Acne Misconceptions – Cosmetics Magazine - March-April 2011
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Acne Misconceptions – Cosmetics Magazine - March-April 2011

Ask a Dermatologist: Top 10 Acne Misconceptions 

Dr. Lisa Kellett is one of Canada’s foremost authorities on acne. Her clinic in downtown Toronto specializes in treating all forms of the skin condition and she’s often asked to lecture on the latest acne treatment technology. Still, her patients come to her with many of the same misconceptions about the causes of and solutions for blemished skin. Here, we ask her to clear up acne myths.

Cosmetics Magazine: Let’s start with the most common acne question: Does eating junk food cause acne break outs? 
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Your skin is reflective of your overall health. Because it is the largest [and as a dermatologist believe] most important organ of the body, it is very visible. Therefore, internal signs of disease can often be seen in the skin. If a patient’s diet is poor with nutrition, their skin will reflect this by not looking as healthy as it should. However, if a patient is generally healthy and looks after their diet then the odd candy will not cause acne (acne vulgaris).

Cosmetics: Does squeezing pimples make them heal faster? 
Dr. L.K.: Squeezing or any method of traumatizing pimples can lead to increased inflammation, infection, scarring and cyst formation so do NOT squeeze, pick or manipulate your skin!

Cosmetics: Does acne always clear up after your teens? 
Dr. L.K.: Many women and men continue to experience acne, called adult acne, which can be even more difficult to treat!

Cosmetics: If you have acne, should you use a very strong cleanser and toner? 
Dr. L.K.: An ideal cleanser for acne is a gentle exfoliating cleanser in a gel base which gently but effectively cleanses the skin. Very strong cleansers and toners should be avoided as they can cause irritation.

Cosmetics: Many people believe acne can only appear on the face. 
Dr. L.K.: Acne vulgaris can occur on the face, shoulders, back and chest. This is quite common in teenaged boys.

Cosmetics: Will acne clear up faster if you wash your face more frequently? 
Dr. L.K.: Most patients with acne have adequate hygiene. Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous [hair and oil] duct unit, not cleanliness based.

Cosmetics: Can wearing too much makeup cause you to break out? 
Dr. L.K.: There is a type of acne called acne cosmetica which is directly related to using products which are not appropriate for acne prone skin. However, if the correct products are used then they will not cause acne.

Cosmetics: Can wearing too much makeup cause you to break out? 
Dr. L.K.: There is a type of acne called acne cosmetica which is directly related to using products which are not appropriate for acne prone skin. However, if the correct products are used then they will not cause acne.

Cosmetics: I’ve heard some experts claim that sunscreen can cause acne. 
Dr. L.K.: Patients with acne can use clear spray sunblocks (not white) which will protect them from the sun’s harmful effects and not cause breakouts.

Cosmetics: Will scrubs and hard exfoliants clear acne away? 
Dr. L.K.: Overly aggressive treatments can actually exacerbate acne.

Cosmetics: What ingredients should you look for in an acne product?
Dr. L.K.: Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the only ingredients that can treat acne. But you should know that there are many treatments now for acne including photodynamic therapy using Levulan which are very effective and do not have the associated risks of a systemic medication. It’s best to see a dermatologist and discuss your options.

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