No matter your age or gender, one thing is for sure: No one wants to deal with acne. The frustrating skin problem is unsightly, embarrassing and a pain to deal with. It seems like we’re always on the hunt for the best acne obliterating miracle product or cover-up to hide those imperfections. After hearing much buzz about skincare myths, we turned to board certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt in New York City, who debunked a handful of acne-specific myths we totally believed. Check them out below.
- You will eventually outgrow acne — it’s only a teenage problem. “Acne is worse for females when they are women, and usually worse for males when they are teenagers,” says Baxt. It would be great if we could outgrow acne like we outgrew bad hair as a teen, but Baxt says, “90 percent of all teenagers have acne, but adult acne is a major problem for both men and women.”
- Washing your face consistently is the cure to acne. Sometimes we believe that if we scrub hard enough or often enough, acne will go away, but unfortunately, that is not the case. “Washing one to two times a day with an anti-acne cleanser is helpful, but you can’t wash or scrub acne away. Acne is caused by clogged pores, bacteria, hormonal fluctuations and overgrowth of sebum, and washing more won’t fix those causes. Also, there is no cure for acne other than isotretinoin, which is a pill,” says Baxt.
- Wearing sunscreen clogs pores. “If you wear an oil-free sunscreen, powder sunblock or gel-based, it should not clog your pores,” says Baxt. So when you’re out shopping for a facial sunscreen, make sure it is noncomedogenic and good for use on your skin type.
- Your diet has nothing to do with acne. We were surprised to find out that this one depends on the individual. Baxt says, “In many patients this is true, but there are acne patients where diet plays a role. Especially adult acne rosacea, where diet is often related. For regular acne patients, I always recommend a healthy diet, and if a particular patient finds that every time they eat chocolate they break out, then the best thing to do is avoid chocolate.” Healthy eating should always be a priority, but if you notice certain foods trigger a breakout, well then, you may have found the culprit.
- Sun exposure is good for healing a breakout. This one is a big-time false. Baxt advises, “Sun kills bacteria and that’s why many people feel their acne gets better when they go to the beach. However, the sun will darken any marks left over from a breakout, so it is not good to heal a breakout at all. Sun exposure will cause the marks to persist for a longer time.”