Top 10 Acne Myths You Should Stop Believing

The American Academy of Dermatology states that acne is the most common skin condition in the US [1].

It’s no wonder that the amount of information we have on acne is enormous. Unfortunately, there’s also a plethora of misinformation on acne. From old wives’ tales to advice from well-meaning friends and family, or home acne treatments that claim to beat OTC products -- the number of acne myths we come across is outrageous. 

If you’re suffering from acne, it’s best to know what works, what doesn’t work, and what can make your skin worse. 

In this article, we will bust some common myths about acne and discuss a few research-backed acne treatments

Acne Myth 1: Poor Hygiene Causes Acne

This is perhaps one of our top acne myths. There’s an assumption that humans are capable of washing away all spots. In a recent study regarding skincare myths, participants were given images of common dermatological problems, including acne. Surprisingly, more than half of the people believed that acne was a consequence of poor hygiene [2]. 

Skincare products being marketed as antibacterial may also play a role in this acne myth.

There are two reasons why this is false. 

Firstly, our faces have bacteria on them at all times. Furthermore, most individuals have the bacterium, Propionibacterium acnes. It does cause acne when it gets trapped in your pores, but depending on the strain, it can have some protective qualities too. This is why some people are more prone to acne than others.

Secondly, washing your face excessively can cause more harm than good. The bacteria on your skin form a biofilm that prevents you from getting rid of them no matter how much you wash your face with soap. 

Overwashing your face, using physical abrasives and scrubbing it too hard can also trigger a breakout and worsen acne. When you wash your face too aggressively, you push your skin to create more sebum. Your sebum mixes with the bacteria in your pores and causes more pimples.

Dermatologists recommend washing your face no more than twice a day with a gentle cleanser containing salicylic acid, such as the GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Acne Cleanser- For Acne and Oily Skin with Salicylic Acid. 

Acne Myth 2: Only Teenagers Get Acne

85% of adolescents have some form of acne. However, this doesn’t mean adults can’t have it. 

Acne in adults is more common that people think. Up to 64% of American women and men in their 20s and 43% of individuals in their 30s encounter adult acne. 

Adult acne in women is more common than adult acne in men. This is largely due to the hormonal fluctuations women experience throughout their lives.

Acne Myth 3: People With Acne Are Lazy

Some people believe that severe acne is a result of not following an effective skincare routine, or not visiting a dermatologist.

According to a 2017 survey, more than half of the respondents believed that medical treatment for acne would immediately treat the skin condition [3]. If you don’t have clear skin, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Wrong. 

Many acne treatments focus on treating existing forms of acne, instead of preventing future breakouts. What’s more, is that some of these acne treatments take weeks to even months to have any effect on the skin and results can vary from individual to individual. 

Acne Myth 4: Acne Means You Have A Bad Diet

While having a healthy diet is always recommended, the rising interest for clean eating has lead people to think that certain foods are bad, dirty or are directly linked to acne. This isn’t necessarily true.

While some diseases such as eczema and psoriasis are autoimmune diseases, there still isn’t a definitive or causal link between diet and acne. 

Acne Myth 5: Acne Is Contagious

Just because acne is a result of bacteria being trapped in your pores does not mean that acne can be transferred to another person. This has also led some people to believe that skin conditions, such as severe acne or psoriasis that appear as a rash are infectious.

50% of the people from the above survey believed that acne was contagious.

Everybody has bacteria on their faces and one is not at risk of getting acne if they touch or sit next to someone with it.

Acne Myth 6: Tanning Improves Acne

A surprising number of people believe that exposing the skin to sunlight can help kill the bacteria on the skin. 

The truth is, sun exposure worsens acne. Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure darkens pigmentation, making spots that appear following acne appear more prominent. 

Moreover, the infrared heat from the sun can cause severe flare-ups. And if that’s not enough, tanning is also directly tied to premature skin aging and skin cancer.

Acne Myth 7: You’re More Prone to Acne in the Summer

Your skin may feel oilier and thus, more acne-prone in the summer but it's sweating and humidity that makes your skin appear greasier.

To keep your oily skin under control, always use salicylic-acid based acne treatments and cleansers, such as the GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Acne MD- Acne Treatment- Prevents Acne and Acne Hyperpigmentation. The product line doesn’t only control acne, but also minimizes acne scars and brown spots left behind by blemishes.

Chemical peel ingredients such as salicylic acid, exfoliate the skin gently, removing dirt and debris trapped deep within the skin pores. This doesn’t only help clear up breakouts but also prevents new acne from forming. 

Dermatologists also stress that you must never skip moisturizer, even on the days you feel oily and sweaty. In summer months, stick to lightweight, hydrating moisturizers such as the GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Intensive Recovery Cream- Moisturizer for Dry, Oily and irritated Skin

If you’re suffering from excessive oiliness, consider including clarifying mask, such as the GloxiniaLife By Dr. Calle Clear Acne Clarifying Mask- Acne Treatment for Oily Facial and Body Skin into your skincare routine.

Acne Myth 8: Toothpaste Is A Safe Acne Treatment

The ingredients in toothpaste, such as mint and menthol may help dry out a pimple, but this doesn’t always work. In some cases, toothpaste may even overdry your skin and cause irritation.

A gentler and more effective remedy in the long-term is salicylic acid-based products. Using products containing salicylic acid on the regular will not only resolve a pimple without scarring but will also keep future breakouts at bay.

Myth 9: Sunscreen Clogs Pores And Causes Acne

There is some truth to this. Applying the wrong kind of sunscreen can cause chemical reactions on the skin, thus leading to unwanted eruptions. 

Choose sunscreens with ingredients that won’t clog your pores, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

You should also always search for products that are marked noncomedogenic, which means they’re specially designed to not clog pores. GloxiniaLife by Dr. Calle Clear Defense SPF 45- Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen for Acne Prone Skin is a powerful oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreen with a high SPF that is formulated for acne-prone and oily skin.

Acne Myth 10: Makeup Worsens Acne

Just like with sunscreen, you want to choose the right type of makeup for your skin. 

Products that are thicker or more occlusive are likely to clog your pores and cause unwanted breakouts. On the days when your skin is acne-prone, you have to be more ingredient savvy with any skincare product and makeup you purchase. 

The best ingredients for acne-prone skin in makeup include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, and bismuth oxychloride. These ingredients offer coverage, without clogging your pores.

Furthermore, you’ll also want to keep away from oil-based creams under your makeup and opt for water-based or alcohol-based lotions and serums instead. 

Regardless of the type of makeup you use, the number one rule for preventing acne is to always take your makeup off before going to sleep. When you toss and turn in your pillow with all that oil, dirt, makeup and bacteria on your skin, it’s highly likely that you’ll wake up the next day with a few bumps. 

Be smart, and always follow your skincare basics and double-check anything that sounds like an acne myth while trying to improve your acne.


1. Acne. American Academy of Dermatology.

2. Research: Misconceptions lead to negative perceptions of acne. American Academy of Dermatology.

3. Common misconceptions about acne vulgaris: A review of the literature. Clinical Dermatology Review.;year=2017;volume=1;issue=2;spage=33;epage=36;aulast=Hui

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