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Health Team

Dermatologist Pops Myths on Pimples

Posted August 28, 2007 1:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2007 7:17 p.m. EDT

Pimples are one of the mysteries of growing up and it seems like even many grown-ups still get them, but what causes them -- chocolate, grease, maybe stress? Dermatologists said many teens and their parents rely on ideas about acne that are not really true.

While blemishes are common for teens, the reason they pop up might surprise you.

"The No. 1 myth, and you can't talk mothers of America out of this, (is) diet causes acne," said dermatologist Dr. James Spencer.

Spencer said at the top of the list of acne diet myths is that chocolate can cause them. It doesn't.

"Acne is hormonal and has nothing to do with diet," he said.

The question becomes how do you keep zits under control. Many teens try to ward off acne by regularly cleaning their face. However, Spencer said that is another myth.

"If you rub and scrub too much, you'll irritate your skin and make your acne worse," he said.

Spencer said normal hygiene is all it takes to keep your pores clean and if a pimple does form, it's OK to pop them.

"If you can gently push on it to get the bad stuff out then that's helpful, but if you have to squeeze and squeeze, you're going to push the bad stuff in and make it worse and worse," he said.

Many teens may have discovered that zits do seem to have a knack for bad timing, like right before a big date or school dance. Though there's no link between stress and acne, Spencer said stress may affect your hormones and hormonal activity can lead to zits.