Smashing the myths and unmasking the secrets about acne

By Umurungi Gisele
On 5 January 2024 at 09:30

When I was a tween, I perceived ‘adolescent’ as a very cruel insult. I really hated it and I always prayed to never become one. This was because every time I heard someone being called like that, it was always accompanied with insult-like expressions.

People would always use the word ‘adolescent’ to criticize one’s behavior, body structure and, most of the time, their face. They would always be like ‘look at her pimpled face’ and after that, they’d laugh out loud as if they were watching a very fascinating comedy show.

As if that wasn’t distressing enough, unfounded myths surrounding the causes and treatment of acne exacerbated the ordeal, particularly the prevalent misconceptions that acne is triggered by dirt and can be cured with semen. Nevertheless, science and healthcare professionals categorically refute these claims.

Among them, myths that acne is caused by dirt and that they can be cured using semen were the most popular. However, all these are false according to science and healthcare professionals.

What is the real cause of acne?

Literally, acne is a skin condition just like others. It happens when dead cells and sebum (the oil that keeps the skin from drying) blocks the pores of the hair follicles under the skin. This in the end, leads to the outbreaks of lesions (acne, commonly known as pimples or zits). It usually appears on the face but can also develop on any other body part.

Causes of acne

Among the causes of acne, there are excessive production of oil in the pore, buildup of dead skin cells in the pores, and bacterial growth in the pores. An increase in production of sex hormones, certain medications, age and family history can increase the risk of developing acne while stress, high humidity, scrubbing your skin too much and wearing tight clothes can worsen them.

Treatment of acne

Physicians give treatments that aim to cure the already formed acne, stop the unformed from forming and prevent scarring. Also, the doctor will recommend medicines according to the severity of acne.

In cases of mild acne, the doctor may recommend topical medications that are only applied to the skin. These will be made up of chemicals that are capable of decreasing sebum production and killing some bacteria. He might also prescribe Retinoids (medications that are made of vitamin A) that treat lesions and prevent the formation of scars.

In cases of severe acne, the doctor will mostly recommend medicines that are taken orally or intravenously (injections). These medications are usually composed of antibiotics that stop the growth of bacteria in one’s skin pores, and other chemicals that cure lesions and stop scarring.

If you’re a woman, the doctor will also consider hormonal therapy to stop the effect of sex hormones in the development of acne.

Though acne has been taken as nothing serious, but just a blemish, it is about time to break the myth and perceive it as a medical condition. As long as your acne is making you uncomfortable in any possible way, it would be a good decision to consult a dermatologist or any other healthcare professional.