About eight in ten teenagers experience acne, and its impact can significantly erode self-confidence and negatively alter a young person’s outlook. Lisa Lowery, MD from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital adolescent medicine specialist has identified seven teenage acne misconceptions which may prevent your child from attaining clearer skin.
Teenage acne occurs when bacteria become trapped in oil glands due to hormonal fluctuations during puberty. Rinsing too frequently or over-scrubbing can strip away vital oils from the skin and worsen acne further.
1. Acne is caused by dirt
Teen movies and television shows often depict teenage protagonists looking in the mirror at just the right moment–when attending a school dance, dating their first date, or performing their big show–to discover that an acne breakout has appeared at that precise moment. Unfortunately, it’s no coincidence; acne tends to flare up more frequently during adolescence due to hormonal fluctuations causing widespread inflammation of pores.
Acne is the most prevalent skin condition worldwide and affects an estimated 85% of teens and young adults worldwide. Though acne can strike at any time in life, its most prevalent manifestation occurs during puberty when androgen levels spike and oil glands enlarge due to an influx of androgen; combined with dead skin cells and bacteria present, excess oil combines with dead cells clog pores causing acne breakouts to surface.
Myths about what causes acne are many, yet there is no single factor responsible. Chocolate, greasy foods, and dairy products have long been associated with breakouts; however, they generally don’t contribute to or make acne worse for most people. Sweat does not cause acne either but may increase bacteria on the skin after workouts that could result in pimples or blackheads forming on them resulting in additional pimples and blackheads forming on your body.
An excessive attempt at cleansing away acne by over-washing or scrubbing the face may actually exacerbate it, because too much washing strips the skin of its natural oils, prompting it to produce more oil in order to replace what was lost through excessive washing. Furthermore, over-washing may irritate and inflame the skin which increases acne severity – instead, it is recommended to wash twice a day using a gentle cleanser like soap or cleanser and water for best results.
2. Acne is a sign of poor hygiene
At the center of many movies and television shows involving teenagers is the image of an unfortunate teenager gazing upon themselves in the mirror before an important date, school dance, or show, gasping at their reflection to discover new pimples. While this is just another scene from fiction movies or shows, acne has real-life repercussions for self-esteem and mood, and can even cause permanent scarring over time. Though common among teens, adults can also suffer breakouts if their skincare routine falls behind.
Acne is one of the most prevalent skin conditions in America, affecting up to 80% of all individuals. While acne is most prevalent among adolescents due to hormonal shifts associated with puberty, it can affect people of all ages.
At one point in time, acne was often mistakenly associated with dirty skin; this perception may have stemmed from an inadequate understanding of this disorder. Contrary to popular belief, however, flare-ups do not originate due to dirt accumulation on your body, and too frequent washing or scrubbing could exacerbate flare-ups even further. Furthermore, certain cosmetic products may clog pores and lead to acne breakouts.
Acne is more common among teenage boys and girls, yet the skin condition can affect people of all ages; both sexes can experience it on the back, chest, or face. Acne can appear anywhere there are oil glands located; body acne tends to be much more persistent and uncomfortable than facial acne.
To reduce confusion around acne, we surveyed 2516 high school students about their beliefs regarding factors that may exacerbate or ameliorate it. This cross-sectional community-based study is the first of its kind that investigates commonly held acne-related beliefs among adolescents and compares them with available literature. Results will allow us to target misconceptions that arise most frequently among adolescents and provide effective recommendations accordingly; among these beliefs were: the use of cosmetics; harsh soap or chemicals used when washing faces and overzealous scrubbing can all lead to outbreaks. The three most widely held beliefs were related to these factors and contributed significantly toward breakouts of acne breakouts.
3. Acne is a sign of a poor diet
Teenagers experiencing puberty often become alarmed when they look in the mirror and spot a huge zit on their forehead, something often depicted on television and movie screens, yet is all too real in real life. Acne is the most prevalent skin condition worldwide and affects up to 85% of adolescents according to National Institute of Health data. Although acne appears during this crucial stage in development, its presence doesn’t always indicate poor hygiene practices or bad food choices.
Acne vulgaris is the type of acne most frequently experienced by adolescents. Tiny pores on the face, shoulders, and chest contain oil glands that produce sebum (SEE-bem), an oily secretion used to lubricate hair and skin. When sebaceous glands produce too much sebum it can clog a pore leading to acne – papules (small red bumps), whiteheads, and blackheads appear. Papules form when bacteria invade plugged pores while whiteheads develop when one gets clogged and then closes leaving its top surface darkened while blackheads remain open with its sebum becoming visible linings visible – each type presenting in various ways.
Diet and acne have an indirect relationship, though not in the way most people imagine. A high-glycemic diet (characterized by foods that rapidly raise blood sugar) may increase sebum production and worsen acne; conversely, low-glycemic foods have been proven to help alleviate acne through research studies.
Picking or scrubbing at acne can exacerbate it, so it’s best to let pimples heal on their own. But if your teenager wants to speed things up, a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide may help kill off bacteria that cause acne. Other medications available to treat it include antibiotics and retinoids to unclog pores.
If over-the-counter treatments don’t do the trick, consulting with a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin diseases) might help clear up acne faster. Teenagers should visit their dermatologist or family physician regularly for skin exams to detect potential problems before they worsen.