magazineI’ve noticed over the years that anything I read about acne in magazines is usually replete with errors and terrible misinformation. I’m at my dad’s house for a few days right now and my step mother gets Fitness magazine. The cover claims “Clear Skin Breakthroughs That Really Work.” I had to crack it open and read it. Their advice boils down to using salicylic acid and perhaps staying away from milk. Wow. Such bad advice. First of all, anyone who researches acne to any degree knows that salicylic acid is very weak at controlling breakouts. The legal limit for salicylic acid products is 2% and at this concentration it does very little if anything to help clear the skin. And milk has been associated with breakouts in only very limited, confusing studies based on people recalling what they ate many years previously. This evidence is so flimsy that the authors in The Journal of Clinics in Dermatology concluded, “Our conclusion, on the basis of existing evidence, is that the association between dietary dairy intake and the development of acne is slim.”

unnamed-2I could go on and on here picking apart the deep horrendousness of this one supposed “Clear Skin Ahead” article as it is titled inside the magazine, but suffice it to say that this article will do nothing for anyone other than cause them frustration and confusion. This is true of upwards of 90% of other articles I have read in major magazines over the years. Can you tell I’m mad? Well, I am. Ok, I just have to quote one more thing from this article. Haha. Keep in mind that almost every journalist who has ever interviewed me has misquoted me, so I’m not dogging the doctor here. But they quote a doctor saying, “sweat and bacteria left on the skin after a workout can be a breeding ground for breakouts…” The reality is that bacteria on the surface of the skin has zero to do with acne. Zero. It is bacteria deep within the skin which causes acne. Far from clearing things up for the readers of Fitness magazine, this quote just reinforces yet another myth about acne.

Bottom line: Don’t believe pretty much anything you read in magazines about acne. And to extrapolate, don’t believe pretty much anything you read in magazines period.


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  • Penelope

    This is so true. Something particularly annoying about magazines is also the way they trivialise the issue (“It’s easy to enjoy clear skin: try not to be stressed and make sure you eat lots of vegetables” – acne is a genuine medical issue, people, not a lifestyle choice!). You will also never see a magazine article that simply tells you to love yourself despite your zits. Clearly written by “journalists” who have no experience whatsoever of what they’re writing about.

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU. I try to stay far away from magazines for this reason among many others. It’s misinformation like this that fuels the never ending stigma of severe acne. I for one am a little tired of people questioning completely irrelevant aspects of my life in regards to my acne (ex. “Are you washing your face twice a day and drinking lots of water?”) I always keep my cool with questions like this but deep down I am pretty infuriated – not at these people, but the media in general for perpetuating this awful misinformation.

  • Titanmama

    Although I do understand the point about the glib advice given in magazines about acne, I am learning from personal experience that cutting down on dairy can have a tremendous effect on deep, cystic, painful, acne lesions. Since everyone does not have that kind of acne response, perhaps dairy may not be an issue for them, but it should definitely not be dismissed because of a lack of studies.

    The lack of a financial incentive to do the studies is going to make this an ongoing problem, but there is enough real world people noticing this correlation – myself included – that it could be valid for people suffering from the most severe forms of acne.

  • Nano Spray

    “The reality is that bacteria on the surface of the skin has zero to do with acne. Zero. It is bacteria deep within the skin which causes acne.”

    This is gold, thanks Dan..