According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) acne affects nearly 50 million Americans. Chances are that you either suffer from acne or have a relative or close friend who does.
Despite the fact that acne is such a widespread condition, there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding it. Here are answers to some of the toughest acne questions that may have had you wondering.
What causes acne?
Medical experts have yet to pinpoint a precise cause, but acne is believed to be the result of a number of factors. One is hormonal activity that causes the sebaceous glands that produce oil to become larger and more active. A predisposition to acne can also be hereditary in nature, being passed down to you by your parents.
Can I wear makeup if I have acne?
Excessive use of makeup can certainly aggravate acne, but you don't have to forego it altogether. There are a number of acne solutions on the market that are oil-free or made for sensitive skin. Check for ones that are labeled "noncomedogenic," meaning free from ingredients that clog pores.
I wash my face all the time. Why do I still have acne?
Acne has little to do with how many times you wash your face on a daily basis. In fact, excessive face washing or use of harsh products can increase inflammation, spread bacteria and create more problematic acne breakouts.
Should I avoid using moisturizer?
Hydration is necessary for healthy skin. Acne treatments also tend to make you skin excessively dry. As with makeup, look for moisturizers that are noncomedogenic so they won't increase the amount of oil on your skin.
What is the difference between benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid?
Both are common ingredients in acne treatments. Benzoyl peroxide reduces oil production and fights the bacteria that cause acne, making it very effective on all types of facial and body acne breakouts. The downside of benzoyl peroxide, however, is the excessive redness and dryness that it can cause. Salicylic acid improves cell turnover, which is the process where older cells are shed and replaced by newer ones. Products containing salicylic acid are very effective for treating both blackheads and whiteheads.
What causes acne scarring?
When a breakout develops, it triggers a response from your immune system. In more severe cases, a wall of collagen is created to protect the surrounding skin. That fibrous area causes a slight depression, creating the pockmark and resulting acne scar. Today there are other methods, such as laser treatment, as well as natural acne treatments that can help to minimize the effect of acne scarring.
Is acne different in men and women?
Men predisposed to acne often times develop it during puberty and it tends to be more severe and inflammatory during that time. On the other hand, acne tends to be less severe for women in puberty (compared to men) but develops more frequently in their 20s and 30s comparable to men. Many women who never experienced acne during adolescence develop acne during pregnancy that continues after pregnancy.
According to a well-known saying, knowledge is power. The more information you have about acne, the better-equipped you are to treat it successfully.