12 Myths About Acne Debunked

Do you suffer from acne? Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, you’re not alone. This is a common skin condition. Unfortunately, there are countless myths surrounding this skin disease. 

In this guide, we’ll break down the common misconceptions and myths about acne and reveal the truth.

Table of Contents

Acne Myths And Facts 

Acne Myth 1: Adults Don’t Get Acne

People commonly assume that acne only impacts those in adolescence. This isn’t the case. While the skin condition impacts between 79% and 95% of the adolescent population, one study has also found facial acne issues in 54% and 40% of men over the age of 25. As such, it is possible to experience acne as an adult.  

Acne Myth 2: Acne Is Caused by Poor Hygiene 

Individuals often assume acne with poor hygiene. While poor hygiene can make acne worse and can lead to the development of the odd pimple, it will never be the main cause. The reality is that acne is triggered by biological reactions that occur underneath the skin. It is not, as many assume, an issue that is skin deep. In some cases, washing your face more than two times a day could make the issue worse because it will irritate your skin. 

Acne Myth 3: You Should Pop Your Acne Pimples

It is tempting to pop pimples caused by acne. Particularly, if you can see that the pimple is filled with pus. This can develop at the site of an inflamed pore. If you pop your pimples, then you can spread the bacteria across your face and introduce more bacteria to the affected area if your hands are not clean. You could also cause scarring. Acne scarring is common and approximately one in five people have some acne scars. 

Acne Myth 4: To Get Rid of Acne You Need to Clean Your Face More

You should only wash your face once or twice each day. Most people will wash their face once when they wake up and once when they go to bed. This is more than enough to keep it clean. Unfortunately, washing your face more regularly than normal, will not reduce issues with acne. As mentioned, this could simply irritate your skin, particularly if you are using the wrong products. 

Acne Myth 5: Stress Causes Acne

Those who have issues with acne often believe that stress is one of the main causes of acne. While acne is not caused by acne directly, research has found that emotional stress may have a significant impact on the severity of acne flare-ups. This has been used as evidence that patients with acne require a more holistic approach to treatment. So, while it won’t cause acne, relaxing can help reduce the signs and symptoms of this skin disease. 

Acne Myth 6: Greasy Food Causes Acne 

Various dieticians will argue that greasy food is one of the leading causes of acne issues. In reality, medical experts do not support this claim at all. The notion is also not supported by evidence in scientific studies. Past evidence has explored greasy food as well as chocolate and nuts and the effect it could have on acne. The results have shown that any food you eat has virtually no impact on the state of your skin. 

Acne Myth 7: Tanning Can Help Clear Up Acne 

Decades ago, doctors would suggest people with acne treat it by getting as much sun and fresh air as possible. Some people still believe tanning will help as a treatment for acne. In reality, tanning dries out the skin which will lead to a high level of oil production in the sebaceous glands. So, getting too much sun could make issues with acne worse. If you do suffer from acne, you should stay hydrated and use sun tan lotion. Too much sun and a focus on tanning could also mean that scarring increases. 

Acne Myth 8: Makeup Causes Acne 

Another common misconception is that using makeup somehow results in acne. You just need to avoid using products that contain ingredients that will cause issues if you already have oily skin. You can explore oil-free makeup solutions that are ideal and light enough that they won’t block your pores. 

Acne Myth 9: Acne Can Be Cured Fast 

There is no quick cure for acne. This is particularly true if you are experiencing issues with severe acne as an adult. Indeed, while acne can not be cured, there are treatments available. This includes: 

  • Lotions
  • Gels 
  • Creams 

There are also tablets available that can be used to treat acne. Some studies have also explored whether vitamin A tablets can be used as a treatment for acne vulgaris. 

Acne Myth 10: Eating Dairy Products Causes Acne

As already mentioned there is little to no evidence that eating dairy products causes acne. While some studies have shown a correlation between dairy intake and the severity of the condition, these results are not respected by the wider scientific community. 

Acne Myth 11: Vaping Causes Acne 

You may have heard that vaping causes acne. There’s no research to suggest this. While people who vape may develop acne, this could be because they are touching their face more regularly. In contrast, some individuals who vape may have fewer issues with acne because they are using it as a substitute for cigarettes. Vaping may also cause dehydration and your body may react by producing more oil, leading to further breakouts. 

Acne Myth 12: Acne Is a Cosmetic Problem 

Acne is not simply a cosmetic issue that impacts appearance. Instead, skin experts consider it to be a medical issue particularly if a patient is experiencing severe symptoms. Some dermatologists will grade acne based on severity. For instance, mild acne is classified as whiteheads and blackheads. Severe acne refers to numerous painful pustules associated with severe nodulocystic acne. 

Key Takeaways

We hope this helps you understand the truth behind some of the common myths associated with acne. The bottom line here is that this condition is not caused by lifestyle factors. Instead, it is a medical condition, and depending on the severity, you may require treatment from a doctor to manage this issue. 

How Can DrHouse Help With Your Acne?

At DrHouse we can help by assessing your acne and providing advice on the best treatment option for you. An appointment may take no more than 15 minutes and could conclude with a prescription for medication that will help clear up your acne in a matter of weeks. 


Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

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