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Is acne caused by being unclean or not washing?

Teenagers often blame their acne on poor hygiene... not washing, being dirty or eating too much junk food. But are they right?

adult acne

When I was younger, more specifically a teenager, I was known as Acne King. And not without reason!

With a visage that had scores of both black heads and white heads, I was a walking talking running advertisement for acne. If the scorn of my peers (especially the girls) was one thing, the impossibility of removing the ugly acne I had was another thing altogether.

The general myths about acne didn’t help. My family members firmly believed that acne was a result of poor (or more specifically, junk) diet. While it was true that I enjoyed the frequent dose of junk food that the neighborhood fast food joints dished out, I wasn’t too sure that eating out was the cause of my acne. I mean, a number of my friends ate out with me, and what’s more, ate junk food even more frequently than I did. But they hardly had any acne. Something had to be wrong with the popular belief right?

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mature acne
I had seen the myth being busted right before my eyes. Another associated myth was about chocolate.

And since I loved chocolate in any form or shape, I would have found giving it up, even at the risk of remaining acne king, an abhorrent idea. But having read up and followed news and medical reports on the subject, I discovered to me relief that chocolate consumption had nothing whatsoever to do with acne.

Another myth that I did believe, and which sounded genuine and even scientific at that time, related to the assumption that acne was a result of dirt accumulation on the pores of my face. I never stopped to consider that if that was the case, why wasn’t the skin on my arms and legs, which were more in contact with dirt and grime than any other part of my body, riddled with acne? In any case, I spent several days, weeks and months assiduously washing my face with all kinds of soaps and anti acne creams in a bid to eradicate acne. To no effect. Finally, I also resorted to a fatalistic attitude and concluded that the more I stressed myself out thinking about my acne, the more they would continue to remain. It was at that point that I gave up bothering about my acne filled face. And guess what? A couple of years later, as I slowly grew out of my adolescence, the acne disappeared on its own! Although there are still a few tell tale scars of my acne king days, my face is clear and radiant today!


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