I’m sure you came into this conversation wondering the difference between acne and pimple? Well, it’s simple: Acne is a disease while a pimple is one of its symptoms.
Acne is a skin condition affecting the hair follicles and oil glands. Under the skin, pores are connected to glands that produce an oily substance called sebum – This helps to coat, moisturise and protect the skin. These glands [that produce sebum] and pores on the skin are connected by a canal known as follicle – which is usually in the form of thin hairs growing on the surface of the skin.
When dead skin [from the surface of skin] and sebum mix, they form a blockage in the hair follicle. The addition of bacteria from the skin into this mix leads to inflammation which then results in bright red pimples as seen in acne.
With this explanation in place, let’s go through acne myths to see why they aren’t true:
Myth 1: Pimple from Acne is caused by dirtiness
It’d be great for people to hear that acne isn’t caused by dirty practices. In human beings, we have what is called the normal skin flora which are “good” bacteria that help us. It is the introduction of these bacteria into blockages that result in pimples, not dirty habits. Light washing of face twice a day can help reduce these bacteria, decrease surface oil [especially in oily skin], and help in removing dead skin.
Myth 2: You can never over wash your face
The good news is that face washing helps. The bad news is that if done in excess, it can worsen acne. Scrubbing your face too often and with too much vigour can cause irritation and tiny tears on your skin. This can leave you susceptible to bacteria [don’t forget we have “good” bacteria on our skin], infection and inflammation.
Myth 3: Adults don’t experience acne
I know what you’re thinking but hear me out. I agree that ever since you became an adult, things have changed. However, you’re not completely rid of it. Yes, a lot more teenagers experience acne because of fluctuating hormones while they’re growing, but some adults still battle acne. There is also a higher incident of acne in adult women because women experience fluctuating hormones throughout their lives.
Myth 4: Toothpaste is an effective method for pimples
This is my personal favourite because I did this growing up. I’ll be the first to admit that toothpaste contains ingredients that reduce redness and inflammation. However, no evidence shows that this method is more effective than other medically accepted ways of treating acne. Toothpaste can lead to over-drying of skin, burns, and even irritation. When in doubt, always request to see a dermatologist.
Myth 5: It’s okay to pop your pimples
No, it’s not. Remember bacteria on the skin? Inflammation from bursting the pimple + bacteria = chance for infection = bad idea. Also, popping pimples can cause scars which may be difficult to treat.
Myth 6: Butter, groundnut, oily foods cause acne
While these foods may cause other health-related problems, there’s just not enough evidence linking them with acne. However, oil-rich foods should still be consumed in moderation for healthy living.
Myth 7: Acne affects only people with oily skin
Acne is an equal opportunity lover, which means it has enough love to go around. Whether you have normal, dry, oily or combination skin type, acne loves us all. All skin types can develop whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. A wise man once said: Always stay guiding.
Myth 8: Acne will go away if you ignore it
Acne is a chronic condition, which means it can exist for long periods. Within this period it can do irreparable damage to self-esteem, quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Agreed, it may self resolve, but the damage it will leave may never completely go away.
While methods such as light face washing are helpful in its management, nothing beats the expertise of seeing a dermatologist on time. This could be the difference between healthy self-esteem and a crushed one as an adult.