People like to give advice, and often this advice is from ‘common knowledge.’ We’ve all heard the ‘common knowledge’ everyone knows that acne is caused by chocolate, acne is caused by not washing your face, acne is caused by stress. How many times did your mother yell at you to not eat chocolate as a teenager as it’ll make you break out? How often does your friend recommend you wash your face, once, twice, three times a day and she swears it’ll get rid of your acne? And what about stress? Most stressful situations you can’t do anything about avoiding them, they just happen and you have to deal. All this advice about stress causing you acne actually causes you to stress out about being stressed!
Well the good news is they’re all wrong. None of the above causes acne, in fact most of the things you do cannot cause acne. Acne is caused by the sebaceous glands under your skin producing more sebum oil than is necessary, this clogs your pores and causes acne. Overactive sebaceous glands are a genetic problem which means, yes it’s your parents fault you have them.
Why doesn’t dirty skin cause acne? – Like I said above acne is caused by overactive sebaceous glands which are under your skin. The excess sebum oil causes the walls of your pores to stick together which in turn promotes the growth of bacteria and voila: acne. Excess washing of your skin can irritate your pores as this dries out the skin inducing your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum oil which in turn can actually cause acne. So this whole wash your face every four hours advice is really counterproductive. Twice a day at most with a mild cleanser and you bare hands (not a wash cloth that can hold bacteria!) is a much more sensible route.
Why doesn’t stress cause acne? Did you miss the part where I told you how acne is formed? Stress may cause your hormones to act up which theoretically could prod your sebaceous glands into producing more oils but the sebaceous system is a bit more foolproof than all that so my advice is don’t worry about it!
Why doesn’t diet cause acne? This actually is a tricky question as there simply isn’t enough indubitable research out there as to whether or not diet causes acne. Research has shown that if you eat a sensible diet with lots of fruits and vegetables you tend to have clearer skin but this is probably because your entire body is cleaner with a healthy diet.
It’s the difference between running your car on leaded vs super unleaded. If the entire system is clean and using only the best gas available it’ll run smoothly, if the system is full of gunky build up and gas that’s been watered down then you develop problems. However, a chocolate bar or a slice of pizza in moderation won’t kill you.
So in conclusion here’s my advice about other people’s acne advice – forget about it! Do your own research, there’s dozens of medically certified websites and books out there to advise you as to what’s real and what’s ‘common knowledge.’