12 Popular Acne Misconceptions

This week is a busy week and I won’t be able to write many posts, so I’ve decided to post this a day early!


I’m sure many of us have had people think they’re trying to help when they point out how they can help our ‘skin problems’. Nothing is better for your self esteem than walking through the local shopping centre and having a sales associate at a skincare stand tell you that their product will ‘fix’ your skin, or that eyebrow waxing lady that constantly points out how “big your pores are” (or is that just me?).

Of course everybody has different skin and not everybody will benefit from the same routine. But this is just a general list of things people have told me over the years that aren’t as ‘fact’ as they have made themselves out to be. This is my own research and experiences on my own skin, so your experience may differ.

  1. You can only use products from the same brand 
    Your skin won’t be able to tell the difference between brands. In fact, I think it’s great to seek out the best individual products for your skin rather than stick to a particular line. Paula’s Choice says that the order you use the products is important, not the brand itself.
  2. Your skin “gets used to” products and stops working
    Dr Neil Schultz claims that it’s not usual for your skin to get used to the beneficial ingredients used in any skincare products. The only time this would happen is if your skin type changes. For example, if your skin changes from oily to dry then the products may stop working. Another exception is that your skin can “get used to” potentially irritating ingredients over time. Dr Shcultz uses an example of exfoliants. He may start off a patient with an 8% glycolic product then eventually increase the percentage over time.
  3. Your skin should feel ‘squeaky-clean’ and ‘tight’ after you use a cleanser
    Dennis Gross, a dermatologist in NY, spoke to today.com about common skin mistakes. If you’re skin feels tight after washing, you’re probably using a cleanser that’s too harsh for your skin. In the long run, this could actually cause more breakouts because your skin produces more oil to “compensate for lack of moisture”.
  4. Cheap products don’t work
    I was duped into buying way too many expensive products in the hope that my skin was somehow going to magically change because of the price. Looking back, a fair few of those products had just as many irritating ingredients as certain cheaper products. I’m not saying don’t splurge on skincare if you can afford it and enjoy it. But expensive products don’t necessarily mean good products. Make sure to check the ingredients and make a list of any your skin seems to break out from. There are good and bad products at all end of the price spectrum. I personally use http://www.cosdna.com to check ingredients and irritants.
  5. Makeup will make your skin worse 
    This is more likely a result of particular ingredients, not makeup in general. For example, I know I break out from Octyl Palmitate, so I avoid all makeup with that ingredient. It may just take some time to work out which ingredients don’t work for your skin.
  6. Sunscreen causes cancer and worsens acne
    I still hear this one regularly and it kind of baffles me considering we are living in a country where 2 in 3 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer before 70. If you’re living in Australia then you are probably well aware of the very real risk of skin cancer. According to Paula’s Choice, an Australia study (Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research) completed in 2013 showed that “when a well-formulated sunscreen is applied to exposed skin as directed, it offers 100% protection against all three types of skin cancer”.  Not only will sunscreen protect you against cancer, but it will also help certain acne scars. When you are in the sun with hyperpigmentation and no protection, it is very possible that it will darken. Wearing sunscreen helps you fade scars over time. I feel like this point in itself deserves a post of it’s own so I won’t go into too much detail and will make a more detailed post soon. Instead, I will link this so that you can choose to do your own research on the matter if want to delve deeper into it.
  7. Acne is caused by dirty skin
    Contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t caused actually by dirty skin. It’s caused by a number of reasons, including hair follicles being plugged with sebum and dead skin cells. This can cause inflammation. You can read about the different types of acne here. Washing your face too many times a day can actually cause more irritation to your skin by over-stripping, cracking and inflaming it. In turn, your skin may produce more oil and acne. It’s best to not over wash your face.
  8. Natural products are better
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to take the all natural skincare route. But this isn’t going to clear the skin of everybody and you shouldn’t feel bad if it’s not working for you. My routine has a number of non-natural ingredients and if it didn’t then I would probably break out a lot more. There are also a lot of natural ingredients that are quite harmful to the skin, such as cinnamon and lemon. It’s important to research individual ingredients rather than assume that natural or synthetic is better.
  9. Drinking water cures acne and dry skin
    When my skin changed from oily to dry I would drink bottle after bottle hoping it would improve my skin (much to my dismay…it didn’t). It’s very important to drink water and I would encourage everybody to make sure they obtain enough in their diet, but according to Nicki Zevola on FutureDerm, this is just an old wives tale. Dermatologist Dr Kate Rodan mentions that water doesn’t even go straight to the skin! For dry skin, using a moisturiser would be much more beneficial. This isn’t to say stop drinking water, it’s still very important for other things. But drinking water alone isn’t going to cure acne for many people.
  10. Those things on your nose are blackheads (and you can scrub them away)
    I’ve written a more detailed post about that here. But they’re not blackheads, they’re sebaceous filaments and they’re completely normal.  You sadly can’t scrub them away either, but there are other treatments!
  11. Your pores can open and close
    Your pores unfortunately aren’t a muscle, they can’t open and close with steaming or hot and cold water. From what I understand, steam may help soften the outside layer of the skin (I wouldn’t recommend steaming though because it can cause irritation and broken capillaries), but it doesn’t actually open any pores up.
  12. Tanning gets rid of pimples
    Tanning may make acne appear better short term but long term it will be doing  much more damage than good. Not only will it increase your risk of skin cancer, but it also has the potential to cause premature ageing and darken any sun sports and hyper pigmentation on your skin, making it appear even worse.

http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/myths/_/mixing-and-matching-products http://www.dermtv.com/can-skin-get-used-skincare-products
http://www.today.com/style/5-surprising-skin-mistakes-can-age-you-2D80555901 http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/sun-care/_/can-you-get-cancer-from-sunscreen https://www.futurederm.com/will-drinking-water-improve-skin-hydration-2/ http://thescienceofacne.com/q-is-acne-caused-by-dirt-or-not-washing-my-face-enough/ http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-looks/skin/myths-and-truths-about-your-pores/


5 thoughts on “12 Popular Acne Misconceptions

  1. inbeautweener says:

    I love this post! I struggled with acne since high school, and I still get the occasional break out. Number 7 is a HUGE pet peeve of mine! I hate when people assume I have dirty skin when I am broken out. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arielle says:

    Love your post, it is so incredibly informative! I have been struggling with acne (minor but still annoying) and there are so many different types of information online and they are all so confusing and contradictory. Thanks for sharing these!!


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