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Myths About Acne & Some Effective Ways To Control It

Have you ever wondered why acne is referred to as ‘common acne’? It is because almost everyone has had a pimple outbreak during the course of their life and it’s one of the most common skin condition experienced by people all over the world.

Acne usually is triggered by greasy secretions from the oil glands of the skin. The oil or sebum blocks the openings of hair follicles (plugged pores) resulting in development of acne. If the openings are quite big, these clogs lead to the formation of blackheads. If they are small, they form whiteheads. However, not all you know about acne may be correct. There are certain myths surrounding acne.

However, what you can be sure of is acne is most commonly found on the face. Acne or pimples also pop up on the neck, back, chest, upper arms and shoulder.

What Are The Myths About Acne?

What Are The Myths About Acne?

Myth 1: Acne Only Affects Teens

Fact: This is far from the truth and is one of the commonest myths regarding acne. While acne is a common occurrence among teens, there are people in their 30s and beyond who also develop acne for the first time.

Myth 2: Acne Is Caused By A ‘Dirty’ Face

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, acne is not a result of an unclean face. The truth? Acne is a complex skin disorder that just cannot be attributed to dirt. The connection between acne and dirt was probably made because blackheads are, black. However, dirt does not cause blackheads either; it’s the blocked skin pores which does. However, this does not mean that you do not clean your face. Having a clean skin is paramount to its health.

Myth 3: Scrubbing the Face Hard Will Remove Acne

Fact: Acne is not caused by dirt. So, there is no way you can wash it away. While a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide and sulfur compounds may help in clearing the skin of acne, it will not better it if you decide to scrub your face harder. Scrubbing your face with acne could, however, lead to inflamed blackheads. You should go easy on the skin when suffering from acne and avoid scrubbing and harsh products on it.

Myth 4: Popping Acne/Pimple is Beneficial

Fact: If you were ever under the impression that popping pimples is good, think again. In fact, popping pimples can most often than not cause ugly scars on the face. When you engage in the popping process, inflammatory gunk flows into the surrounding tissues and this leads to scarring of the skin. So do stay away from this another common myth pertaining to acne.

Myth 5: Acne Does Not Require Treatment

Fact: It is a myth that acne will just disappear on its own without proper treatment. It cannot, and should not, be ignored. If you decide on letting acne just sit on your face, the condition can worsen. You can opt for topical treatments like over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide for treating your acne. If you start the treatment early, you can be assured of good results in getting rid of acne. 

Myth 6: Skin Tanning Clears Acne

Fact: While tanning the skin may help in hiding the acne, it could actually worsen the situation. The sun’s UV rays will ultimately lead to dry skin, ensuring that the skin condition i.e. acne worsens. This apart, tanning leads to premature aging as well as skin cancer. So stay clear of this acne myth.

Myth 7: Acne has no Relation to Diet

Fact: Your diet does have an effect on your skin. While it is not proven that acne is a result of a bad diet or genetics, but studies and research link acne to dairy and oily food. When you consult a doctor for acne, ask him or her if there is a need to limit dairy and oily food to clear the skin of acne. 

Myth 8: Sweating Prevents Acne

Fact: Sweating can cause outbreaks, so there is no way it can prevent the occurrence of acne. There are some people who are of the opinion there is a possibility of sweating out the acne. There are some who even who visit the steam room or use hot towels to treat acne. However, there are studies which suggest that humidity and high temperatures can actually worsen acne. It would be best if you played it cool towards this acne myth.

What are Some Effective Ways to Control Acne?

Given below are some lifestyle changes and effective ways to control acne:

Sleep to Control Acne Effectively

Stress is a major cause of acne and sleep helps in preventing stress. When you stress, it increases glucocorticoid production, which leads to skin structure abnormalities. This can cause a bad acne outbreak. So getting a good night’s sleep is one of the effective ways to control acne.

Tweak Your Diet to Control Acne

Tweaking or modifying your diet is another effective way to control acne. Some foods could cause high blood sugar levels, triggering insulin. With an increase in insulin, your body could be susceptible to changes that may lead to the formation of pore-clogging cells triggering the increase of oil from skin oil glands. A slight tweak to your diet can help. Include whole grains, vegetables and beans. Try and abstain from white rice, sugar and pasta to prevent and control acne. 

Water is a Boon for Effective Control of Acne

Increasing your water intake will help flush out internal toxins while also hydrating your skin from inside. While there is no conclusive proof that toxins leads to breakouts, studies have suggested that increased water intake will boost blood flow to the skin and help in controlling the acne. 

Sunscreen to Control Acne

Sunscreen can prevent sunburn. Sun burn causes inflammation which can worsen acne or may result in dark spots. Therefore, it is always advisable to use sunscreen when out in the sun for prevention of sunburn and thus for effective control of acne. 

If you already have acne, look for “non-comedogenic” on your sunscreen bottle or tube. This will ensure that the sunscreen lotion does not clog your pores and worsen your existing acne. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Control Acne

Omega-3 fatty acids reportedly halt the production of leukotriene B4; which is a molecule that has the potential of increasing sebum, thereby causing inflammatory acne. Omega-3s can be found in walnuts, salmon and avocados, among other foods. So consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is an effective way to control acne.

Exfoliation to Control Acne

Overenthusiastic oil glands could cause breakouts, but underperforming oil glands can also lead to the same predicament. Dry skin develops small cracks, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This apart, excessive flaking can cause clogged pores. Your skin requires gentle exfoliation a couple of times a week to prevent and control acne. 

Dirt-Free Mobile Phone to Control Acne Effectively

Studies have suggested that a number of germs collect on cell phones. In fact it is said that our cell phones contain more bacteria than a toilet! The bacteria on cell phone can spread from your cell phone and fingertips to your face. The heat that your cell phone generates can cause the bacteria to multiply on the skin. So, how do you prevent germ transfer to your face from the cell phone? Wipe your cell phone surface daily with a drop of sanitizer. Keeping your cell phone clean helps in controlling and preventing acne very effectively.

Change Your Bed Sheets & Pillow Cases Frequently

Not many may be aware of this, but acne can also develop due to sleeping on dirty or unclean bed sheets and pillow cases. So change your pillow cases and bed sheets frequently and see the difference in your stubborn acne.


  1. Mayo Clinic. “Acne: Overview.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/symptoms-causes/syc-20368047
  2. Medical News Today. “Acne: Causes, treatments, and tips.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146
  3. WebMD. “Acne: Understanding and Treating Acne.” https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/understanding-acne-basics

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 22, 2023

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