In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Dr Michael Freeman discussed some Pimple Myths. Here's what he had to say about the causes and treatment of pimples.


Does chocolate give you pimples? 
Not one piece, but a high glycemic index diet can predispose to acne.

What about oily food?
There is no real association between the two.

Does wearing makeup cause pimples/make acne worse?
If the oil on your face contains makeup it can block pores and cause acne. Over cleansing can also worsen acne.

What about using cover-up over a pimple -- will that make it worse?
Not if it's only a spot treatment.

Does stress cause break outs?
Yes. Chronic stress lifts the natural testosterone and cortisol levels which both cause acne.

Does going out in the sun inflame pimples?
No it doesn't.

True or false: using a lighter moisturiser (or no moisturiser at all) will reduce your chance of getting pimples.

Finally, what are the actual causes of pimples/acne and is there anything you can do to reduce your chances of having a break out?
The cause of most acne is hormonal. This causes an imbalance of the oil glands and pores. This sets off a series of events which ultimately causes inflammation. The redness tenderness and the yellow heads are evidence of inflammation. Most treatments firstly aim to unblock the pores, reduce the size of the oil glands, and reduce the inflammation. Treating acne early can stop it changing into the more scarring cystic acne.


Does toothpaste help treat pimples?
It can dry a pimple and improve the appearance slightly.

What about eucalyptus or tea tree oil?
These antiseptics can reduce the bacteria on the skin however they can also irritate the skin which would make things worse.

True or false: popping a pimple is the worst thing you can do for your skin.
Yes this can cause scarring!!!! Not every time but often enough to leave some.

Does popping pimples cause more to grow in its place?

Do you have to change your pillow case daily to stop bacteria from growing (and giving you pimples)?

Do masks and beauty treatments work?
Some do. For example a salicylic acid peel will help.

What treatments DO work?
Theses days dermatologists can control all cases of acne. Before seeing a dermatologist use an exfoliating cleanser such as the BLOC Exfoliating Cleanser. No moisturiser only sunscreen. No scrubs. Low GI diet. A low concentration of Benzoyl Peroxide if needed.

Dermatologists will use a combination of treatments including:

  • Topical retinoids e.g. Adapalene
  • Antibiotics either topical or oral
  • Hormones can be addressed in females with anti-androgens in an appropriate pill, e.g. Yaz
  • The most effective treatment is Roaccutane, which these days is given in a low dose to greatly reduce side effects