• Fact: It is a common misbelief that facial acne is caused by dirt. Your acne is not caused by dirt that blocks the pores from the top down. Rather, it is caused by blocked pores that start from inside the skin. [1] Excessive washing of your face can actually lead to more breakouts. You should wash your face no more than two times a day. [2] If you wash your face more often you run the risk of irritating the pores and causing them to become clogged. You can also over dry your skin causing your glands to produce too much oil. This oil can then block your pores.

    [1] Degitz K, Ochsendorf F. Acne. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2017 Jul;15(7):709-722.

    [2] Turgeon EW. Adolescent Skin: How to Keep it Healthy. Can Fam Physician. 1986 Nov;32:2427-33.

  • Fact: No, popping pimples does not make them go away faster. You may find that the pimple is temporarily less noticeable, however it will last for longer. Bacteria is spread when you touch your skin. You can force the bacteria deeper into your skin or spread it to other areas of your face. This bacteria can make your acne more inflamed. [1] Moreover, popping a pimple can cause acne scars which can last for months. Some scars even last for years. Scars can cause great distress. [2] So it is best to refrain from popping anything on your face. It is better to have a red spot that last for weeks than a scar that sticks around.

    [1] Dréno B. What is new in the pathophysiology of acne, an overview. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Sep;31 Suppl 5:8-12.

    [2] França K1, Keri J. Psychosocial impact of acne and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. An Bras Dermatol. 2017 Jul-Aug;92(4):505-509.

  • This may actually be the worst thing you can do. You may cause a break in the follicle wall and this may leave you with a scar. [1] A pimple that lasts a week or so is much better than to have a scar that lasts for months or even years.

    [1] Sánchez Viera M., Management of acne scars: fulfilling our duty of care for patients. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Jul;172

  • Many of us are hesitant to put moisturizers/lotions/creams on our skin because we are scared that we will breakout in acne. However, it is important to know that well hydrated skin produces less pore-clogging oil than dehydrated skin. You should, however, be careful when selecting a moisturizer. Many moisturizers on the market contain pore clogging ingredients that may make your acne worse. You are best off using a moisturizer with a water or light liquid base. [1]

    [1] Goodman G. Cleansing and moisturizing in acne patients. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2009;10 Suppl 1:1-6.

  • The key to wearing sunscreen is to choose the right type. Some sunscreens may cause acne so your best bet is to get a “noncomedogenic” type. The best options for young, oily, acne-prone skin tend to have a water or light liquid base. [1] Once more, you shouldn’t risk going out in the sun without protection as sunburn can make acne worse. [2]

    [1] Goodman G. Cleansing and moisturizing in acne patients. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2009;10 Suppl 1:1-6.

    [2]Allen HB, LoPresti PJ. Acne vulgaris aggravated by sunlight. Cutis. 1980 Sep;26(3):254-6.

  • This is a common misconception, however blackheads are not dirt. You may have found yourself scrubbing away at your blackheads trying to get the “dirt” out. This won’t help. In fact, it can irritate and aggravate the blackhead. Blackheads are dark/black due to their melanin content. [1] Melanin is the pigmentation in our skin. People with more melanin have darker skin types.

    [1] Klaus Degitz, Falk Ochsendorf, Acne, Journal of German Society of Dermatology, 4 July 2017


  • Adult acne differs from the type of acne that teenagers get. It can start in adolescence and continue on until adult hood. Alternatively, it can start at an older age (adult-onset acne or late acne). Acne in women is becoming more and more common. Acne can also affect men. [1] Your acne can look a bit different when it occurs in the adult years. It more commonly looks like reddish nodules around the mouth and jaw.

    [1] Ramos-e-Silva M, Ramos-e-Silva S, Carneiro S. Acne in women. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Jul;172 Suppl 1:20-6.


  • Fact: This idea dates back to the 17th century. People tried to stop young people from having sex before marriage by using the acne as a scare tactic. A man named John Harvey Kellogg is well known for his declaration that masturbation causes acne. [1] No scientific evidence has shown any sort of link between sexual activity and acne.

