The Stubborn Truth About Acne by johnbrwn


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									The Stubborn Truth About Acne
Have you ever washed your face more than twice a day to clear up your
skin? Do you avoid chocolate and greasy foods in the hopes that when you
look in the mirror, you won’t see another blemish? Have you ever drank
more water, or avoided or increased your exercise to prevent acne flare-
ups? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re not

Acne is one of the most common skin disorders affecting nearly 85 percent
of all people. While the variety of effective acne treatments continues
to grow, so does the number of myths about how to control the condition.

“Although new acne treatments are developed every day, a cure for acne
has not yet been discovered. As such, many patients choose to self-treat
or experiment with unconventional treatments,” stated by a doctor. “Yet
many of these treatments are based on anecdotal observations and have not
been rigorously tested by science. The survey indicates that these myths
are still affecting how patients care for their acne.”

Myth: Poor Hygiene Worsens Acne

The relationship between face washing and acne has always been greatly
misunderstood, with most individuals believing that dirt and poor hygiene
contribute to acne. In fact, a recent survey conducted at Stanford
University asked participants about what they thought made acne worsen,
and the majority, 91 percent, mentioned poor hygiene. “If a patient
believes that dirty skin causes acne, they logically conclude that
washing their face more often will improve their acne,” said by a doctor.
“But dermatologists caution patients against washing too often, as the
resulting irritation can exacerbate their acne.”

To determine the scientific validity of this myth, the effects of face
washing on acne were recently studied at Stanford University. A group of
twenty-four males washed their faces twice a day for two weeks using a
mild over-the-counter facial cleanser. Then the participants were
randomly selected to wash their faces either once, twice or four times a
day for another six weeks. The study found that washing the face either
once, twice or four times daily did not significantly change the
appearance or condition of acne, and determined that the positive effects
of increased facial cleansing are minimal at best. Dermatologists
continue to recommend washing the face twice daily to maintain good
overall skin health.

Myths: Exercise Can Clear Acne or Exercise Can Worsen Acne

The relationship between acne and exercise continues to show high levels
of individual variability. Some believe that exercise and sweating can
help clean out the pores, especially on the chest and back; while others
note that their skin worsens when they exercise, especially those who use
special equipment that rubs against their skin.

In another study conducted at Stanford University of patients with acne,
it was determined that exercise-induced sweat does not have a significant
positive or negative influence on acne of the chest and back. Twenty-
three male participants were assigned to three groups: no exercise,
regular exercise
followed by immediate showering and regular exercise followed by delayed
showering. The number of acne lesions on the chest and back were counted
over a two week period and no difference was noted between the three
groups. “Based on the finding of this study, regular exercise can be
encouraged for patients with acne,” stated Dr. Boer Kimball. “But they
should avoid tight-fitting clothing and equipment. If tight-fitting
equipment is required, it should be cleaned on a regular basis.”

Other Acne Myths

While misconceptions about facial hygiene and exercise are still the most
commonly recognized acne beliefs, the Stanford survey also found that
respondents believed that poor diet and decreased sleep can negatively
affect acne. In addition, more than 80 percent of participants believed
that increased stress, touching the face and popping pimples exacerbated
the condition. Among male and female participants, the only differences
noted were that more females believed that increased stress could worsen
acne and that drinking more water would improve the quality of their
skin. The study also found that some beliefs that were previously
popular about acne were no longer viewed as true, including the idea that
tanning improves the appearance of acne.

“What this survey and these studies have shown is that substantial
differences still exist between popular belief and scientific support,
yet this does not change the way patients attempt to care for their
acne,” stated by a doctor. “It is important for anyone who is affected
by acne to seek the help of a dermatologist who can diagnose and provide
treatment options that are specific to the patient’s skin type to
effectively address the condition.”

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology
(Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most
representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of
more than 14,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to:
advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of
the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice,
education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing
patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails.

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