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Acne – What My Grandmother Told Me

I can still remember when I first became an acne sufferer. Ok, maybe not the exact day. It started with one little spot. And then a few more came. Before I knew it, suddenly there was a whole colony of spots. A few had even joined forces to form mega-sized pimples. And that was when everyone, including my grandmother and her postman, had an opinion about why I had acne and what to do about it. It took me a while of painful experimenting to learn the truth about acne, and to distinguish fact from fiction.

Opinion : it’s just part of growing up. Stop fussing. Fact : Mostly true, I’m afraid. Most acne develops just after puberty, lasts a few months or years, and then disappears naturally.

Opinion : It’s all your father’s fault. It’s always your father’s fault. ( This one came from my maternal grandmother). Fact : Possibly true. As with many other disorders, inheritance does make a difference to whether or not you develop acne. If your parents and siblings all had short-lived acne, it is less likely for yours to continue indefinitely. However, if all your family had severe acne lasting for years, well, tough luck.

Opinion : It’s just your hormones. Fact : True. Male hormones called androgens do play an essential role in the development of acne. Many women also notice that their acne appears or gets worse as the menstrual period draws near, and then settles after that.

Opinion : You are too stressed up. It’s this horrible school system. Makes children memorise too much. Fact : Possibly true. The stress, not the memorising too much. There is possibly a hormonal connection between acne and stress. Some people develop large spots just before an important exam or job interview.

Opinion : Your face is too oily and dirty. Fact : Dirt has nothing to do with it. But acne sufferers in particular tend to have oily complexions.

Opinion : It’s that horrible cheap make-up that you bought. Fact : Possibly true. The use of oily cosmetics or suntan oils can exacerbate the condition in those who are already predisposed to acne.

Opinion : Stop eating chocolates and sweets. Don’t eat peanuts. Cut out the fried foods. Fact : False. Chocolates and sweets do not cause acne to become worse. However, a good healthy diet can do wonders for those with acne-prone skins.

So it looks like my grandmother and the postman did know a thing or two about acne after all!

Karen Cheong is the author of There’s No Need To Suffer With Acne.

For a free copy of her latest book, visit