4 Acne Myths Busted!

Even though acne is, unfortunately, a very common skin condition, there are so many myths about it circulating around that it can be hard to know what to believe and that may prevent you from treating this condition properly. So, today, I’d thought we could set the record straight on a few acne myths:

1. Washing your face often prevents breakouts

Washing your face several times a day won’t help you get rid of acne or keep the breakouts at bay. That’s because acne isn’t caused by dirt. But using a cleanser too often, especially if contains harsh detergents, will dry out your skin and irritate it, thus exacerbating your condition. Instead, you should use a mild and gentle cleanser both in the morning and before going to bed, and pat skin dry. In addition, stay away from toners that contain alcohol as those can be very irritating too.

2. If you have acne, you can’t wear makeup

Of course you can wear makeup to cover your acne. You just have to make sure it doesn’t contain any comedogenic ingredients that will clog pores and make things worse. Unfortunately even products labelled non-comedogenic can sometimes contain problematic ingredients, so read the ingredient lists carefully to make sure you buy products that won’t aggravate your acne. Here, you can find a list of coemdogenic ingredients you should avoid. In any case, if a product makes you breakout, stop using it immediately.

3. Tanning helps heal acne

Actually no. There is no evidence that getting a tan helps heal acne. Instead, it just makes things worse. While a tan can temporarily help cover some of the redness, tanning in the sun or using tanning beds and booths dry up, burn and irritate skin. Tanning also causes premature aging and increases the risk of developing cancer. And on top of that, you’ll still have acne! So stay away from the sun and tanning booths and always wear sunscreen. This is especially important for people who use prescription acne medications as they make skin more sensitive to UV rays. If you really want to tan, use a sunless tanner product instead.

4. Popping pimples is the best way to get rid of them

Popping a pimple is never a good idea, especially if you have acne. It must seem like a quick solution, but it will actually slow down the healing process. That’s because when you pop a zit, you are pushing the bacteria further into the skin. That’ll make the area even more red and inflamed, and sometimes, cause scars. All things that are harder to treat than a pimple. And zit-popping devices such as blackhead extractors are just as harmful. If you have a pimple, dab some Benzoyl Peroxide or Tea Tree Oil on it to help it heal faster.

Do you know any other acne myths?

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  1. Jennifer Gibson says

    Hello, I am an aesthetician and have been in practice for over twenty years and as a young lady I suffered with cystic acne. I love working with people of all ages and especially with clients who have acne. I am also a very realistic aesthetician and will only inform my clients with real and accurate information am not interested in just selling a product. I have found most all people really do want the bare facts and real answers to their questions. I as an aesthetician also know people who have acne or just high amounts of comodones are going to try to extract them so instead of telling someone to never pop a pimple I would much rather teach them how to do it the correct way. I do recommend they find a aesthetician who can perform the extractions for them but we all know what happens when you wake up and look in the mirror and find a large pimple that has developed over night. So I applaud you for position myth busters which I agree are most all true .

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Jennifer, hi and thank you for your comments. Your clients are lucky to have an aesthetician like you who gives them honest information instead than saying anything just to sell them products. You’re also right that a lot of people will try to pop their pimples even if they know it’s wrong and in that case, it’s best to teach how to do them properly or tell them to have it done professionally to limit the damage.

  2. ADINA says

    do you have a recommendation regarding a foundation for acne skin? i am currently on accutane and i wouldn’t want to mess my treatment up by using the wrong products. thanks

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Adina, have you tried Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup? That’s a good foundation for people suffering from acne.

  3. says

    I’m horribly late to the party but hopefully this helps other late arrivals :)

    I wanted to point out that comedogenic ingredients aren’t necessarily a problem for acne-prone skin. I know that sounds like a contradiction but the whole comedogenicity concept is somewhat dubious. One problem with it is that the tests use 100% concentrations whereas in products the ingredients are present in much smaller concentrations. It’s a matter of dosages.

    Another point is that tests often use exaggerated conditions to increase skin penetration. This of course exaggerates also the comedogenicity of the ingredient.

    Unfortunately, there’s very little actual research on this. In 2005 Greek researchers tested 10 different products containing known comedogenic ingredients in 6 people prone to back acne. They showed that the products didn’t cause anymore acne than known noncomedogenic ingredients. In comparison known comedogenic ingredients, when applied directly on the skin, caused 3 to 5 times more pimples.

    In short, I wouldn’t worry too much about if your favorite product contains comedogenic ingredients.
    Seppo´s last blog post ..To Have Acne Is HumanMy Profile

    • Gio says

      Seppo, welcome to the party! Better late than never. 😉

      Thank you for your comment. I had read something about the unreliability of comedogenic tests because they were made on animals, and so the results could not be applied to humans, but I wasn’t aware of the Greek study. Thanks for sharing that. Their findings are very interesting indeed.

      You’re right, whether an ingredient causes breakouts or not depends on so many factors, and it’s possible that some of those considered comedogenic aren’t at all. But I also think that some of them could be problematic. Isopropyl Palmitate, for instance, is considered comedogenic. The studies that found it to be so may be flawed, but every time I use a cream with a high amount of it, pimples pop up everywhere on my face. And I don’t even have acne-prone skin! If it’s pretty low on the ingredient list, though, it’s usually fine, so dosage certainly matters. Thanks for pointing that out.

      I agree that we shouldn’t worry too much about comedogenic ingredients, and most of them, in the way they are used in cosmetics, are probably fine and don’t cause any problems at all. But if your skin reacts badly to a product, I think it can be useful to know what ingredients have been found, even by studies that aren’t 100% reliable, comedogenic. It gives an indication of what you should avoid. Hopefully, further, better conducted studies will be done in the future, so we’ll know for certain what’s comedogenic and what’s not.

      • says

        I’m not sure how much you know about comedogenicity testing but some tests are also done on humans. I think cosmetic companies are moving away from animal testing, 1) because it just sounds bad and 2) because the data from animal testing is not very applicable to humans. I recently read a paper that reviewed different acne model (like the rabbit ear test). It concluded that most of them are horribly unreliable and that the rabbit ear testing can only tell if an ingredient is NOT comedogenic.

        I think I didn’t express myself properly in the earlier comment. My point was not to completely dismiss the comedogenicity concept. My rule of thumb is that if you find strongly comedogenic ingredients (4 or 5 on the scale of 1 to 5) at the beginning of the ingredients list then it’s a potential concern. And of course, if through your own experience you find that some ingredients irritate your skin, then of course those should be avoided.

        Some beauty and acne gurus just take the whole comedogenicity concept to ridiculous extremes. They encourage people to play acne detectives and check all the ingredients in a product against a 3 feet long list of comedogenic ingredients. And if they find even one comedogenic ingredient then the product is dismissed. That, to me, is a fool’s errand.

        Nice site, btw – even if I’m not exactly part of your target audience :)
        Seppo´s last blog post ..To Have Acne Is HumanMy Profile

        • Gio says

          Seppo, I’m sorry it took me so much to reply. I’ve been very busy with work lately and I’ve fallen a bit behind with comments.

          Now that you mention it, I think the article I’ve read was about the rabbit ear test. And it came to the same conclusion, that it’s not reliable. It’s good that they’re now testing these ingredients on humans, so hopefully that way we’ll know for sure what’s comedogenic, and in what doses.

          I completely agree with you there. That definitely is taking things too far. When something is too low on the ingredient list, it’s unlikely to cause problems. I think I didn’t express myself too well in the article either. I guess that in my effort to summarize, I didn’t mention to avoid those ingredients only when they were at the top of the list, so thank you for pointing that out.

          And thank you! :)

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