3 Latino Acne Skin Myths We All Grew Up Hearing
Writer. Spicier than a Hot Cheetos & Takis Challenge.
Sometimes, having acne can feel like someone's doing brujería on you. Facts. Acne is a sensitive topic, especially for those suffering from it. In many cases, you don't know where breakouts came from and nothing seems to make them go away. Unfortunately, people can't help but point it out and well, let's just say that we all have that tia or abuela who is known for being chismosa. Sí, acne sucks, but these Latino acne myths make it harder to get by and we're here to dispel these superstitions and help provide you with information to set the record straight.
If you grew up in a Latino household, you probably heard at least one of them - get ready to drop some mics from here on out!
1. "it's contagious"
We're Latin - kissing Reymundo y todo el mundo on the cheek as form of saying hello and goodbye is not only commonplace, but its downright expected. Yet, there's one acne myth nuestra gente perpetuates that is especially cruel and quite frankly, unnecessary.
Tu mamá would warn you about greeting people who had acne with a kiss on the cheek in fear of it transferring over to you. While mami may have meant well, this exclusionary action can make someone feel worse about themselves, or conversely, you have been on the receiving end of people actively avoiding greeting you in the customary manner. How rude is it to make someone feel unworthy of a simple greeting due to a particularly bad breakout? It's not fair and its not right.
Even though acne is thought to be contagious, it is completely false to think that and even worse to intentionally make a person feel excluded from being greeted due to breakouts. The next time someone within earshot perpetuates this myth, you can put a stop to it. Here's how:
So, let’s set the record straight: You can’t “catch” acne and you won’t break out from un saludo. You could break out from your own dirty pillowcase, eating greasy foods or consuming too much dairy, but most of the time, acne is caused by having a low skin cell turnover and spikes in hormones called Androgens - but never from skin-to-skin contact. There are different types of acne, and not a single one of them has ever been scientifically proven to be transferable through simple skin to skin contact. Greet your friends, family and relatives with acne - they don't deserve to be outcasted due to misinformation.
2. "It's dirty"
Absolutely false - just because a person has acne does not make them dirty. Yes, acne pops up when dirt and bacteria get trapped in pores, but it can also be from cells that don’t turn over fast enough so dead skin gets trapped meaning that pores don't have enough time to purge themselves of impurities. Hormones and genetics play a huge role, too.
Before you feel like you're alone in your acne, look around and ask your family members about their skincare issues in the past. If you suffer from acne, don't be surprised to learn your tía or tío suffered from it as well! Although good hygiene makes a big difference in your skin overall, having acne doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dirty or unkept.
So, let’s set the record straight: A little hormone known as Androgens increase in teenagers but they can be brought into adult women's lives trough menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause and a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. Some of these conditions are, you guessed it, genetic! If you have a family history of hormonal imbalances or high levels of Androgens, you'll these issues are typically accompanied by acne.
Notice how someone being "dirty" isn't a part of any of this explanation? Good. Don't let people around you say things about other people's hygiene that are simply untrue!
3. "you're stuck with it"
"Lávate la cara” was the only remedy mamá could think of to help you with your acne. We know. Aside from being told you're contagious and dirty, it’s common to think that once you have acne, you’re stuck with it and that the only solution you have is to scrub, scrub, scrub the acne away. Here's the worst part of all of this - overwashing your face or using the wrong ingredients can actually make your acne worse.
So, let’s set the record straight: Gracias a Dios that we have the skin care technology to pinpoint problem areas and skin concerns with the right ingredients (Glycolic Acid, anyone?). Our suggestion? While identifying the type of acne you have can help tons in alleviating your symptoms, even curing it, stepping away from drugstore remedies for acne is one piece of advice we can promote across the board. Most drugstore brands carry salicylic acid, an ingredient that can help with acne temporarily but it can also deplete your skin of its natural oils, forcing skin to overproduce oil in order to compensate which can leave you with more acne down the line.
Even the most extreme cases of acne can be treated with a trip to the dermatologist. Prescription strength lotions or gels with retinoid, a form of vitamin A, can also be prescribed to speed up cell turnover and unclog pores.
Acne is never something people actively welcome into their lives, but something about Latinos and their acne myths has us feeling vergüenza for something we have no control over… or do we?