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Although we are all familiar with the struggles of having acne at some point or other during our lives, a recent remark from a friend made me realize that, despite all the information that is available, there are still some long lingering myths about dealing with acne.

Here are 5 acne myths along with the truths behind them:

1. Scrubbing will help.  There is a long-held belief that the harder you scrub and more often you wash, the better it is for the acne.  Completely not true!  Acne is the result of excessive sebum (oil) along with a build-up of dead skin cells that clog pores, leading to what are known as pimples.  The more you over cleanse and scrub the skin, the more you remove the natural layer of oil, forcing the skin to produce more oil in order to compensate.  More scrubbing, more oil, more acne.  More scrubbing, more oil, more acne.  It's a vicious circle.

2. Pimples need to be dried out. This one is rather an archaic way of thinking about pimples.  Older acne treatments may have had a tendency to be harsh and cause drying of the skin and peeling, thus feeding the belief that pimples have to go through a process of "drying out".  A combination of glycolic acid and salicylic acid is still the most common and effective treatment for uncomplicated acne.  And although some [Link Removed]  can be a bit drying, it's not a necessary evil in order for the treatment to work, which brings us to the next myth...

3. If you have acne, you don't need to moisturize. There is a common misconception that having acne and oily skin go hand-in-hand.  However, it is possible to have acne and DRY skin at the same time.  By moisturizing, we are encouraging the skin to produce a 'normal' level of oil.  Moisturizing also helps to maintain a health skin barrier function, keeping external irritants and bacteria out.

4. You'll outgrow it.  We may typically think of teens when it comes to acne but there are plenty of men and women who deal with it well into their twenties and beyond.  Just when you think you've got it beaten, it can come back during menopause due to hormone fluctuations.  The use of a retinoid (Vitamin A) preparation can go a long way toward treating acne.  As a matter of fact, although we associate retinoids with anti-aging benefits, they were originally developed to treat acne some 40 years ago. [Link Removed] with retinaldehyde delivers effective yet gentle treatment.

5. Tanning will help with acne.  The source of this particularly puzzling myth may be twofold.  Firstly, that having a tan may seem to mask the more prominent appearance of blemishes against the color of the skin. Secondly, that sunscreens can clog pores and eventually lead to more pimples.  In fact, it's essential to use a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen every day as some a[Link Removed] , are non-comedogenic and provide excellent sun protection.

For more severe cases of acne, see your dermatologist who can help choose a treatment that's most suitable for your skin.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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