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Myths About Adult Acne

Frustrated. That is what best describes how most of my adult patients with acne feel.

Since 80% of teenagers have acne at some point, most of us have dealt with acne at some point. But that doesn’t mean we’re ok dealing with it as an adult.

To help deal with it better, let’s talk about some myths and facts.

Acne Myth 1: It’s unusual for adults to get acne.

unfortunately this is not true. Lots of adults get acne, 20-30% of men and 30-40% of women. So if you have acne as an adult, you are not alone. Adults get fewer whiteheads and blackheads, but get more lumps and bumps.

Acne Myth 2: If you eat the right foods you can make your acne go away.

There have been hundreds of studies looking at diet and acne. Nearly all have been terribly designed and the results nearly useless. Two reasonably well done studies showed that drinking a lot of milk or eating a high glycemic index diet made acne worse. The effect was small, about 20%. For the most part a 20% improvement in acne is a treatment failure-most patients want to see a lot more improvement than that. So just eat healthy and forget about any connection to your acne.

Acne Myth 3:  You need to wash more to get rid of your acne.

Or use the right 3, 4, or 15 step cleanser.  Or use the right brush, power sander, or oscillating thingy.

The fact is that you are more likely to make your acne worse by trying to wash more.  Once a day, MAYBE twice, is enough.  More than that definitely does not help.  Harsh cleansing is also very likely to cause irritation- irritation that can make mild acne into moderate acne, or worse.

Instead, your face washing regimen should focus on removing dirt, sweat, and makeup without traumatizing or irritating your skin.  Gentle cleansers like Purpose ($6-$8) are usually the very best for this.

Acne Myth 4: If you have acne you shouldn’t wear sunscreen because it will make your acne worse.

While it is true that some sunscreens will make your acne worse, there are still plenty of sunscreen that will not.  You just need to  find the right one for you.

Acne Myth 5: Acne is just a cosmetic problem.

The parts of the body affected by acne-your face-your chest-your back are the parts of your body most often exposed to others.  Adults who struggle with acne have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and social phobias.  This can affect relationships, job performance, families.  While just a common skin problem, acne can have far reaching effects.

Acne Myth 6: You can’t wear makeup if you have a breakout.

The bottom line is that there is no makeup that will make acne better and many types of makeup will make acne worse.  Thicker, heavier, liquid foundations tend to be the worst.  Lighter, mineral powders are less likely to be problematic.

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