Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by dirty skin and there is little evidence to support that eating chocolate or greasy foods is to blame. Fact is, there are four main factors that contribute to acne: excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, bacteria, and changing hormones.
While some of the specifics behind why these things cause acne are still unclear, there are plenty of things we do know for certain. To help avoid confusion and misinformation, we’re doing some myth busting of the biggest acne misconceptions. After all, in order to fight it effectively, you need to be able to separate fact from fiction.
Acne will clear more quickly if you scrub your skin clean.
Acne cannot be scrubbed away. Scrubbing your skin will actually worsen acne.
Instead of scrubbing your skin, dermatologists recommend that you:
• Wash your face gently twice a day with a mild, fragrance-free cleanser.
• Use your fingertips to gently apply the cleanser.
Rinse off the cleanser with warm — not hot — water, using your hands.
For some people, acne treatment just doesn’t work.
Today, virtually all acne can be cleared. If you’re not seeing results on your own, your skin care specialist can help you see clearer skin.
Treating acne when you first get it can prevent acne from becoming serious.
Early treatment can prevent a few pimples from progressing to skin with lots of different acne blemishes, including deep, painful cysts. Early treatment can also prevent permanent acne scars.
Changing your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week can help clear acne.
You want to change your sheets at least weekly to prevent new acne breakouts. By the end of one week, sheets and pillowcases are swarming with dead skin cells and bacteria. These can clog your pores, leading to breakouts.
Wearing makeup causes acne breakouts.
Wearing makeup is fine as long as you use cosmetics that won’t clog your pores. Makeup is less likely to clog your pores, when you see one of the following on the packaging:
• Won’t clog pores
If you use makeup brushes, be sure to clean them once a week. This can help prevent new breakouts.
Once acne clears, you need a maintenance plan to keep your skin clear.
To keep your skin clear, you need to treat the acne that’s brewing beneath the surface of your skin. Many people can keep their skin clear with an acne product you can buy without a prescription and acne friendly skin care. If you keep breaking out, a dermatologist can help.
A skin care specialist can also tell you when you can stop treatment.
Acne will clear on its own once the teenage years are over.
The teenage years are the most common time to have acne, but there’s no guarantee that acne will end with your teenage years. Some people have acne well in their 20s, 30, 40s, and even 50s and 60s. Some women who had few pimples as a teenager can develop severe acne as an adult.
Acne treatment takes time to work, so promise of an overnight cure is just hype.
You’ll find claims that a product can clear acne overnight, but that’s just hype. The truth is that acne treatment takes 4 to 8 weeks to work.
Blackheads appear when your pores get clogged with dirt.
Dirt doesn’t cause blackheads. You see a blackhead when a pore becomes clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The black color appears because air mixes with what’s clogging your pores—similar to when a cut apple turns brown.
A retinoid can help unclog pores and get rid of blackheads.
Tanning helps clear up acne.
If you tan, you’ll still have acne. Tanning also damages your skin. Research shows that when UV light from the sun or a tanning bed hits your skin, it increases your risk of developing melanoma (the most-serious skin cancer) and other skin cancers.
Acne treatment offers the best way to clear acne.
Squeezing and popping blemishes will get rid of acne quickly.
Popping your acne can actually make it more noticeable. Popping and squeezing your acne can also cause permanent acne scars. When you squeeze pimples, blackheads, and other types of acne, you also run the risk of getting an infection.
Having acne is really no big deal.
Acne often causes significant physical and psychological problems, such as permanent scarring, poor self-image, depression, and anxiety. Early acne treatment can prevent these problems.