Which 5 statements about ACNE are TRUE?

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  • 🅐 Acne is an inflammation of the follicle.
  • 🅑 Skin conditions like keratosis pilaris, pityrosporum folliculitis, ingrown hair, and others can be confused for acne.
  • 🅒 Acne means your skin is dirty.
  • 🅓 Oily skin is something that needs to be fixed.
  • 🅔 Things that cause acne include pore-cloggers; substances that irritate the pore including allergens, disinfectants and PPEs; inflammatory food; poor sleep; stress; hormones; some medications, bacteria, fungi, mites, genes.
  • 🅕 Because “Comedogens” are tested and graded consistently, you can generally trust ratings that you see on the internet.
  • 🅖 “Comedogens” are more accurately determined by human skin tests, not Rabbit Ear Assays which are old and inconsistent.
  • 🅗 Acne only affects teens and people with oily skin.
  • 🅘 Because so many things can cause acne, and some skin conditions can look like acne but aren’t, you should see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • 🅙 Antibiotics and other medications to manage acne are *never* necessary.
  • 🅚 Coconut oil, stearic acid, and stearyl alcohol are not comedogenic.

 ANSWERS: 🅐🅑🅔🅖🅘🅚 are TRUE.

TRUE: 🅐 Acne is an inflammation of the follicle.

Acne usually starts as a comedone (plugged hair follicle). Sebum production follows, then an overgrowth of a microbe in the follicle (innate bacteria, fungi, or mites), which leads to more inflammation and the formation of papules, pustules, and/or cysts.

TRUE: 🅑 Skin conditions like keratosis pilaris, pityrosporum folliculitis, ingrown hair, and others can be confused for acne.

Many bumps and lesions can be confused for acne, which is why it’s so important to get an accurate diagnosis from a dermatologist.

TRUE: 🅔 Things that cause acne include pore-cloggers; substances that irritate the pore including allergens, disinfectants and PPEs; inflammatory food; poor sleep; stress; hormones; some medications, bacteria, fungi, mites, genes.

Acne has LOTS of possible causes. And unless you identify it or them accurately, you might be treating the wrong thing.

TRUE: 🅖 “Comedogens” are more accurately determined by human skin tests, not Rabbit Ear Assays which are old and inconsistent.

A surprising number of ingredients flagged as “comedogens” online aren’t because many websites use results of old, outdated, inaccurate Rabbit Ear Assays as their reference. Plus, “comedogens” only clog the hair follicle to cause comedones. “Acnegens” do the same thing AND cause irritation and inflammation. For acne prevention, you need non-comedogenic (based on newer, more accurate human controlled trials) as well as the absence of top contact irritants and allergens to prevent the irritation that eventually leads to inflammation and acne.

TRUE: 🅘 Because so many things can cause acne, and some skin conditions can look like acne but aren’t, you should see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Definitely. Your dermatologist will take a more complete history and possibly ask for tests or even a cross-consultation with another specialist. Because acne is inflammatory, what will help are the classic anti-inflammatory things you should be doing anyway: no junk food, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, proper sleep, and stress management. But which topical products will work for your acne, and if you need an oral medication, is best determined by your dermatologist.

TRUE: 🅚 Coconut oil, stearic acid, and stearyl alcohol are not comedogenic.

Based on those more reliable Human Controlled Trials, none of these ingredients are comedogenic or acnegenic.

For more, check out Lots Of Comedogenic Ingredients Aren’t Actually Comedogenic, and What You Really Need To Prevent Acne.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

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