5 Myths About Acne Treatment

Separating fact from fiction

There are many acne treatment myths out there, separating fact from from fiction can be tough. Is your favorite acne treatment tip grounded in reality?

Myth: You Should Vigorously Scrub Your Skin Every Day

Woman getting a face scrub in a spa

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Reality: People with acne have a tendency to really scrub their face, trying to deeply cleanse the skin and get that "squeaky-clean" feeling.

Washcloths, cleansers with abrasive ingredients, and coarse scrubs aren't always the best choices for skin with acne. Rather than help, they can cause irritation that exacerbates inflammation and worsens breakouts.

Your skin needs to be treated gently to minimize friction and irritation. Don't excessively rub or scrub your skin. This is especially true if you have inflamed breakouts.

Myth: Sweating Will Cleanse Out Your Pores

Woman Sweating

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Reality: Although it seems like sweating cleans your pores, it really does nothing to clear acne. And, if you aren't careful about showering immediately after getting sweaty, it can actually lead to an increase in breakouts.

See, your skin has two different types of pores: your sweat pore (called the sudoriferous pore) and your oil pore (or sebaceous pore).

Blackheads and pimples develop in the oil pore. Sweat, however, comes from a completely different pore. So, sweating won't push blackheads and blemishes from the skin.

The best way to get rid of those pore-clogging plugs of oil and debris is to have them extracted by a skin care professional. Keep them from coming back by using an acne treatment mediation daily.

Exercise is great for your body, but it's not really going effect your skin.

Myth: Use Super Drying Skin Care Products to Banish Oil

Woman washing her face
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Reality: Oily skin can be a bother, but using ultra-drying skincare products isn't the best way to go.

Your skin needs some oil to be healthy. Over-drying your skin will lead to problems of its own, like uncomfortable tightness and cracking. Not to mention that peeling, flaking skin doesn't look all that great either.

The trick is to remove excess oil without stripping your skin of every possible drop. The best way to do so is use a foaming cleanser that leaves your skin feeling clean, but not excessively tight and dry.

If your skin still feels too greasy for your liking, an astringent can help remove extra oil. But understand that just removing excess oil from your skin isn't going to clear acne.

Acne isn't solely caused by excess oil. Other factors are at play here, like hormones, certain acne-causing bacteria, even your genes. Just drying out your skin with products isn't going to change these other factors.

Myth: To Clear Acne Fast, Use a Lot of Topical Medication and Use It Often

woman holding a tube of acne treatment


Reality: It's tempting to slather on acne medications at every opportunity, but doing so won't heal acne any faster.

In fact, using too many acne medications, using them too often, or using too much at one time can actually harm your skin. Instead of getting the clear skin you were hoping for, you'll be creating excessive dryness, peeling, redness, and irritation.

Always follow usage directions on all acne medications carefully. Remember, it will take time to see results, so try to be patient. If after using over-the-counter acne treatments for several months there is no visible improvement of the skin, talk to your doctor.

Myth: There Is Nothing You Can Do About Acne

Acne vulgaris

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Reality: Today many treatment options are available to improve acne. Treatments include topical creams, oral medications, and more.

Whether your acne is mild or severe, if you are a teen or an adult, there are therapies available that will work for you. Don't hesitate to call your dermatologist to learn what treatment options will be most effective in healing your skin.

Acne is not something you must suffer through. Nearly every case of acne can be successfully controlled with time, persistence, and patience.

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Article Sources

  • Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, Alikhan A, Baldwin HE, et. al. "Guidelines of Care for the Management of Acne Vulgaris." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 74.5 (2016): 945-73.