    [1] Rössner S. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943): “Masturbation results in general debility, unnatural pale eyes and forehead acne”. Obes Rev. 2006 May;7(2):227-8.

  • This is a common myth but it is untrue. Diet can affect your acne. Two problematic studies that were done in the 60s and 70s found that chocolate was not a cause of acne. These studies were widely read and accepted so not many other studies were conducted. [1] Today researchers have found that certain foods can make your acne worse. Some foods include: chocolate, bread, green tea, milk, white sugar, ripe banana, ice cream, apple, orange, and red meat consumption. [2]

    [1] Jennifer Burris, MS, et. al. Acne: The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy, March 2013Volume 113, Issue 3, Pages 416–430

    [2] Karadağ AS, et al. The effect of personal, familial, and environmental characteristics on acne vulgaris: a prospective, multicenter, case controlled study from Turkey. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Jul 11.

  • Fact: It may be true that 10-20 minutes of sun a day can help your acne. However, in general UV exposure is terrible for your acne. Staying too long in the sun will lead to skin damage and irritate your skin. When your skin is irritated and dry it can react by producing acne. Your pores become blocked when the dry skin over produces oil in response to the skins dryness. The inflammation from sunburn can also make your acne worse. The sun will also make those dark spots you get once a pimple as gone look even darker. [1]

    [1]Allen HB, LoPresti PJ. Acne vulgaris aggravated by sunlight. Cutis. 1980 Sep;26(3):254-6.

  • Toothpaste should not be a treatment for acne. Toothpaste can dry your pimples out. However, this comes at a cost as overly dry skin is not healthy. Toothpaste has baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, menthol, essential oils, and triclosan. The menthol in toothpaste can cause irritation, rashers and inflammation. According to New York dermatologists, Dr. Neal Schultz ‘even burning can occur on skin from applying it to pimples.’ [1] So make sure you use toothpaste for what it is mean for: your teeth, and not on your pimples.


  • It may seem like chlorine can get rid of your acne. This is because chlorine has antibacterial properties. Chlorine can also work by drying out your acne. However, too much exposure to chlorine can have a negative effect on your acne. When you swim too often and are exposed to too much chlorine your skin becomes overly dry. This irritates your skin and causes your skin to produces more oil to create moisture. The result is an increase in acne breakouts. [1]

    [1] Humbert P. [Induced acne]. Rev Prat. 2002 Apr 15; 52(8):838-40.


  • Your acne is more than skin deep. Your acne can have serious psychological consequences. It can cause you to have a negative self-image. You may even become depressed and sometimes have suicidal thoughts. [1] If you are an adolescent who suffers from acne you may have low self-esteem and a poor body image. You may also find it difficult to socialize. Your acne may make you feel embarrassed and self-conscious. [2] That is why it is so important for you to get the right treatment.

    [1] Chilicka K, Maj J, Panaszek B. General quality of life of patients with acne vulgaris before and after performing selected cosmetological treatments. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2017 Aug 4;11:1357-1361.

    [2] Hazarika N, Archana M. The Psychosocial Impact of Acne Vulgaris. Indian J Dermatol. 2016 Sep-Oct;61(5):515-20.

  • You may notice that when your job becomes stressful you have more breakouts. Exam time may also lead to more unwanted blemishes. This is no coincidence. A 2017 study found that psychological stress can trigger your acne. [1] Another study found that college students’ acne became worse during exam periods. [2] So you may like to take some time out of your hectic schedule to do something pleasurable that helps you to relax.

    [1] Karadağ AS, et al. The effect of personal, familial, and environmental characteristics on acne vulgaris: a prospective, multicenter, case controlled study from Turkey. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Jul 11.

    [2] Chiu A, Chon SY, Kimball AB. The response of skin disease to stress: changes in the severity of acne vulgaris as affected by examination stress. Arch Dermatol. 2003 Jul;139(7):897-90.