Dr Pimple Popper pops acne myths

We were kind of surprised by some of these. 

Photo: iStock

She’s a dermatologist by day – and our guilty pleasure by night.

There’s something downright cathartic about watching Dr Sandra Lee’s (aka, Dr Pimple Popper) videos and when we spoke to the blackhead blaster, she wanted to clear up (pun intended – no, we’re not sorry) a few myths about acne that come up in her practice frequently.

First of all, says Dr Lee, “greasy foods don’t cause acne,” so no, a pizza or fries are not necessarily the root of your skin quandaries.

“Oil from our skin causes pimples, so unless you rub an oily slice of pizza on your face, it is not the direct cause of a breakout,” says Dr Lee, who also wants people to know that they can’t necessarily drink their way to better skin – even though hydration is crucial to a healthy system.

“Drinking a lot of water doesn’t necessarily improve our skin, and neither does over-washing your face, if you’re prone to breakouts.

“People have a misconception that they’re not washing their face enough, when in actual fact if you over-wash your face, you might be irritating the skin. This is particularly common in teenagers, who think they can ‘scrub off’ their acne,” which is simply not the case.

The most common causes of acne, despite the old wives’ tales about chocolate and lying (ever heard that one?!), are actually hormones and genetics, according to Dr Lee.

“A lot of our skin conditions are predisposed. We might be born with a tendency for acne-prone, dry or oily skin, which is passed down by our parents, although the reason so many of us experience outbreaks of acne in our teenage years are because of fluctuating hormones and clogged pores.

“Adult acne in women particularly is similar – it can often come out because of hormonal factors like ovulating and periods, which is why many women find that their skin follows a cycle, too,” says Dr Lee.

“A lot of it isn’t in our control,” she says, and while keeping a healthy diet and active lifestyle are important, acne breakouts are sometimes outside our remit.

What can influence though is effective skincare, and sorting through the sheer multitude of products available that promise a smooth, supple, wrinkle and acne-free complexion.

“Skincare is a multi-billion dollar industry, which can be hard and frustrating to wade through. I never recommend people try something because it worked for their mum, or sister, or friend, and that rather, they…

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