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The 10 Most Common Acne Myths... BUSTED!

When it comes to acne, you've probably heard unhelpful comments like, "you're just breaking out because you're a teen" or "toothpaste will heal all your spots!" But are these actually true? Dermatologists Dr. Shari Marchbein, assistant clinical professor, and Katie Rodan, Proactiv and Proactiv+ co-founder, break down the 10 most common myths they hear from young clients. 

MYTH: Washing your face as often as possible is the key to preventing breakouts.
The key to preventing breakouts is more than just washing your face. In fact, you should never wash your face more than twice per day (or exfoliate more than 1-3 times per week) because excessive washing can lead to more breakouts and can strip your skin of important natural oils. Instead, wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser to help reduce inflammation and prevent breakouts. Be sure to exfoliate a couple of times per week with a gentle exfoliator, before following up with an oil-free moisturiser and any medication or product suggested by your dermatologist.

While many derms recommend using your hands to get a gentle cleanse, exfoliating a few times per week with a gentle cleansing brush can get deeper into the spots you might miss without being too rough. Try Foreo Luna for Combination Skin, £145 which comes with two different speeds so that it's perfect for your skin type. 

MYTH: All teens get acne no matter what, and it's eventually something you grow out of.
It's true that 85 percent of teens suffer from acne while only 40 to 50 percent of adults do, but that doesn't mean it's not treatable, and it certainly doesn't mean you should just suffer and wait to grow out of it. If over-the-counter medications aren't helping, visit a dermatologist who can prescribe a combination of prescription medications like Retin-A and topical antibiotics, or in more severe cases, oral antibiotics or other medication.

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MYTH: Acne mostly affects people with oily skin.
People with sensitive or very dry skin suffer from acne, too! "Acne starts as clogged pores or comedones, which are more commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads, and is caused by a combination of inflammation in the skin, enlarging of oil glands, bacteria on the skin and hormonal changes," Dr. Marchbein explains. "People of all skin types can suffer from acne."

MYTH: Toothpaste can cure a pimple.
Dabbing on toothpaste not only won't cure a zit, it's not safe on your skin. "In fact, the fluorides in toothpaste can potentially worsen acne," Dr. Rodan warns. "I can't think of any household items that help." Try a spot treatment with salicylic acid  - these are our favourites.

MYTH: Acne is not caused by your diet.
For years dermatologists have been going back and forth on whether or not what you eat affects your skin, and recently they've discovered that some people do breakout after eating certain foods, like sweets and dairy products. Dr. Rodan suggests keeping a food diary to track whether you break out more after eating certain types of foods. It doesn't mean you can't eat these foods, but limiting your intake might help reduce breakouts. Talk to your doctor first, and don't worry: This doesn't mean chocolate's bad or banned!

MYTH: It's OK to pop a pimple if it looks ready—it'll help the zit go away faster.
Picking at a pimple adds more inflammation, causing it to last longer. You could also end up leaving an acne scar or dark spot behind that can take up to a year to fade away.

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MTH: Your pimple will go away faster if you use more medication.
When treating acne, less is more. More will only cause dryness, which can lead your skin to produce more oil to get rid of that dryness. This is exactly what you don't want, as any trapped oil can result in even more breakouts in the long run. Always use a small pea-sized amount and try to spread it all over your face rather than just spot-treating, then follow up with your daily moisturiser.

MYTH: Tanning makes acne go away quicker.
Sunlight does help reduce inflammation and can mask acne, but it also produces more oil, which can lead to a flare-up a few days or weeks later. Plus, exposing yourself to sun without sufficient protection can cause sunspots and life-threating skin cancers, so AVOID. Always use a moisturizer with SPF, even in the winter.

MYTH: Your moisturiser doesn't have to be oil–free.
While the use of oil-free moisturisers exclusively is another hot skin debate, derms still recommend that those with acne-prone skin always stick to moisturizers that are gentle and oil-free, because unnecessary oil can clog your pores and lead to more breakouts. 

MYTH: Makeup causes acne.
Makeup can only clog your pores and irritate your skin if you don't use the right products and best practices. Always choose foundations that are oil-free and lightweight, and remember to remove your makeup every night before you go to bed! Some brands also have an entire lines of makeup formulated specifically for acne-prone skin, so that can help treat acne even while you're wearing it.

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