Some of these advice statements are funny. Some are actually dangerous for your skin. Either way, they are all untrue. Take a look.
“Try putting toothpaste on it.”
This idea has been around for a long time. The thinking is that it will dry pimples out, but what it really does is irritate the skin and potentially cause dark spots to form. Benzoyl peroxide is a far more effective acne eradicator. It kills bacteria and reduces inflammation below the surface to prevent future breakouts.
“You just need to wash your face more.”
The assumption here is that your acne is a result of poor hygiene. First, rude. Second, cleansing is only one component of breaking the acne cycle. It’s certainly essential, but our guess is you already know that, and you are washing your face regularly. In fact, there is such a thing as too much washing. Over-washing can dry and irritate the skin. Especially if you are using a harsh or abrasive cleanser. Twice daily is plenty unless you’re getting a sweaty workout somewhere in between. Then, by all means, wash again.
“Wash your face with rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria.”
Alcohol is an excellent vehicle in skincare formulas where it cuts through oil and quickly evaporates to enhance the permeability of actives. On its own, alcohol will strip the skin of natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier, which can lead to inflammation and irritation.
“I heard bnezoyl peroxide works on acne and Walmart has it”.
Well, BP does work on some kinds of acne. What kind of acne do you have? What strength of BP do I need? Are there pore-clogging ingredients in that Walmart etc brand? Can you honestly answer those questions? If you can’t, you are wasting your time and money. The best way to kill bacteria is with benzoyl peroxide, an organic compound with antibacterial, keratolytic, comedolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It works by releasing oxygen into the pore to kill acne bacteria and flush out impurities.
“You should try coconut oil.”
Coconut oil ranks in the top most comedogenic ingredients for skin, and yet somehow, it has a reputation as a miracle substance. It might be good as part of your diet, but not as a topical agent for treating acne.
“Don’t eat any fats.”
Quite the contrary. While too much-saturated fat is a problem, healthy fats (omega-6 and omega-3) are essential. Studies show that acneic skin is often low in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid your body can’t manufacture. This deficiency is thought to contribute to excess sebum production, inflammation, and hyperkeratinization (an excess of dead skin cells), the building blocks of acne. A diet rich in healthy fats like those found in fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados has been shown to do the opposite.
“Getting out in the sun will clear your skin.”
Sunlight can increase cellular turnover and temporarily make blemishes less visible. However, it’s a poor trade-off for the adverse effects it brings—cellular damage, hyperpigmentation, and inflammation, which aggravate acne. It’s far better to speed cell turnover and clear acne impactions with a combination of acids, and benzoyl peroxide.
Instead of inviting damage and aggravating acne, protect skin from the sun every day with a good physical SPF that doesn’t have 50 ingredients in it and will block all sun from getting into your skin.
“Have you tried scrubbing with baking soda?”
Bad idea. Baking soda is a highly alkaline chemical compound that wreaks havoc with your skin’s pH balance. A good BP wash will oxygenate pores and kill bacteria without the irritation.
“Put some cortisone cream on it.”
Corticosteroids are good for reducing inflammation, but they are too potent for the delicate skin of the face, which is thinner than other areas of your body. Thinner skin absorbs the steroid more quickly, making it more vulnerable to side effects, including thinning of the skin, pigment changes, irritation, and worsening of rosacea or acne.
“Don’t eat chocolate.”
The problem is not with the chocolate, but with the sugar and unhealthy fats that go along with chocolate. These can increase sebum production and promote inflammation, spurring acne breakouts. Chocolate is loaded with antioxidant flavonoids that protect cells against harmful free radicals. If you decide to treat yourself to a little chocolate, choose the dark variety, which contains higher concentrations of antioxidant flavonoids than milk or white chocolate. If you keep your diet to mostly fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats, a little chocolate is definitely not off the table.