Lack of Information About Acne a Concern


There is a large amount of false information about acne, many of which stems from media, myths and other unreliable sources.  This is a cause of concern since a lot of these things floating around can be harmful and can cause a lot of uncessary hurdles for acne sufferers to overcome.  According to a survey, doctors found that most patients understand that the condition is mainly caused by hormones and genetic factors.  However, many people had been misinformed about how diet and hygiene effects acne.  In addition, many patients had unrealistic expectations about how long an effective acne treatment takes to put into motion along with unrealistic results.

In fact, the study found that 64% of patients believed hormones caused acne, along with 38% linking the condition to genetics.  Meanwhile, 32% of those involved in the survey believed their diet to be the cause, and 29% blamed poor hygiene practices, which are both largely supported by age old myths.  The belief in such factors, such as poor hygiene, can be harmful to those suffering from acne since they are the ones most likely to over wash and irritate their skin with irritating chemicals, which can aggravate the skin and make their acne worse.  In addition, half the patients believed acne was curable, and many of them believed that treatment for acne would take less than six months; meanwhile, around 30% believed it would take less than a month.  This is an area of concern, as unrealistic expectations are an indication about the amount of poor information circulating media.  This also sets up many patients for disappointment, as most doctors tell them to come back in a month or two to see if the selected treatment is effective, along with letting them know that acne is not curable, but it is controllable.

The survey was conducted by having potential patients, who were referred to dermatologists for acne treatments, fill out a questionnaire in the front office  before meeting with the doctor.  The questionnaire consisted of questions about the causes and contributing factors of acne, knowledge and expectations of acne treatments, their sources of information, and the influence acne has had in their lives, relating to social, career and self perception situations.  The study found that family doctors were the most common source of information about acne, but popular media outlets, such as TV and magazines were responsible for a large amount of both accurate and inaccurate knowledge about acne.  In addition, over half the people said that they believed they did not know enough about acne and believed that there is not enough information on the topic available, suggesting the need for improved efforts to educate the public, whether that is through providing better information through traditional methods, such as brochures, or public programs.  This is also consistent with comments many dermatologists have made about the amount of questions that typical patients come to them with.

Finally, the lack of information has led to the majority of people to seek acne treatments after a year of suffering from it.  This is mainly because many of the people believe that they can just “weather it out” after time.  However, this is rarely the case, and this kind of mentality can be harmful as it raises the risk for scars that acne can leave, majority of which are permanent.


Sources: WebMD