Lemons and other acne-busting tips you must ignore

For a while now, a clear skin has been the number one fashion accessory.

Make-up has followed suit with the “my skin but better” mantra, meaning the heavy, mask and cake-like makeup of yesteryears is no longer in vogue. In its place is light, see-through makeup that lets the skin shine through leaving no place to hide a rough, pimply skin.

So what to do to get a clear, flawless skin?

This thought was foremost in my mind as someone who suffered from moderate acne that improved on its own accord and left no more than a few occasional spots. However, it recurred with a vengeance in my adulthood.

I can vividly recall spending a small fortune amassing a small war chest of zit creams, lotions and gels that finally a soul-destroying trip to a dermatologist that left me worse off.

So bad was my experience with the derma that a few months in, I was begging for my acne back. Anything but the reptilian skin I now had from his prescriptions.

Although acne is not a life-threatening condition, the emotional damage it inflicts cannot be underestimated. I went on to try different creams, lotions and home remedies, none of which worked. It did not help that everyone I met, from my mother to the stranger in the supermarket, had an opinion. Here is some of the worst advice I received:

1.       Soap

The common misconception is that acne is caused by dirt. This is further reinforced by adverts that urge you to use a certain soap to clear the pimples and give you an even skin tone. The truth is that there’s no single cause of acne. It is a complex interplay of hormones and bacteria that most often strikes when rising levels of hormones send sebaceous glands into overdrive. There is no soap yet invented that can wash away the acne. In any case, soap doesn’t stay long enough on the skin to make any changes.

2.       The kitchen

Lemons, garlic, vinegar and other vegetables in the kitchen are touted as the cure all for acne. They will burn your skin and leave behind marks that are harder to fade than the pimples from acne. Honey and egg white might be beneficial while turmeric may stain your skin enough to convince you that you’ve faded the marks. Eat the lemons or make lemonade but keep the lemons away from your face.

3.      Keep off fast foods

It’s a misconception that eating greasy foods brings out the spots. The life cycle of a pimple from the time it is formed to the time it shows up on the skin as a whitehead is 28 days. Yes, 28.

Anyone claiming that they got pimples from eating fries yesterday is just ill-advised.  But this doesn’t mean that diet is irrelevant, diets containing sugar, simple carbohydrates and highly processed foods prompts the release of hormones which might worsen acne flare-up.

Just not that fast.

4.       You’ll outgrow it

Acne usually most often strikes in teenage, however, it is now becoming increasingly normal for acne to occur appear later in life usually at stressful times when anxiety levels are at a high and for it to hang around longer. Studies have shown about 20 per cent of women and 8 per cent of men still have acne in their thirties.

Acne is a chronic condition, you really must manage it and never take your eyes off the target.

5.       Do nothing

A common piece of advice is that you do nothing and let acne resolve itself and this has to be the worst advice, ever.

The skin and the face are so visible that self-esteem and confidence are closely intertwined with them. Anyone doling this kind of wisdom deserves SGR vandalism penalties. Then again, they should be forgiven for they know not what they are saying.

For most people, acne is a treatable skin disorder and nobody should have to live with it.

Ask for help. Don’t let it ruin your life.

Struggling to get a clear skin? Email your story to: [email protected]