11 Acne Myths Exposed!

Serious Acne Care 101 with Rob Hardwicke, President and Product Master at Awakening Skin Care

This article is Part I in a two-part series about treating acne without medication. Read Part II here.

Acne is a very common and very troubling skin condition. Not only is it uncomfortable, but in a culture that idolizes perfect bodies and perfect skin there can be a lot of acne-related psychological damage as well. In my opinion, some of the most damaging acne-related issues are not its effects, but its causes. I don’t mean it’s REAL causes. I mean all the nonsense out there – all the myths about acne that either do nothing to help—or which actually make acne breakouts worse. Today’s edition of Awakening’s Serious Skin Care is dedicated to exposing these myths for what they are – nonsense. And as a treat, I’ll be exposing one last myth… as truth!!

Okay, let’s get started.

Myth #1 — Poor Hygiene Causes Acne

This is one of those old wives tales about pimples that just isn’t true. Pores don’t absorb dirt and other impurities, causing the skin to “react.” Actually, increased hormonal activity causes the sebaceous glands to secrete oil through the pores, and increase the rate at which dead skin cells are shed. The excess skin cells combines with the oil to form a kind of plug that clogs your pores. So play in the dirt if you want! Your parents will hate you for it, but it won’t make your acne any worse.

Myth #2 — Dirt Causes Blackheads

It kind of makes sense, right? After all, a blackhead LOOKS like a little bit of dirt caught in a pore, so they must come from dirt. The truth is, blackheads and whiteheads are basically the same thing in different locations. A blackhead is an enlarged plug that has come up to the surface of the skin, while a whitehead is the same plug, stuck beneath the surface of the skin. The best thing you can do for blackheads is to use a high-quality Dead Sea mud masque, which will not only pull oil and dead skin cells from your pores, but will naturally fight the bacteria that can make acne worse.

Myth #3 — Eating Greasy Foods Causes Acne

French fries. Pizza. Ice cream. Chocolate. If you’re an American teenager, these aren’t just food, they’re the Four Food Groups. “You want me to give that stuff up?!” Nope. One of the most common misconceptions about acne is that there is somehow a connection between eating greasy food and oily skin. This makes about as much sense as turning green if you eat too much broccoli. There just is no physiological connection between fat in your digestive tract and oil on your face (see Myths #1 & 2 above). So if you love fries and chocolate and milkshakes, you might want to try some moderation – but don’t expect it to reduce your acne breakouts (your heart will thank you, though—and so will your full-length mirror!).

That said, there may actually be something to the idea that diet can affect your skin. One thing that we DO know is that hormones are a big (maybe the biggest) factor in acne breakouts. And while it is total nonsense that the grease from french fries or pizza will end up in your pores (unless you’re a REALLY messy eater), it is true that different foods have an impact on your hormonal activity. The biggest effect is from sugar and energy drinks. These substances will definitely do a number on your already overactive hormones, so if you’re experiencing a lot of acne breakouts, try eliminating caffeine and sugar for a month and see what happens. I suggest you take a second look at how many cans of energy drink you consume—there may be more bull in your tank than is good for you or your complexion. Having reassessed (and presumably reduced) your consumption of these types of rocket fuel, you might be pleasantly surprised to find yourself with clearer skin.

Myth #4 — Getting a Sunburn or Suntan will Clear up Acne

Okay, look. Getting a sunburn will NOT clear up your acne. Although tan skin may help to make your red pimples less noticeable, sunburn is damaging and irritating, and can end up making you MORE uncomfortable in the long run. What’s more, your oil-producing glands can go into overdrive as your body feels the need to start repairing your scorched parts—which probably is a lot more personal real estate than just your face. So if you’re going to go this route, just be sure to take it easy and avoid actually getting a sunburn.

Which isn’t to say that sunlight can’t help with acne. Actually, the right kind of light CAN help acne. Many people with bad acne and other skin conditions travel to the Dead Sea region in the Middle East, where the extremely low elevation and special atmospheric conditions allow them to spend many hours in the sun without getting sunburned. Medical research supports this, and there are even several “medical light” treatments available now. Unfortunately, they’re not guaranteed to work, but they ARE guaranteed to be really expensive (and not covered by your health insurance unless you happen to live in Germany).

Myth #5 — Masturbation Causes Acne

And blindness. And hairy palms. And eternal damnation. The less said about this brand of fear-inducing superstition, the better.

Myth #6 — Popping Pimples Makes Them Go Away Faster

No! Don’t do it! Although popping zits is a time-honored tradition among teens, this is the worst thing you can do for your acne. When you squeeze pimples, you can push bacteria down into the pores even further, making it that much harder for the acne to clear up. Worse, repeatedly squeezing pimples can cause scarring. I know how hard it can be, if you’ve got a lot of whiteheads on your face, but there are better ways to deal with this. Again, gentle washing and a good mud masque will help the process of pulling impurities out of your pores without the risk of making the problem worse. If the prom is approaching and your skin is a mine field, you should consider a visit with a dermatologist for professional intervention—just don’t wait until there’s only a day or two left until prom time since a visit with a skin doc can leave you pretty inflamed short-term (although better off longer-term).

