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Busting 9 Common Acne Myths

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

What’s real and what’s not?

There are plenty of acne myths that surround us. Your nosy auntie might have instructed you to slap on some toothpaste to get rid of those pimples that have been bugging you for days.

Yesterday, your friend might have nagged at you to stop bingeing on your favourite pack of chips to clear your skin. The other night, you may have come across an online article touting the effects of exfoliating your skin for acne.

These are but some everyday examples of information nuggets we get from various sources (that is, if you consider them that way).

What Is the Truth About Acne?

Always wondered why that angry little pimple had to pop up the night before an important day?

Our skin’s tiny pores are openings to follicles.

These follicles consist of a hair and oil gland.

Acne happens when the follicles on your skin are blocked with dead skin cells and oil. When a clogged pore is infected with bacteria, it becomes a pimple.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t just appear on your face, but on other parts of your body as well, like your back, chest, neck and shoulders.

9 Acne Myths

Eating Sweet, Greasy and Fried Foods Leads to Acne

For centuries, people have been linking diet to acne, and claiming that unhealthy food triggers and worsens it.

These claims are thought to have stemmed from the idea that most acne sufferers have oily skin, and should therefore abstain from oily food. However, studies have shown that chugging down your favourite coke, fries and fried chicken may have zero to minimal impact on your condition.

More research may be required to find out whether your diet does have a certain effect.

The oil that gets on to your skin, on the other hand, can worsen an oily complexion and lead to greater breakouts.

Drinking milk has been suggested to link to increased acne, and a low glycaemic index (GI) diet with plenty of fibre, fruits and vegetables has been regarded as ideal to improve acne.

Let Acne Improve on Its Own

You’ve probably heard how you’re not supposed to pop a pimple, but what about leaving acne to heal on its own?

When your pores are clogged and you ignore it, bacteria may lead to inflammation and worsening of your pimples.

Don’t leave it there to grow and remain on your face for a long period of time! There are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that you can use to improve those nasty zits.

Filthy Skin Leads to Acne

Don’t wash your face throughout the day?

Don’t worry - this won’t cause acne to appear, and neither do you have to cleanse your face more than twice a day. You don’t need to scrub it like your life depends on it either.

Go easy because washing your face too often, too harshly can worsen any existing acne. Wash it once or twice daily with a gentle cleanser and warm water instead of cold or scalding water.

You Can Use Toothpaste to Get Rid of Your Pimple

Toothpaste sounds like a super convenient and affordable zit zapper, doesn’t it?

It might, if it actually works that way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t,

On the other hand, substances like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, as well as a trip to your dermatologist, might.

Only Teenagers Get Acne

Thought that your acne woes would go away after you finished puberty?

Think again.

Acne happens in babies, children, teens and adults. You have baby acne that develops around two to four weeks after birth, toddler acne that occurs in children between one and 10 years of age, to adult acne that happens after 25 years old.

Although their forms may vary, they are still acne.

Putting on Makeup Results in Acne

Makeup makes you feel beautiful, but some people think that slapping on foundation and concealer causes a breakout.

This can be true to a certain extent, especially if you’re referring to thick, pore-clogging products that are oily and heavy. Use the right type of makeup and skincare product that is lightweight and breathable.

While these may have some effect on your acne, they won’t be as bad as the former.

Stress Causes Acne Breakouts

Crediting your recent bout of pimples to a particularly stressful project you’ve been handling?

Although this claim may not be unfounded, stress doesn’t lead to acne directly. Instead, stress affects existing acne by slowing down the healing time and increasing the potential of it worsening.

Wearing Sunscreen Causes Pimples

“Don’t wear sunscreen, the oil will give you pimples.”

Heard this far too often?

This may be true - if you’re using chemical-laden sunscreen products. Remember that sunscreen is extremely important in any skin care regime, and it’s always recommended to go for physical sunscreen that uses active ingredients like zinc oxide.

Exfoliating Reduces Acne

Scrub, scrub, and if it doesn’t work, rub harder - right?


Excessively exfoliating your skin can make your condition deteriorate because of inflammation. It can result in irritated skin that looks red and angry. You only need to exfoliate once or twice a week to boost and speed up skin cell regeneration.

The Bottom Line

As with anything else, it’s important to know how to differentiate the myths from the truths. Do your research or speak to a qualified professional, like your dermatologist, for reliable advice that comes from knowledge and experience.

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