From old tales to failed experiments, there are a lot of misconceptions about acne despite the endless scientific evidence. It’s estimated that more than 90% of the world’s population is affected by acne at some point, which makes it obvious why it still remains a controversial topic. However, today, the skincare world is driven by science and years of research, so it’s fair to say now we can discredit the most common acne myths.
Busted acne myths
Read below the truth about the most popular acne myths so you can move on with your skincare routine.
#1 Popping pimples makes them go away
Squeezing pimples has quite the contrary effect, as this action leads to additional infection, scarring, and inflammation. When you pop pimples, you spread the bacteria and pus from the affected pore to surrounding pores, risking even more breakouts. Also, squeezing breakouts can delay the skin’s healing process. So, don’t pop your pimples yourself; go for an in-office facial. Do you need another reason? Squeezing your acne can cause permanent scars. There you go.
#2 Sun clears up acne
Sun only camouflages breakouts and does not heal them. This myth appeared because, on the first sunbathing days, pimples dry out and may disappear, yet these effects are short-term. “After sun exposure, the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) is thickened, and sebum production slows down. But then the skin produces more sebum trying to replenish the moisture loss, leading to breakouts”, dermatologist Dr. Nina Roos explains.
#3 Acne is contagious
Acne can not spread from person to person. Acne bacteria indeed has a role in its development but can’t be transmitted. Many people believe that and feel uncomfortable touching someone with blemishes, but the truth is that acne is not contagious.
#4 French fries cause acne
It’s one of the oldest acne-related myths. While you should keep the french fry consumption to moderate amounts for other health reasons, french fries do not affect acne in any way.
#5 Your diet has nothing to do with acne
For a period, it has been believed that diet doesn’t affect acne. Recently, studies proved there is indeed a connection between alimentation and acne. Research suggests that diet, particularly high glycemic index, and skim milk, may influence or aggravate acne.
#6 Makeup worsens acne
Even if some ingredients can clog pores and cause breakouts, using adequate makeup products can actually improve acne. You need products that won’t clog pores and are oil-free, non-comedogenic, and non-acnegenic.
Dermatologists suggest using powder-based mineral foundations with silica, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide because they absorb oil that would otherwise be clogging your pores. The secret lies in using a foundation that’s made for breakout-prone skin and won’t make your skin greasy or congest your pores. Equally important, be sure to clean your makeup brushes frequently; it can help prevent new breakouts.
#7 Moisturizers cause acne
Quite the opposite — dehydrated skin produces more pore-clogging sebum than a hydrated one. Apply a lightweight salicylic acid-infused moisturizer every day, as it helps pores unclog and balances excess sebum. Whenever you choose your moisturizer, ensure it skips potential pore-clogging elements, such as coconut oil, and it was formulated for acne-prone skin.
#8 Acne is not such a big deal
We are pro-accepting ourselves as we are and being confident no matter what. On the other hand, it’s essential to understand that part of growth self-care means taking it seriously.
The British Journal of Dermatology’s analysis included data from THIN, where the investigators found the risk for anxiety and depression was highest within one year of acne diagnosis — a 63% higher risk compared to people without acne. But with the right treatment, these issues can be prevented from piling on; you are not alone.
#9 Toothpaste can heal a zit
Toothpaste has ingredients that, yes, dry pimples out. But that’s not a product designed for the skin, as it can cause irritation. Instead, you can use a spot treatment that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
#10 Acne is curable
A cure for acne is yet to be discovered. Being a chronic issue, it can last from a few months to 25 years or more. Acne is a skin condition, meaning it’s a continuous situation that exists on the skin, but it can be held under control with proper medication, or skincare, depending on what causes it.
Read next: 12 Best Salicylic Acid Moisturizers To Fight Acne