Myth #7 — Makeup Causes Acne Breakouts

While it’s true that some makeup formulations are very hard on your skin and are made with questionable ingredients, the causes of acne are internal, not external (see Myth #2), so makeup or no makeup won’t make much of a difference. That said, there is a huge shift going on in the world of cosmetics, and you can do yourself a favor by using a high-quality mineral makeup. Mineral makeup is hypoallergenic, it won’t irritate your skin, it’s long lasting AND water-resistant, it’s non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog your pores), and best of all, most mineral makeup has about an SPF 20 rating, so it makes an excellent sunblock.

Myth #8 — Only Teenagers get Acne

Yeah, right! Did you know that 25% of men and 50% of women will experience “adult acne” breakouts at some time between ages 25 and 45? Furthermore, many women, when going through menopause, also get acne breakouts – sometimes at age 60! And yes guys, there also IS such a demon as “male menopause.”

The fact is, when your hormones go out of whack, you’re likely to have acne. Now we all know that it’s during your teen years that the hormones go more bonkers than at any other time in your life, so it makes perfect sense that teens get acne more than the rest of the world. That’s also why women who take birth control medications often experience acne. More testosterone equals hormonal imbalance (testosterone doesn’t just belong to guys!).

Now, to a certain extent, you just can’t get around those hormones. I mean, let’s face it, there’s A LOT of new stuff going on in your body when you’re a teenager (and, hey – not all of it is bad!). Whether you’re a teenager or an adult who is getting acne outbreaks, the key thing is to do what you can to help your hormones stay as balanced as possible. To accomplish that, the holy trinity of adequate rest, good nutrition, and exercise will probably do more than everything else combined.

Myth #9 — Oily Skin is the Main Cause of Acne

Not so. In fact, people with oily skin don’t necessarily have more acne. As I discussed in Myth #1, oil must combine with dead skin cells to create acne. Oil on its own does NOT equal acne.

Actually, as someone who has worked for years formulating anti-aging skin care products, I can tell you that people with oily skin tend to age more gracefully (at least as far as skin goes), because decreased production of oil by the sebaceous glands is one of the main factors in wrinkling. (And, ladies, if you smoke, you are on the road to “prune face” status faster than you would believe)! So if you’ve got oily skin, you can look forward to looking young for a good long time!

Now, it is of course true that oily skin can contribute to to acne. The combination of oil and a backlog of dead skin cells creates a wonderfully productive environment for both pore clogging and the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Everyone has P. acnes in their skin, but with the right conditions, it can get out of control and really make your acne worse. This is why antibiotics are often prescribed for acne. And it’s true that in some cases, antibiotics can be helpful. But for mild to moderate acne, the tradeoff for taking antibiotics – reduced immune function over time, digestive troubles, etc. – is simply not worth it. Before going the antibiotics route, try a natural approach to acne treatment. In many cases, you’ll get P. acnes levels back to normal and experience significant clearing of your skin.

Myth #10 — Benzoyl Peroxide is the best over-the-counter acne medication

Ah, Benzoyl peroxide, that old standby. Benzoyl peroxide was first developed in the 1920s (by the head of Revlon) to treat acne, and it has had a long and illustrious career since then. Hammered into our brains by years and years of television and radio commercials, benzoyl peroxide has what amounts to almost total “mindshare” in the acne medication world.

Well here’s a little secret. You know what benzoyl peroxide actually is? It’s bleach. Yup. If you don’t believe me, spread some of your Oxy 10 on your jeans and see what they look like the next day. Benzoyl peroxide is euphemistically called a “peeling agent” because it increases the rate at which your skin cells are replaced, helping to clear that backlog of dead skin cells. This in turn reduces the amount of P. acnes in your skin, which makes it a kind of “indirect antibacterial.”

What you may be alarmed to find out, however, is how this “peeling” actually happens. Benzoyl peroxide is what’s called a “free radical generator.” You have probably heard about free radicals – they’re getting a lot of attention these days, because they’re suspected as one of the main factors in a variety of cancers. Another big buzzword these days is “antioxidant.” Antioxidants are in everything these days – cereal, juice drinks, snack bars. Well, the reason antioxidants are so popular right now in the health and wellness world is that they fight… free radicals.

