ACNE- A four letter word that strikes terror in every heart. How often have you had a breakout just before an important event? And though a huge industry has been built because of this skin problem, many of us still suffer from it. 40-50 million people seek treatment for acne in the United States alone. And though the figure isn’t as high in Bangladesh, acne has been found to be the second highest cause for seeing a dermatologist in Asia.
So how can you deal with pimples? First of all, it’s important to clear all misconceptions regarding acne.
Acne is a cosmetic problem.
This is probably the most common myth and one of the worst. Pimples don’t just affect a person’s appearance but can be crippling to one’s self esteem. Plenty of men and women, teenagers and adults, suffer from actual depression or lowered regard for self due to pimples and the scars they leave behind. This is not something that can be treated by over the counter medications and cosmetics. The salesgirl at a departmental store can not correctly advise you to what you should be using on your face. See a dermatologist who specialises in acne. As dermatologists have to study about many skin diseases of which acne is just one; very few actually specialise in acne treatment. This is why many people are dissatisfied with the treatment provided by dermatologists. Ask around, find someone who you know treats people with acne effectively and then seek treatment.
Acne can be cured.
Unfortunately, those who have acne in adulthood will never be completely cured of it. Changes in hormones, diet, lifestyle and sleep patterns can cause a new zit to appear even after months of perfect skin. Often antibiotics that worked for you for a few years may not be so effective anymore. Pimples are caused by bacteria and they can become resistant to a certain type of ointment that worked well before. But that doesn’t mean you should lose hope. For many people just having a healthy lifestyle can prevent pimples. For those who have extra sensitive skin, maintain a regular skin cleansing and moisturising routine with products that work for you. Remember that with time your skin products also need to evolve and change. If your antibiotics don’t seem to be as effective after 1 year of use, you should see a dermatologist and try something different.
Leave them alone. They’ll clear up.
Haven’t we heard this innumerous times? Don’t touch your pimples or use anything on your face, your pimples will go away. For many, the pimples never do go away on their own. Often they spread from one tiny zit to many throughout the face. And when these “clear away”, they can still lead to permanent scarring. So why risk it? It’s best to seek treatment early on to reduce the severity of the problem.
You get pimples because you don’t wash your face enough.
Acne has nothing to do with with cleanliness. In fact, often people with severe acne usually wash their faces many times a day, stripping their skin of natural oils and increasing sebum secretion. This is what causes blocked pores, bacteria to multiply and pimples to develop. It is important to clean your face twice a day and always keep your skin free of makeup and dirt. But overdoing it is also a bad thing. This misconception leads to over-zealous scrubbing and toning which can further irritate sensitive skin.
You get pimples because you have sex.
A 17th century rumour probably started by parents to prevent pre-marital sex and masturbation. Acne appears around the same time as teenagers develop sexual maturity. In the west, and even in Bangladesh, this is also the time when youngsters start experimenting with sex. While puberty and its related hormonal changes are known to cause pimples, sex is not. There is no actual relationship found between the two. A product of the male sex hormone testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, can cause severe acne but these hormones are unrelated to sexual activity.
Morning after pills, also known as emergency pills or I-pills have been known to cause large and painful pimples. Birth control pills on the other hand, are often used to treat acne in those women who have hormonal imbalances and therefore rarely cause them.
Chocolate/Greasy food causes pimples
While no clear link has been found between junk food and acne, touching your face with greasy fingers after having French fries for instance can cause pimples. It has however been found that low sugar diets lead to lower levels of insulin, and this has some effect on your skin. Having too much sugar or salt can aggravate pimples but won’t cause them. This is why dermatologists usually recommend that you cut down on your sugar intake. Chocolate or cocoa have no link to acne.
Having a well-balanced diet and exercising help eliminate your body of toxins and make your skin look and feel better. This will improve the overall health of your skin but won’t eradicate pimples.
You can’t use makeup if you have pimples
It is essential to read the labels of beauty products before buying them. If you have acne-prone skin, buy products that are non-comedogenic (won’t block pores) and oil-free. Mineral makeup is often a better option in comparison to liquid foundation or cakey pancake makeup used at salons. If you have to go to a wedding, use makeup at home and not at the beauty parlour.
What is equally important is removing your makeup with proper makeup removers. Use clean cotton balls and try to wash with a face wash even after using makeup remover. Wash your hands with antiseptic soap before applying makeup. Keep your makeup applicators and brushes clean and replace them often.
Read more about acne .
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