The playground was one way to practice team effort and reap the rewards of victory. Another way many of us came together to forge a memorable bond was in relentless, daily battle with the mortal enemy…. our own teenage acne.
I remember one afternoon, a school friend of mine came over to gloat, and visibly prove, that she had cleared up her latest acne breakout in a single day. Incredibly, this lone soldier only used two things to accomplish this. The sunshine above her, and a well-practiced ability to lie very still. As I struggled to suspend disbelief, one had to admit that her face was indeed glowing and her pimples were gone. This was very exciting news indeed.
Unfortunately this experiment in “alternative medicine” proved only too good to be true, for my friend’s acne wasn’t really gone at all. Instead, it had deviously lied dormant beneath all the bronzy upper layers for a few blissful days until she awoke one morning to discover her face had been savagely occupied by the most aggressive and seemingly angry colony of acne we had ever seen. Feeling defeated and desperate, an immediate response team by educated professionals (a local dermatologist) was called upon to direct and oversee future strategies.
This particular myth is unfortunately no myth at all. This “beautiful in its simplicity” home remedy is still practiced by many teenagers and (gulp) even more adults. It caters to our baser desire to see immediate results, while not revealing its long-term consequences. At minimum, the intentional tan is in fact sun damage, with the strong possibility of skin cancer down the road. When the tan fades, scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that follows acne will be much more noticeable and last even longer. Additionally, those who are treating their acne with oral or topical antibiotics are warned to be particularly cautious of sun exposure, as their skin is more sensitive to sunburn during this time.
Remember a myth carries no guarantee of clinical results, and even better to remember, If it sounds too good to be true, avoid it completely as your skin deserves the best defense possible.