Appreciation for acne myths essential in patient education

February 19, 2005

Familiarity with popular beliefs about factors affecting acne is an integral part of managing patients.

Familiarity with popular beliefs about factors affecting acne is an integral part of managing patients.

"We clearly know that many acne sufferers try to devise regimens and adjust their lifestyles in a self-directed effort to improve their acne. Therefore, knowledge of common acne myths is important in understanding what patients may be doing outside of our recommendations and so that we can counsel them about practices that may even be potentially harmful," notes Alexa Boer Kimball, M.D., MPH, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, Boston.

In a survey of Stanford University students, the results showed the most prominently held belief was that poor hygiene worsened acne. However, almost as many of the surveyed students believed acne was worsened by increased stress, touching the face, and popping pimples.