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October 07, 2016

Acne myths and facts

Acne is one of the most common skin problems seen by doctors. The redness and swelling associated with acne is due to the obstruction of skin pores by a mixture of sebum, dirt and dead skin cells.  Even today, acne is surrounded by many misconceptions. Let’s try to dispel a few of these myths.

True or False

1.    Acne only affects teens.

FALSE. Acne often starts in puberty and can last many years. It can continue into adulthood, especially in women, or even begin at that time. In fact, the hormone changes women undergo (menses, pregnancy, menopause, etc.) can trigger acne.

2.    Poor diet can lead to blemishes. 

FALSE. No scientific study has ever proven a link between diet and acne. A specific food may, however, aggravate your acne. If that is the case for you, try avoiding that food. 

3.    People who are overweight are more likely to have acne.

FALSE. Acne has nothing to do with excess weight.

4.    You can catch acne from someone else.

FALSE. While acne is visible, it is absolutely not contagious – even with physical contact.

5.    Acne is due to poor hygiene.

FALSE. But poor hygiene and failing to remove your makeup at night can aggravate an existing case of acne. On the other hand, washing your face too often, too roughly or with the wrong products can also exacerbate the problem. The solution is to cleanse your face morning and night with a gentle cleanser made for acne-prone skin – and remember to start by removing your makeup. 

6.    Sun exposure helps to heal acne.

FALSE. While you may notice a slight improvement in your acne when you first go out in the sun (it dries out blemishes and oil present on the surface of the skin), as a general rule, acne will only be worse after repeated exposure to UV rays. Keep in mind that frequent, prolonged exposure to the sun also increases your risk of developing skin cancer, which is why using the right sunscreen is so important. 

7.    Acne doesn’t need to be treated, since it will go away on its own.

TRUE and FALSE. Acne can resolve on its own over time, but it can also get worse and leave permanent marks on the skin before it disappears. That’s why you should consult a specialist to find the right treatment and possibly avoid the appearance of scars.

8.    Acne only affects the face.

FALSE. The face, especially the T-zone (chin, nose and forehead), is the most commonly affected area. Acne, however, can also develop on the back, shoulders, trunk and arms.

9.    The birth control pill is not recommended when you have acne.

FALSE. While some oral contraceptives may, in rare cases, aggravate acne by stimulating the secretion of sebum, most can help improve it. Some doctors even prescribe the pill as both a contraceptive and a remedy for acne.

10.    Makeup and acne do not fare well together.

FALSE. Makeup is not off limits when you have acne. Choose only non-comedogenic, oil-free cosmetics and be sure to remove your makeup and cleanse your face carefully every night. 

11.    Medicated treatments are not required when you use good dermo-cosmetic products.

FALSE. Dermo-cosmetic products suited to your skin type can help reduce acne, but they cannot replace medicated treatments. Consult a health professional to find out if you need this type of medicated treatment.

12.    Acne is due to stress.

FALSE. Stress cannot trigger an acne flare-up on healthy skin. Some studies do suggest, however, that stress can contribute to a temporary acne flare-up. 

Pharmacy services

Do you have questions about acne? Talk to your family pharmacists. They can help you achieve healthy, radiant skin. They can prescribe* medications for certain minor health problems, including acne, when the treatment and diagnosis are already known. A consultation will also be required so the pharmacist can make sure you meet the prescribing criteria.

To avail yourself of this service, you may need to book an appointment with your family pharmacist. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more details. Some Uniprix-affiliated pharmacies also offer an online appointment booking service. To locate the store nearest you providing this service, click here

*Certain conditions must be respected. Fees may apply. Ask a member of the pharmacy team for more information. Pharmacists alone are responsible for the practice of pharmacy. They offer related services only on behalf of pharmacist-owners.