Healthy advice: No need to stress over acne
Many of us thought we left cafeteria lunches, detention and acne back in high school, but while we were able to successfully flee cafeterias and detention, those pesky pustules still haunt some of us.
According to mayoclinic.com, 74.6 percent of college students have acne.
The most common causes of acne include the overproduction of oil, dead skin irritating hair follicles and accumulation of bacteria. The buildup of oil and dead skin within the hair follicles creates a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
Some myths about acne perpetuate, such as the notion that chocolate and greasy foods lead to acne. While it’s definitely better to not gorge on pepperoni pizza and Hershey bars, you can rest assured that indulging isn’t going to result in eruptions on your face the next day.
There is some scientific correlation between diet and acne. According to the Mayo Clinic, dairy products and carbohydrate-rich food can lead to the formation of acne.
Another myth in which many of us seek refuge is that acne is caused by stress. We cling to the hope that when life slows down and things are no longer hectic, our skin will calm down too. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely the case. Lisa Garner, a clinical professor of Dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says that stress reduction won’t eliminate acne.
According to a 2003 Stanford University study, college students had an increase in acne during exam periods because most acne is triggered by hormone production — in particular, androgens — which lead to the enlargement of sebaceous glands and cause increased oil production. While stress can cause fluctuations in hormone production, exacerbating acne by causing the binding of stress hormones to the stress receptors on sebum-producing cells, it’s not the actual cause of the acne.
Once acne begins to flourish, it’s tempting to scrub at it like there’s no tomorrow, but that’s not helping matters at all. In fact, scrubbing at acne can irritate it further. Instead, using tried and tested products, in addition to gently cleansing your face, can help keep acne at bay. Over-the-counter products such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and retinoids have been proven to help reduce the occurrence of acne. If over-the-counter products don’t cut it, a meeting with your dermatologist to discuss more stringent options, such as Accutane, may be in order.
If you have acne, do some research to find the cause and the best way to treat it. If you need help, head to the Dermatologist to explore other options.
Trisha Thacker is a biology junior and may be reached at [email protected].