Acne is a very common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots. It usually starts during puberty and resolves by the late teens or early twenties but in some people it can persist for longer, or even develop for the first time in the late twenties or thirties.
Although it can run in families, most cases occur due to hormonal changes, medications, or poor lifestyle. Other triggers commonly include smoking, anxiety, stress, and oil-based makeup. While the causes are widely assumed to be the above, there a variety of misconceptions that should be avoided to ensure correct diagnoses and treatment.
Myth #1: “Acne is caused by fatty food” – There is no scientific study that proves that acne is caused specifically but eating fatty foods. However, eating a balanced diet is imperative to maintain a good overall health.
Myth #2: “Squeezing blackheads and whiteheads can help get rid of acne” – Regardless of the severity, the first step is always to visit a dermatologist to advise on treatments/medications for acne. Self treatment or medication can do more harm than good. Popping blackheads, whiteheads can actually make the situations worse!
Myth #3: “Moisturiser can help cure acne” – While it is important to keep your skin cleansed and hydrated, regular moisturisers cannot cure acne. They work to keep your skin hydrated and avoid excess oil production. However, moisturisers with retinol such as MZ Skin Hydrate & Nourish can work as a preventive measure.
Myth #4: “Acne is caused by dirty skin” – Acne is not caused by poor hygiene or dirty skin as the acne bacterium (Propionibacterium acnes) is present on everyone’s skin. However, for people prone to acne the build up of oil creates the ideal environment for it to multiply, causing inflammation and spots.
When diagnosed with mild or moderate acne, the first line of treatment generally includes topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, nicotinamide and antibiotics. However, sometimes these can dry or irritate the skin, and in that case must be stopped for a couple of days and then restarted and built up gradually. Sometimes oral antibiotics are also advised in combination with topical treatments, or on their own.
Prevention is the best cure – so a good, consistent skincare routine is important to prevent p. acne from feeding off on the excess dirt and oil and keep pores clean. Use an exfoliating cleanser such as MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify with MZ Skin Konjac Sponge to remove any build up of product, dead skin cells and pollution, and improve the appearance of pores. At-home masks rich in AHA’s such as MZ Skin Radiance & Renewal can be used twice a week to help with deeper exfoliation. For the ultimate treatment, MZ Skin Light-Therapy Device on the blue light setting will help balance and clarify the skin by reducing acne causing bacteria. Follow this with MZ Skin Hydrate & Nourish, a day moisturiser, which contains encapsulated (non-irritant) retinol to unclog pores and SPF30 for protection.
A pro tip: Look for non-comedogenic skincare and ingredients that bolster collagen and decrease sebum production!