Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Acne

Updated on March 10, 2018

I mean it: the amount of information on acne and similar skin problems is hard to imagine and impossible to read. Unsurprisingly, many of us get overwhelmed by all these tips and tricks on how to keep the skin nice and clean. What is true and what is false? What should we know about acne? Is It possible to prevent and get rid of it once and for all? Let’s try to have a look at some misconceptions as well as little-known but true facts about one of the most frustrating skin problems.

Acne is not that simple to define.
Acne is not that simple to define.

Pimples, acne, blackheads… Who cares?

The term “acne” became widespread only some time ago, but it has already entered every adolescent’s vocabulary (read below about this teenage-only misconception). Everything that used to be called a pimple is now called acne. The thing is that both names are wrong. Let’s sort it out once and for all.

If you are having an everyday chat with your friend, it’s perfectly fine to call every red spot on the skin a pimple - after all, it is not an academic workshop. However, if you are determined to treat your skin problem in a proper way, you should have at least a rough idea as to what is what.

  • Blackheads, or comedones, come as a result of clogged hair follicles. The dead skin, oil, and dirt cause inflammation, which makes the follicle look uncared for.
  • If a comedo is closed by the skin, it can turn into a whitehead where pus can develop into an unpleasant-looking blotch.
  • Pimples, per se, are clogged pores with excessive oil trapped inside them. They are caused by dead skin cells which haven’t been removed from the skin surface and got “buried” under other layers.

Okay, what is acne, then? Acne is a disease which can be – or not – a reason behind all these problems. While a single whitehead or even a pretty big group of blackheads can come and go, acne is not as easy to deal with. Unfortunately, scientists are still not certain as to what exactly lies behind acne, but it seems that most cases are victims of genetic predisposition which is impossible to change. So yes, the genes are the reason why you have suffered from acne for years while your friend indulged herself with fast food and has never had a single pimple on her forehead. Life is unfair…

You must have heard a lot about it already.
You must have heard a lot about it already.

What is to blame?

If you are still in your teens, you can always hope that acne will go away as soon as you reach your twenties. However – I hate to spoil this moment, but I have to – quite a few people all over the world experience acne long after they become of age. Sad but true.

Now let’s try to define the causes. As I said, genetic predisposition is believed to be the most common reason of acne, and if you know that your parents or more remote relatives had or have to deal with this problem, you can blame it all on the genes. It won’t help to get rid of acne, but you will have a chance to cool down a little.

If you don’t think you have inherited acne from your ancestors, here are some other possible causes:

  • Hormones. You must have heard (and I have already mentioned this misconception several times) that hormonal activity typical for many teens is a sure cause of acne. Still, millions of women over twenty experience acne comebacks every month before or during their pre-menstrual period. Pregnancy can be a troublesome period, too. Men are no luckier: too much testosterone and other androgen hormones can also lead to acne.
  • Infections. While touching your face with dirty hands is not a good idea, not all bacteria are to blame. According to scientific research, there is one species of anaerobic bacteria which seems to have something to do with acne. (If you are curious, its name is Propionibacterium acnes.) We still don’t know exactly why some people’s skin can’t defend itself against this subtle enemy while others have no problems with it. However, you should bear this possible explanation in mind.
  • Parasites. Parasitic mites like Demodex are also a possible reason for acne. However, some scientists do not agree that the inflammation and spots caused by Demodex mites can be called acne. If the disorder takes a severe form, it is called demodecosis and requires urgent medical help. Unfortunately, it is not easy to diagnose a case by yourself: be prepared to have some tests.
  • Psychological issues. Probably the most debatable cause, psychology is such a subtle matter that no one should be surprised if it turns out that acne is also caused by your issues. As usual, stress is supposed to be one of the most likely reasons of skin problems. Still, as with parasites, it is not clear if we can call post-stress skin problems acne – these problems are likely to go away when you are done with your anger and frustration, while typical acne is a long-term disease. Anyway, if you suspect that your mood and pimples have some correlation, make sure you receive enough positive emotions.

Not all myths have been busted
Not all myths have been busted

What is not to blame?

If your healthy diet and total abstinence from alcohol and smoking haven’t made things any better, your blackheads appear to be caused by acne. Sounds like you’re doomed? No way!

Well, yes, it is not encouraging to face the truth, but at least you are equipped with this knowledge. However, I don’t recommend going to the nearest fast food restaurant to drown your sorrow in the salsa sauce and soda pop. As I mentioned in my article on the most popular skincare myths, fatty foods cause excessive greasiness, which is definitely no help in the case of acne. Instead, try to make sure that you know what lies at the heart of your skin condition and that nothing can worsen the situation.

So, in brief, these things are not likely to cause acne (they can only worsen the condition if you are predisposed):

  • Diet. I have already mentioned it, so I won’t dwell upon this matter. Just bear in mind that you don’t have to blame yourself for every high-calorie snack you have eaten.
  • Makeup. People believe that using cosmetic products causes acne. This misconception seems to originate from the wrong cause-effect perception: girls begin to apply makeup in their early teens, which is exactly the moment when acne is likely to appear. It doesn’t mean, though, that one thing leads to the other: it is just an unhappy coincidence. However, makeup can worsen acne, as some of the ingredients are comedogenic, i.e., can make your pores clogged. Always check the label, and everything will be okay.
  • Bad habits. Being an alcohol or tobacco addict is definitely not a straightway to clean the skin, but the problems caused by bad habits are different from acne. Dryness, wrinkles, yellowish complexion – do you really want any of these, even though acne is not on the list?
  • Sex / sex deprivation. The funny thing is that these possible causes are complete opposites of each other, so you can hardly find the right answer. While some people claim that sex makes your hormone level unstable, which inevitably leads to acne, others believe that it is lack of sex which should be blamed for skin problems. I should say that both camps have no scientific evidence to prove their point, so you can leave your sex life as it is or change it – it is unlikely to reflect on your skin condition.

What should we do?

The first and most important thing is to stop worrying and checking your reflection in the mirror every two minutes. Even if stress has nothing to do with acne, it can make your life dull and unsatisfying. Don’t waste your time on bad thoughts; stay positive!

I also recommend making an appointment so that a skincare expert could determine the exact causes of acne. If you treat hormone imbalance with antibiotics, it won’t be much help, don’t you think?

Finally, don’t expect results to come soon and stay forever. Acne is a very cunning thing, so you can never be sure whether it is gone once and for all. Still, even if it comes back one day, you will be ready to face it.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Mia Ray 2 years ago

        Are those pemples!!?!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, bellatory.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://bellatory.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)