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Getting the Facts Straight

By: Mark Lees, PhD
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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40% answered true; 60% answered false

Even though eating excessive amounts of fried foods is not a healthy nutrition habit, there is no scientific evidence that greasy foods cause or worsen acne. However, there is evidence that working in a greasy environment, such as a fast-food restaurant, may worsen acne due to the skin being exposed to airborne grease from frying foods.

True or false? Sun helps dry up acne lesions.

46% answered true; 54% answered false

The ultraviolet rays of the sun do kill acne bacteria and help to dry up acne lesions. Additionally, natural pigmentation from tanning can help hide the redness of acne. However, the same rays cause inflammation and long-term damage to the skin that might eventually lead to premature aging or even skin cancer. There are better—and much safer—ways of drying acne lesions using effective skin care.

True or false? Natural products are less likely to cause breakouts.

15% answered true; 85% answered false

There is no evidence that skin care products of natural origin are less likely to cause breakouts than those made with synthetic ingredients. In fact, many natural skin care products contain natural oils that may be broken down in the follicle when applied, ending up as fatty acids, many of which are known to be comedogenic or acnegenic.

Synthetic ingredients such as silicones and polymers do not break down or create fatty acids. Additionally, essential oils can be stimulating and irritating to the follicles, and many frequently used carrier oils for aromatherapy are known to be comedogenic.

True or false? Acne breakouts concentrated in the chin and jawline areas are likely caused by hormone fluctuations.

82% answered true; 18% answered false