When it comes to skincare woes, acne pretty much has the worst rap. No one likes it, and we're always searching for the best solutions to obliterate breakouts once and for all. Acne is the unwelcome guest that keeps coming back; it can pop up anywhere on your body and has no regard for your social calendar.
Whether you're suffering from cystic acne or the occasional breakout, it's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind that no two skin types are alike, and what might work for one person isn't universal. However, we keep hearing the same acne "facts" over and over—but some of them have no merit. That's why we consulted with top dermatologists to uncover the truths behind some of the biggest acne myths. And we're not going to lie, some of them were real eye-openers.
Keep scrolling to read about the eight acne myths to stop believing, straight from the experts.
Myth One: If You Have Oily or Acne-Prone Skin You Shouldn't Use Oils
The truth: "Argan oil and jojoba, which are similar to our skin’s sebum, trick the skin into not overproducing oil, thus warding off breakouts. Hemp seed oil eliminates blackheads and is anti-inflammatory. Many people with oily complexions also suffer from acne and scarring. Rose hip seed and baobob oil help to heal repair tissue and brighten skin due to high levels vitamin C, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and retinoic acid." — Gary Goldfaden, MD
Myth Two: The Only Solution for Acne Is Getting a Prescription
The truth: "While it is often a good idea to see a dermatologist, there are some excellent topical products that can treat and control acne along with scarring and pigmentation. The combo of glycolic and salicylic acids help to exfoliate the skin, decrease sebum production, and actually show antibacterial properties when treating the organism that causes acne." — Craig Austin, MD
Myth Three: Sweating Causes Acne
The truth: "Sweat glands are not the same as oil pores. While sweat alone cannot cause acne, there is a condition called acne mechanica, a form of acne caused by a combination of heat, friction, and covered skin. It's often found on athletes who sweat under their helmets. Other culprits of acne mechanica include tight clothing, snug backpack straps, and headbands worn for long periods of time." — Rebecca Kazin, MD
Myth Four: You Shouldn't Exfoliate Daily if You Have Acne
The truth: "This is the old way of thinking because past exfoliation products were too abrasive for daily use and caused increased dryness, redness, and a generally compromised skin barrier. However, new products on the market use gentler exfoliants and can be used routinely without any issues. It's important to cleanse your face twice daily and that anytime you wash your face, there's a component or degree of exfoliation. For the products in your skincare routine to work best, you need to have debris-free skin." — Craig Kraffert, MD
Myth Five: Exposing Skin to the Sun Will Dry Out Pimples
The truth: "If anything, sun exposure can cause inflammation of the skin and dry the surface, causing sebaceous glands to increase secretion to compensate. This will result in oily rebound, clogged pores, and acne pustules." — Patricia Wexler, MD
Myth Six: Only Teenagers Get Acne
The truth: "Adults of any age can suffer from acne! Adult acne usually begins in your late 20s to early 30s. Stress is a catalyst that can play a role in aggravating the condition. Genetics plays a large part as well. Hormonal changes as a result of pregnancy can affect adult acne, worsening or improving the condition. Another hormonal change that can affect adult acne is discontinuing the use of birth control pills as well as premenstrual hormonal fluctuation. Tap water can play into the rise of adult acne, depending on a city's calcium and magnesium levels. And in today's society, adults look at their skin more critically, with a lower threshold of what acceptable, which drives them to seek treatment." — Dennis Gross, MD
Myth Seven: All Acne Is the Same
The truth: "Adult acne is treated differently than adolescent acne. Mature skin tends to be drier, so you need to be mindful that you aren’t blasting skin with harsh products that will further dehydrate it. You don't need to wash with an antibacterial soap, as it can severely dry skin and lead to itching and redness. Instead, use a gentle cleanser (try one with salicylic acid). Most of the prescription medications are very irritating and drying, and therefore can't be tolerated in adults because their skin is not as oily. I recommend retinoids and chemical peels as they effectively address acne and aging at the same time." — Rebecca Kazin
Myth Eight: Sunscreen Will Cause Breakouts and Worsen Acne
The truth: "Look for a physical sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, as these ingredients sit on top of the skin to protect instead of being absorbed. Also look for oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreens that come in a dry-mist application. Stay clear of ingredients like para-amino benzoic acid, which can cause clogged pores and allergic reactions." — Gary Goldfaden
Next up: how to prevent hormonal acne and keep it from coming back.
This post was originally updated at an earlier date and has since been updated.