Okay, so back to benzoyl peroxide. As I said, benzoyl peroxide MAKES free radicals. Like, on purpose. That’s how it dries your skin and peels it away. Now don’t get me wrong. Deep cleaning, drying, and peeling away layers of dead skin are GREAT things to do to help control acne breakouts. It’s just that using something that has been shown to cause cancer to do it seems a little too risky (for me, anyway). “Yeah, but can benzoyl peroxide really cause CANCER?” Well, there are no conclusive tests on humans, but there are many, legitimate scientific studies proving that benzoyl peroxide causes skin tumors on mice and hamsters

The good news is, you can get all the benefits of benzoyl peroxide right out of the ground. That’s right – a good Dead Sea mud masque will do everything benzoyl peroxide does and more. Not only will it cleanse and flush pores, it will actually fight P. acnes with organic antibacterial agents that occur naturally in the mud.

Myth #11 — The Stronger the Medication, the Better

This is a dangerous one. Of course, completely understandable. More = better, right? Wrong. First of all, even though I don’t endorse benzoyl peroxide, because I happen to know that there are natural solutions out there that are just as effective, I will tell you that major tests have shown that benzoyl peroxide’s effectiveness is about the same at 2.5% and at 10%. At 10% you just get a lot more oxidation, which sure FEELS like you’re doing something more intense (you are – you’re destroying your skin!), but isn’t actually more effective against acne. All those “strongest acne solution available” commercials are nothing but hype.

Myth #12 — Stress Causes Acne

Okay, for our last Acne Myth, I’m going to take a slightly different approach, and expose this popular myth – as actually being true. Many experts have said that stress does not cause acne. I’m not sure how they’re coming to this conclusion. After all, stress is linked to over 80% of health-related problems in technologically advanced countries. It’s connected to everything from insomnia to eczema to IBS to hair loss.

Likewise, stress is related to acne in several ways. Because hormonal activity is so deeply connected to acne, anything that affects your hormones will affect your acne. And there is PLENTY of evidence that emotional stress and fatigue can trigger hormonal activity. In fact, in case you didn’t know it, stress IS hormonal activity. When you’re walking down the street and you realize that your neighbor’s savage Pit Bull that’s usually chained up is actually running free in the yard and looking like he would like nothing more than to clear the three-foot picket fence and polish you off for breakfast, and you get that hot flood of fear that makes you either want to freeze or run for dear life, well, that’s hormones. And so are all the other non-life-threatening stresses you experience as well, like failing an exam, or spilling coffee on yourself during a first date.

As far as acne is concerned, stress can create higher levels of hormones and adrenaline. In turn, this can increase oil production, leading to clogged pores. Lack of sleep has been implicated in severe acne breakouts. So if you’re one of those night owls out there, you might want to consider getting to bed a little earlier. And let’s face it, having acne is stressful! I’m not trying to be cute, here. I mean, being a teenager is stressful enough on its own. There’s pressure from your peers to fit in (or not fit in, as the case may be); pressure from your teachers to do well in school; pressure from your parents to keep being their precious little baby even though all you want to do is grow up for God’s sake; pressure from coaches, kid brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts uncles pastors rabbis… It’s a wonder any of us ever survive adolescence! And then add onto that acne? Man… that is stress personified!

So what to do? Well, I’ll talk a lot more about this in my next article, but for now, I’ll just say “Relax.” Find stuff you love to do that makes you feel calm and happy in your skin. Whatever it is (even if it’s eating french fries!)—but remember that full-length mirror thing.

That brings us to the end of this edition of Serious Skin Care. In Part II of my acne series, I’ll be giving you some very easy steps to follow to help clear up your acne, without the use of medications.

In the meantime, if you’d like to experience the incredible effects of natural, mineral skin care on your acne, try the “killer combination” (Dead Sea Mud Masque plus Antioxidant Face cream) that has many of our customers in shock at how well they can manage their acne outbreaks with zero chemicals. Remember: if you’re not 100% thrilled with our products, we’ll cheerfully refund your money, no questions asked.

Click on one of the images below to get clearer skin today!



Awakening Mineral Therapies has been hand-crafting unique Dead Sea mineral skin care products for over 15 years. For more information about this and other natural mineral-based skin care remedies, visit our main site at: www.awakeningskincare.com

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26 Responses to “11 Acne Myths Exposed!”

  1. You got it all correctly, with this information I can treat
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    home remedies for acne is a great combination that will help a lot of people especially

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    • Hello Dragan,
      Burts Bees, now owned by Clorox, does a fine job and has a huge following. Our own finding concerning acne is that ProActiv probably enjoys the best overall success rate — you just need to be careful that you don’t discolor fabric through moist contact, particularly using towels. Of course, really good personal cleanliness habits also help. Awakening’s focus in all of this has always been on the therapeutic benefits of natural minerals, especially magnesium and potassium, for the health of your skin. Awakening MUDFace is super as a health maintenance regimen for facial skin. Since all of our products carry a full-satisfaction guarantee, you really can’t go wrong.

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