Ask 20 people about the best way to treat acne and you'll get 20 different responses, ranging from seemingly logical to downright loony. The one characteristic they have in common is that they are based on experience but not grounded in science or backing from the medical community. When it comes to treating acne, don't rely on old wives' tales or the latest “can’t miss” DIY method you found online.
Here are some of the more common myths about acne treatment that can help you sort out fact from fiction:
1. Let acne run its course.
It might actually be some measure of relief if teenagers could believe that they would outgrow acne, but adulthood doesn't bring with it a magical immunity. Fortunately, there are number of proven, effective acne products that allow you to be proactive about treatment.
2. Washing your face repeatedly over the course of a day.
Some people are convinced that acne comes down to a simple case of cleanliness, but excessive face washing is actually counterproductive. Washing your face repeatedly during the day can actually irritate your already enflamed skin and spread bacteria that can lead to even more breakouts.
3. Squeezing breakouts is the best way to eliminate them quickly.
Squeezing pimples is more likely to spread bacteria than to eliminate it. The increased irritation from popping pimples can also increase the possibility of scarring.
4. Stop eating sweets and fast food.
There are certainly a variety of health-related reasons to avoid eating sweets, processed sugar, fat, salt and dairy products. While those substances in excess are a health risk and might aggravate acne, scientific studies have provided evidence that they are not the cause.
5. Tanning beds clear up acne.
At one time tanning beds were used as a trendy remedy for acne. For starters, UV rays are harmful to your skin and have proven to be a serious health risk. Research has also indicated that, while a tan may temporarily mask the appearance of breakouts, tanning beds have no positive effect on acne.
6. You can sweat out a case of acne.
Sweat does serve to flush toxins and impurities out of your skin. However, perspiration comes through pores connected to sweat glands, not by way of the hair follicles in the pores where breakouts originate. In fact, it's important to shower soon after exercise or other sweat-inducing activities to keep the impurities from clogging pores.
7. Dab toothpaste on blemishes to remove them.
Using toothpaste to remedy acne is one of the most widely held myths over the years. Toothpaste contains menthol, and when applied dries out the effected area and produces a tingly feeling that many associate with deep cleaning. The fact is that toothpaste has no documented positive effect on acne and can actually irritate the effected area.
8. Spot-treating blemishes will clear up acne.
Blemishes are the visible result of acne, which is a process that takes place subcutaneously below the skin. Spot-treatment may help to remove a breakout but it does nothing to address the underlying issues that are creating the acne problem itself.
9. Moisturizers will make acne worse.
Your skin needs hydration to stay healthy. Acne treatments often cause excessive dryness, making it more important to moisturize. Look for a moisturizer that is noncomedogenic and won’t clog your pores.
Family and friends mean well, but it's best to take their advice about acne with a grain of salt. Consult a dermatologist for the most up-to-date information about how to get rid of pimples and treat acne effectively.