonacnegenic”. That means the product won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts. Some cosmetics even contain acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. If you are not sure, ask your parent or doctor.
Myth: If you keep breaking out, using more medicine will get your zits under control.
Fact: Do you know the saying “less is more”? It definitely applies to acne medication. Using too much medicine to zap zits can lead to dry, irritated skin. Whether you bought an acne product at your local drugstore, or you are using something prescribed by a doctor, be sure to follow the directions carefully.
Almost everyone has to deal with acne at some point – but the good news is that with the right facts and the proper acne treatment, you can help your skin and put your best face forward.