Persistent Acne Myths, Debunked!
For all the information we now have about the causes of acne, a number of inaccuracies persist, causing confusion and frustration in the pursuit of clear skin.
Here are some of the most common myths, busted one by one.
1. Poor Hygiene Causes Acne
"Blemishes are caused by dirty skin” seems to be an especially entrenched notion. In reality, washing your face several times a day or using strong cleansing agents will dehydrate your skin, which can trigger sebaceous glands to produce extra sebum (oil) in response.
Pores clogged with excess sebum and non-sloughed dead skin cells are what cause acne blemishes, not dirt. This is not to say that cleansing your skin isn’t crucial; a consistent routine of cleansing and exfoliating is absolutely essential.
Daily use of our Rescue Rebalancing Cleanser and Rescue Pore-Minimizing Toner can create an excellent foundation for clear skin. Adding our Defend Gentle Exfoliator a few times a week will help leave your skin refreshed and glowing.
2. Pimples Can Form Overnight
While this may seem the case when you wake up with a blemish that wasn’t there the night before, the fact is that a pimple can take anywhere from one to two weeks to develop, before it even reaches the skin’s surface! That’s why a consistent but not overzealous cleansing routine is so important, as it helps prevent blemishes from having the chance to form in the first place.
3. The Sun Helps Dry Out Acne
There’s actually a kernel of truth to this, in that UV radiation dries out your skin, which can effectively “dry out” blemishes. This may cause a chain reaction, however, in that your skin will likely produce more sebum (oil) to compensate for dehydration, thus contributing to one of the conditions that cause acne to form.
Better to stay off this roller coaster by wearing a high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen every day and keeping excessive sun exposure to a minimum.
Not only will you decrease the chance of triggering the development of more acne, but you’ll also protect your skin from the damage that can show up as skin cancer and wrinkles down the road.
4. Sweating Causes Acne
The good news is that sweating in and of itself doesn’t cause acne; sweat glands are completely separate from the sebaceous glands that produce sebum, and the act of sweating doesn’t trigger excess sebum production.
What can cause acne is the bacteria-rich conditions of your skin post-workout because it's usually covered by snug, occlusive clothing, like leggings, bike shorts, and even headbands.
When this environment exists and the clothing or other gear stays in contact with your skin for a while, it creates a moisture-rich breeding ground that can cause acne by blocking your skin with oil, dead skin, and bacteria.
As tempting as it may be to wrap-up your workout by lingering in the stretching area while scrolling through your Instagram feed, the best defense against acne is to get out of your sweaty clothing as soon as possible and wash the sweat from your skin.
If a shower isn’t immediately available, try using our Hydrate Refreshing Micellar Water for a no-rinse cleanse.
5. All the Delicious Things in Life Cause Acne
There’s one more belief about acne that’s neither entirely proven or disproven, and that’s the idea that junk food and/or chocolate can cause blemishes.
While there aren’t enough studies that come to an irrefutable conclusion, there’s some pretty compelling science to suggest that eating junk food (foods with a high glycemic index) certainly doesn’t help anything.
Why is this?
Sadly enough, pizza and cupcake deliciousness can cause blood sugar levels to rise too quickly, which also causes insulin levels to rise, and that could be bad news for those prone to acne.
That’s because insulin triggers androgen hormones—which everyone has varying levels of—to become more active, and androgen and hormonal mediators may influence the production of excess sebum (oil). What’s more, in studies, people on low glycemic diets have shown improvement of acne conditions!
So, even if there is an ongoing scientific debate to support a direct correlation between the consumption of junk food and acne, adapting a healthy diet with more vitamins, essential fatty acids and other nutrients that are important to skin health could prove a worthwhile experiment.
A healthy diet leading to healthy skin is definitely something we can get behind!
Let Go of the Myths and Embrace Consistency
Now that you’re armed with some hard facts, it’s important to remember that the key to clearer skin is consistency.
Whether it’s prescriptions from your dermatologist, vegan skincare essentials from Nuria or a combination of both, commitment to your daily regimen will eventually pay off in clearer, brighter skin.
About the author, Naomi Furgiuele
Naomi is the founder of Nuria and a self-professed nerd with a love for all things science and skin care. She’s had a hand in product development for some of the biggest global beauty brands in the business, gets some of her best ideas while out on a run, and loves her exfoliator almost as much as her awesome family.