Acne myths can be hurtful — physically, emotionally, and frankly, also in your pocketbook. But it’s difficult to tell fact from fiction, and since I’ve dealt with acne for most of my life, I can help you decode what’s real from what’s myth. Here are 7 acne myths you should know.
1. Acne Myth: It’s Caused by Poor Hygiene
Fact: Acne is not often caused by poor washing habits, and in fact, over-washing may or irritate skin.
When I was a tween, I developed severe acne. My father made it worse, though not on purpose, because he had heard, and believed, this acne myth. While it’s important to wash your face, it’s not necessary to over-wash or to use harsh treatments in an effort to get rid of acne. In my case, the harsh soaps actually CAUSED my breakouts, and worsened them, which in turn made my father suggest more and more harsh treatments. We finally discovered, quite by accident when I lost an expensive product and had to go without for a week, that my acne cleared better on its own, with just warm water and a gentle cleanser.
2. Acne Myth: It’s Caused by Eating Too Much Chocolate
Fact: Diet rarely plays a role
This is another acne myth my father believed! I kept removing different junk foods from my diet until I was subsisting on all the foods teens loathe — and I still had acne! Most of us don’t get acne from the foods we eat. In fact, according to my dermatologist, the rash some of us get from eating certain foods isn’t acne, but an allergic reaction.
3. Acne Myth: This Product Worked for Me, so…
Fact: Everyone’s skin is different
If your best friend recommends a product or a homeopathic method to cure your acne, go ahead and try it, but don’t get your hopes too high. Everyone’s skin is different, so what works for one person may make someone else’s acne worse.
4. Acne Myth: You Have to Squeeze Them!
Fact: Squeezing pimples spreads infection, and can cause scarring, too
This is such a bad idea! While you may be sorely tempted to squeeze that whitehead on your chin, resist! Squeezing pimples can cause an infection, spread the oil that causes acne, and even leave nasty scars!
5. Acne Myth: Using Hydrogen Peroxide Will Help
Fact: It doesn’t help, and may actually irritate skin
A recent study showed that using hydrogen peroxide on pimples (or other broken skin) can actually cause mild to moderate irritation — without helping “cleanse” the area. If you’d like, you can try benzoyl peroxide, but leave the bubbly stuff in the brown bottle for other treatments.
6. Acne Myth: You’ll Outgrow It
Fact: Most of us do not outgrow acne, and graduate from teen acne to adult acne
This is one acne myth I wish was true! Unfortunately, while some teen acne is caused simply by the fluctuation in hormones as we go through puberty, it’s not likely to end. In fact, we’re simply going to graduate from teen acne to adult acne. That’s right — you may have the distinct pleasure of worrying about pimples and wrinkles at the same time.
7. Acne Myth: You Just Have to Live with It
Fact: There’s hope!
On the plus side, there’s no need to suffer with either teen or adult acne! There is hope, and your dermatologist or beautician can help. Mix and match products until you find a regimen that works for you. Or, better still, visit a reputable dermatologist and see how he or she can help!
Now that we’ve busted so many acne myths, do you have hope, and perhaps a new skin care regimen that might yield clearer skin? I hope so! I know my skin improved once I stopped using harsh soaps and toners. Which of these acne myths was surprising to you? Which did you already know? Please share!
Top Photo Credit: AlanHarper01