Busting Acne Myths
If you have acne, you know the deal- everybody has a cream or suggestion to help you get clear skin. But how do you separate myth, medicine and folklore to find an acne treatment that works for you? That's what researcher Parker Magin set out to do in a study entitled, A systematic review of the evidence for ?reg;myths and misconceptions' in acne management.
Magin and co-researchers from the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, conclude that clinicians cannot be "didactic" when making acne treatment recommendations that are based on diet, hygiene and sunlight exposure. According to Magin, acne treatments should be individualized.
Meanwhile, the Academy of Dermatology has published a press release touting, The Stubborn Truth About Acne: Myths and Misconceptions. Though this article discusses a recent Stanford University survey that examined acne myths held among young adults, it offers no solid advice for securing an acne antidote. Moreover, its meaning is paradoxical.
For example, the article headlines Alexa Boer Kimball, M.D. who is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard University. Dr. Kimballs sums up the survey on acne by saying "that substantial differences still exist between popular belief and scientific support, yet this does not change the way patients attempt to care for their acne."
Dr. Kimballs's comments at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology casts a discrediting shadow over her groundbreaking research that aimed to separate acne fact from fiction. Just two years ago in 2003, Dr. Kimball was apart of a Stanford University study investigating the effect of stress on acne. Then, Dr. Kimball concluded that, "increased acne severity was significantly associated with increased stress levels… while self-assessed change in diet quality was the only other significant association." The results of this study suggested that the link between acne, and diet and stress are no longer hypothetical but warrant further examination.
Another investigation aiming to demystify acne came for Dr. Loren Cordain. Cordain and his associates explored the link between diet and acne in a study called Acne Vulgaris: A Disease of Western Civilization. Cordain noted that Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea and the Ache hunter-gatherers of Paraguay had no active cases of acne. This prompted the question, "So why does acne vulgaris affect 79% to 95% of the adolescent population in westernized societies?"
Cordain found that genes alone do not cause the disparity of acne incidences between non-westernized and modernized societies. Other factors must enter the equation.
Acne can arise from hormonal shifts, stress upheavals and a host of other causes. Your best defense against acne is observing yourself and noting what conditions, foods and emotions aggravate your acne situation. From there, you can use self-care to reduce acne flare-ups.
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