With more than 50 million Americans and up to four-fifths of all teenagers suffering from acne, is it any wonder that there are so many "surefire" fast acne treatment methods passed around?

While it's true that each person's complexion is different, many of these ideas are well intended but ineffective and possibly even dangerous.  Many of these treatment methods arise from the mistaken belief that utilizing aggressive pimple remedies is always the best way to deal with acne.

Here’s is a list of things that you might be doing (along with lifestyle factors) that are actually making your acne worse and should be eliminated from your skin care routine.

Excessive cleansing

Over-washing and vigorous scrubbing may intuitively seem like the proper way to eliminate acne, but it does just the opposite. Too much washing removes a protective layer of essential oils, allowing more contact with irritants that set off the inflammatory response that lead to acne breakouts. Scrubbing can also cause bacteria to spread to other areas of your face.

Squeezing pimples

Things You're Doing Making Your Acne Worse

People often pop pimples thinking that it's a fast and easy way to get rid of pimples, but popping pimples can intensify acne in two different ways.

Once the outer skin of a pimple ruptures, the oil and bacteria spill out and often end up in other pores, spreading the infection and creating new blemishes.

Squeezing can also force the infected cells deeper into the pore, intensifying the inflammation and possibly resulting in scarring.

Smoking and nutrition

Smoking has a wide variety of negative health effects including a correlation to post-adolescent acne that happens as the result of a reduction in the composition of vitamin E in the smoker's skin. A poor diet high in refined sugar and high-glycemic index foods like white bread, rice and pasta spikes your blood sugar and increases insulin levels in your body, which can lead to more breakouts.

Hair products and cell phones

While hair care products aren’t necessarily applied directly to your skin, items like gels and hair sprays can seep onto your forehead, depositing potentially pore-clogging oils. Holding a cell phone against your cheek also traps oil and bacteria inside pores where they can become inflamed.

Changing skin care treatments too frequently

In your eagerness to get that clear complexion and to get rid of acne fast, you might get impatient if you don't see immediate results from the skin care product you’re using. But even with the very best acne treatments, dermatologists still recommend waiting four to six weeks before moving on to a new treatment. Not all products work on all complexions, and if you’re not careful, you could end up using one that irritates your skin.

As with other physical conditions, there is no substitute for education when it comes to creating an effective acne treatment program. A dermatologist can help you sort out fact from fiction and find the best treatment methods for your particular skin.