Here’s an interesting acne fact: over 50 million Americans are affected by acne every year.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions and can show up at any stage in your life, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Acne occurs when you have excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria caught and clogged in your pores. This leads to inflammation and irritation, resulting in pimples and other blemishes such as whiteheads and blackheads.
Despite how common acne is, there are a lot of myths surrounding the skin condition. So let’s debunk the most common acne myths, break out some acne facts, and show you how to properly care for your skin to reduce acne.
Acne Myth #1: What You Eat Doesn’t Impact Your Skin
The research shows that there is no relation between what you eat and acne. However, people may have different experiences with food and acne. Some individuals may notice a significant improvement in their skin after avoiding certain foods, while others may not see any change. This can make it challenging to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between diet and acne.
A few studies have shown less acne with lower glycemic index foods. So, if you notice that you get more acne when you eat more sugar, then don’t eat as much sugar.
Acne fact: A low-glycemic diet may reduce acne
This is because high glycemic foods can cause a spike in blood sugar and inflammation throughout the body, which can then lead to breakouts and acne.
Limiting dairy and increasing consumption of low glycemic foods (like fresh vegetables, some fresh fruits, beans, and steel-cut oats), omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, zinc, vitamin A, and dietary fiber in your diet may help your skin problems.
Acne Myth #2: Only Teenagers Get Acne
Acne is commonly associated with puberty due to the hormonal changes that occur during this time. These changes can lead to increased sebum (oil) production and clogged pores.
Some people think that only teenagers get acne because many teenagers grow out of their acne-prone skin when their hormones level out in their early twenties.
Acne fact: People of all ages can develop acne
Teenagers are not the only ones who experience acne due to hormonal changes. Women experience hormonal fluctuations during their menstruation cycles, pregnancy, and menopause.
These fluctuations can trigger acne like puberty. But hormones aren’t the only cause of acne. You can develop acne due to genetics, stress, certain medications, health conditions (like PCOS), and skincare/makeup products.
Adult acne is acne that occurs from age 20-50 years old.
Acne Myth #3: You Need to Use More Skincare Products to Make Acne Go Away
When people start experiencing acne breakouts, they often turn to excessive amounts of serums and cleansers to clear them up. This is often because … well, marketers are good at their job.
Hear us out.
Each company wants you to purchase their product and they’ll market it accordingly, claiming that it’s the magic “acne-curing” formula. Those with minimal experience in proper skincare routines may see these bold claims and end up overspending on products that they don’t need.
Acne fact: Your skincare products might be contributing to your acne
Using too many skincare products at the same time can clog your pores, dry out your skin, and cause irritation. Especially when your products have comedogenic ingredients.
Instead of spending money on products that might be worsening your acne, start with a simple 3-step skincare routine: cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen.
As you continue learning about what your skin needs, you can test out products and add them to the mix. For example, if you find that you’re still experiencing acne breakouts after establishing a routine, talk to your doctor about prescription-strength medications like tretinoin cream.
Acne Myth #5: Acne Can Only Happen On Your Face
Acne happens on the face, back, chest and shoulders. Acne is most commonly associated with the face because it’s the area where most people experience it. And it’s usually the only place people see acne on others.
Acne on other parts of the body is typically covered up by clothing. Additionally, discussions about acne usually revolve around breakouts on your face. Even marketing campaigns focus their ads on facial acne.
Acne fact: Acne can pop up wherever you have pores
Acne can occur on all parts of the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, neck, chest, and back. These areas have a high concentration of oil glands, which are responsible for producing sebum, a natural oil that helps keep the skin moisturized.
When these glands become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, and excess sebum, it can lead to the development of acne. The severity and location of acne can vary from person to person, and it can range from mild to severe forms of acne, such as cystic acne.
The good news is that acne treatments that work on your face also work in most other places.
Acne Myth #6: Adult Acne is a Chronic Condition
Acne is a common skin condition that affects everyone differently– but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to deal with it forever.
Depending on your family history, acne might go away on its own (especially if you’re a teenager). For adults, the story is a little more complicated. Acne may only appear during certain times of the month (Hey, Aunt Flo!) or be caused by genetics or a medical condition (PCOS).
Acne fact: You can treat acne and prevent new breakouts
Over-the-counter acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can help pimples go away faster and prevent new ones from forming. Other prescription medications can help prevent acne altogether by preventing hair follicles from becoming clogged (like Tretinoin, Adapalene or Differin).
Acne Myth #7: You Shouldn’t Wear Makeup if You Have Acne
A common misconception is that you should avoid wearing makeup if you get lots ofacne breakouts. It’s assumed that makeup products will clog your pores and irritate your skin, making acne worse.
And while certain products might do just that, it’s not always the case.
Acne fact: People with acne can use makeup
Just because you have acne, it doesn’t mean you need to stop wearing a full face of makeup. However, you should be mindful of your skin and choose the right makeup.
Always make sure you’re cleansing your face every day so that your pores stay clean. Never go to bed with makeup on. Additionally, you may need to take a look at your makeup products and switch out the ones that can irritate your skin.
Look for products labeled “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free”. These products are less likely to clog pores.
The causes of acne aren’t always how they appear on the surface — many factors can contribute. Ensure that you’re doing the proper research before you start incorporating new things into your skincare routine.
If you have acne and want to get on the road to clearer skin, get started with Pandia Health today! Our board-certified expert doctors can prescribe a range of acne treatments based on what’s best for you and your skin.
Pandia Health is dedicated to providing accurate, reliable health knowledge. Check us out on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and our other social channels for more information about acne treatments, women’s health, and lifestyle habits.
Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or changing acne treatment.