Do you think you already know all there is to know about acne? You may be surprised that some of the things you've heard about acne — like what causes it and how to deal with it — aren't actually true. Keep reading to find out some fast facts.
Fact: Although a tan may temporarily mask acne, the sun can make the skin dry and irritated, leading to more breakouts in the future. In fact, there's no link between sun exposure and acne prevention, but the sun's rays can cause premature aging and skin cancer. Always protect your skin by choosing a sunscreen of at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 that says noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic on the label, which means it won't clog pores.
Fact: Although washing your face helps to remove dirt and oil from your pores, washing too much can lead to dryness and irritation, causing more breakouts. Also, avoid scrubbing your face, which can irritate the skin. As a general rule, wash your face twice a day with mild soap and water in a circular motion and gently pat dry when you're done.
Fact: Popping a pimple may make it seem less noticeable temporarily, but popping can cause it to stay around longer. By squeezing pimples and zits, you can actually push bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil further into the skin, causing more swelling and redness — and sometimes causing a red or brown mark or scar to form. Sometimes marks can last for many months and true scars (dents and pits) will last forever.
Fact: As long as you choose cosmetics that are nonacnegenic or noncomedogenic, they shouldn't cause breakouts. In fact, some concealers now contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which help to fight acne. You can also try tinted benzoyl peroxide creams that hide pimples while helping treat them.
If you've had moderate to severe acne, though, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about the best cosmetics to use — he or she may recommend avoiding cosmetics altogether or only using certain brands so you're acne isn't aggravated.
And even if a product is labeled nonacnegenic or noncomedogenic, you should stop using it and talk to your doctor if you notice that it's irritating your skin or seems to cause breakouts.
Fact: Because acne medication contains drying agents like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, using too much medication may cause overdrying, leading to irritation and more blemishes.
If over-the-counter acne medication doesn't seem to work on your acne, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor or dermatologist. Also, if you're taking a prescription acne medication, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions — some medications may take up to 8 weeks to make a significant difference.
Reviewed by: Patrice Hyde, MD
Date reviewed: June 2014
|American Academy of Dermatology Provides up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.|
|Why Did My Doctor Prescribe Birth Control Pills for My Acne? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Can Exercising Help Improve My Acne? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Tanning The sun can do a lot more than just give you a warm summer glow. Get the facts on sun and skin damage - and what you can do to protect yourself and still look tan.|
|Hygiene Basics Puberty causes all kinds of changes in your body - and some may not make you feel very desirable. Read this article for information on dealing with greasy hair, perspiration, and body hair.|
|Does Putting Toothpaste on a Pimple Make It Go Away? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Can Acne Scars Be Removed? Scars from acne can seem like double punishment - first you had to suffer through the pimples, now you have marks to remind you. Is there anything you can do?|
|Why Do I Get Acne? Almost every teen gets acne at some point. This article addresses common questions and concerns about acne and tells you what you can do about it.|
|Should I Pop My Pimple? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin Sometimes it may seem like your skin is impossible to manage, especially when you find a huge zit on your nose or a cold sore at the corner of your mouth. Here are ways to prevent and treat common skin problems.|
|Can I Prevent Acne? Although there is no surefire way to prevent acne, there are several ways to help reduce the number and severity of your breakouts. Read this article to find out more.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.