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Seven Acne Treatment Myths (and What to Do Instead)

Seven Acne Treatment Myths (and What to Do Instead)

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Acne is one of the most embarrassing, annoying problems a person can have. Left untreated, it can literally destroy a people's confidence and change the way they see themselves. Once-outgoing people can become reclusive and withdrawn, preferring to stay inside than put themselves in situations where people can see them. Many have found themselves saying, "I would give anything to just get rid of it." Unfortunately, there are a lot of acne treatment myths out there that can actually make the situation even worse. So if you're serious about clearing up your face, here are seven acne treatment myths you should be aware of, along with some common-sense alternatives to those treatments.

Myth #1 - "You need to wash your face more."

It's true; keeping your face clean is critical to clearing up acne. Unfortunately, many people who hear this begin washing their face three, four, or even five times a day, apparently thinking, "the more, the better." What they don't realize is that this can actually make the problem worse. Excessively washing and scrubbing your face only irritates the skin and makes breakouts more likely than if you just left it alone. The far safer and more effective approach is to wash your face twice a day: once when you wake up, and once before you go to bed. This clears away any dirt or oil that has accumulated without unnecessarily irritating your skin.

Myth #2 - "You need to use gels, masks, and creams to clear up your face."

Again, this can actually worsen the very problem you are trying to solve. While gentle exfoliating creams can help break up and clear away dead skin, most facial products do more harm than good. This is especially true of anti-bacterial soaps or scrubs, which irritate your skin and pave the way for more breakouts. As you will soon learn, the cleanliness of your face is only part of the reason you have acne. So instead of overdoing it, stick to one gentle soap (such as Ivory) and ditch the other stuff.

Myth #3 - "You have acne from eating greasy foods."

While greasy foods can contribute to acne, it may have less to do with it than you think. The real problem might be a fiber deficiency, which makes it harder for your digestive system to filter toxins out of your bloodstream. If this is the case, your acne willnot disappear no matter how clean your face is. Luckily, there are steps you can take to remedy this. For starters, you should work more fiber into your diet immediately. Green veggies, whole-grain pasta or bread, and flax seed oil will do the trick just fine. Aim for 25mg per day of fiber intake.

Myth #4 - "Acne is caused by stress."

There is actually little scientific evidence to support a connection between stress and acne. There is, however, a small grain of truth in this myth. While stress will not cause or worsen acne, lack of sleep can. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, "A lack of sleep increases inflammatory cytokines. This helps explain why pain flare-up occurs in response to sleep deprivation in various disorders." In other words, not getting enough sleep increases inflammation, which is a major cause of acne. Get your doctor-recommended eight hours every night, and you can scratch this potential cause off the list!

Myth #5 - "You just have to let acne go away on its own."

It's true that some outbreaks of acne, for some people, will go away on their own. Many people count on this happening and take no proactive steps, but this is not advised. Left untreated, acne can cause scarring and literally change the way people see themselves by lowering their self-esteem. Instead of just waiting for it to go away, see a dermatologist and begin a comprehensive treatment plan to get rid of it.

Myth #6 - "My parents had it, I have it, there's really nothing I can do about it."

While acne can indeed be genetically influenced, it is not impossible to get rid of. One sure way to slow down the spread of acne is to not touch your face, as difficult as this may be for some people. Even if you have disciplined yourself not to pick at pimples, you may still be touching your face, for the sole reason that you are so self-conscious about its condition. But resist you must, for hand-to-face contact introduces more bacteria into the skin. Also, try to change your pillowcase once a week. This way, the dirt and oil that gets trapped there can't sabotage all your good habits while you sleep.

Myth #7 - "Tanning will clear up my skin."

Again, we find a small morsel of truth wrapped inside a much bigger falsehood. What moderate sun exposure will do is break up dead layers of skin, allowing you to clear them away so dirt and oil cannot build up under them. Unfortunately, excessive sun exposure can damage and irritate your skin. For this reason, you should not view tanning as a serious or long-term acne treatment solution.

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