Balshi Blog

9 Common Myths About Acne

Most of us remember our acne prone days. I say most of us because acne affects up to 50 million people in the United States per year. So, you could say that’s a big deal. There are so many rumors and misconceptions about acne and yet all the truths that no one knows. 

We’re here to debunk these myths and give you those truths. Cause with the truth, you have the power to help change things.


Myth# : We Know The Causes Of Acne

We do know certain factors that can contribute to acne, but the exact cause is not known. We do know that acne is contributed from the overgrowth of cutibacterium acnes or C. acnes bacteria. These have been thought to infect clogged pores. It’s not dirt. However, with increased research, we have come to find out that disruptions in the microorganisms in our stomach caused by stress can also inflame the skin. As well as some studies have questioned different compositions of microorganisms on the skin of people with acne may also be a contributing factor. 

People with acne don’t necessarily have poor hygiene and people with good skin don’t necessarily have great hygiene.

Myth# : Teenagers Only Get Acne

This is for sure a myth! Over half of people who still deal with acne are women over the age of 25. You can continue to develop acne well through your 20s and 30s. Which still affects 43% to 64% of people.

Myth# : Pores Open And Close

Pores are not muscles, so they cannot open and close. The skin can loosen with steam and release trapped oils and once they’re clear, pores can appear smaller.

There has to be at least one myth you heard growing up, if not, all of them. Whether it was from your parents or friends, maybe even a healthcare professional – there is no evidence to support any of these claims. Some may even just be coincidence. 

Now that we’ve debunked 90% of the common myths out there, it’s time to back it up with some facts. Some of which you may have never heard or maybe you have! Take some notes: it’s time to revamp that beauty routine!

Myth#1 : Makeup Cause Acne

If you’re using the wrong products, makeup can irritate your skin. Choosing a foundation that is oil free and lightweight normally won’t cause any issues, unless you don’t remove your makeup at night before you go to bed. It’s in good practice to wash your face before bed and remove makeup and oil.

Myth#2 : Washing Your Face Frequently Helps Clear Acne

What! So a clean face doesn’t actually mean a clean face? It does, but people who deal with acne tend to over wash their face because they think they’re dirty. Unfortunately, washing too much, especially scribing too hard or using harsh soaps can make acne worse by irritating your skin. Stick to cleansing in the morning and at night.

Myth#3 : Chocolate Makes You Break Out

This hasn’t been entirely proven. In a small study, there was nothing that indicated that eating chocolate in moderation aggravates acne. This also includes pizza, cheeseburgers, potato chips, french fries, etc.

Myth#4 : Coffee/Tea Increases Acne

Much like chocolate, there is no evidence that supports this claim. Nothing containing a high amount of caffeine has ever been shown to worsen acne. However, additives like sugar and milk have been known to make acne worse.

Myth#5 : Acne Only Happens To People Who Deal With Oily Skin

All skin types deal with acne. They all develop pimples, whiteheads and blackheads alike

Myth#6 : Sunlight or UV Rays help With Acne

This started from the observation that acne may get worse in the winter months. Which, in turn, supported the belief that natural sunlight helped acne. Unfortunately, a review and 7 studies later found that there’s no actual evidence of this. However, treatments that use light-based therapies continue to be used as treatments for acne. 

Myth#7 : Pimples Can Be Popped Safely

Never. Squeezing your skin to pop a zit triggers inflammatory responses and can add more bacteria to your zit. As well as causing acne scars. Those don’t go away.

Myth#8 : Toothpaste Clears Pimples

Opt for spot treatment that contains salicylic acid.  instead of household items. These are safer for your skin. In fact, the fluoride in toothpaste can actually worsen acne. 

Myth#9 : Acne Goes Away On Its Own

Acne is a chronic condition. This means that acne can continue to last for years or a long time. Acne exists beneath the surface of your skin. Managing acne can be done with your Dermatologist.. 


Fact#1 : Acne Is Affected By Our Hormones

Especially for women, acne tends to stem from hormonal fluctuations especially around the menstrual cycle. When women start to show certain symptoms, hormonal therapy can be used to treat acne in girls and women. Especially symptoms that involve hyperandrogenism 0 acne, excess hair growth, alopecia, and irregular periods). When they use hormonal therapy for treatment, the medications used help prevent androgen hormones from having a higher effect on oil-producing glands in your skin. Or, also help mitigate the production of androgen altogether. These hormonal therapy drugs could be anything between birth control pills, spironolactone, and glucocorticoids. 

Fact#2 : Acne Is A Stressor

A study done in the United Kingdom found that people who dealt with acne had a 63% higher risk of depression than people who had to deal with acne in the first year of their diagnosis. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, social isolation, anxiety, and high unemployment depending on its severity. All which tends to affect older adult people. Unfortunately, acne matters, and successful treatments can change lives and total outlook. 

Fact#3: Acne is Genetic and Runs In The Family

People who have family members who have been prone or have a genetic component to acne tend to notice their acne occurs earlier and is most likely more severe. Genetics play a huge role in acne and how it might need to be treated. 

Fact#4 : Acne Is A Westernized Phenomenon Occurrence

People from non-Western cultures find it uncommon to get acne. Especially if they’re living in their natural habitat. However, their acne tends to increase when rural indigenous people assimilate into western societies. The cause of it is unsure. No one knows if it’s because of environment, diet, genetics, or all three. Doctors who have been treating people like the Inuit for almost 30 years said that these people did not have acne when they lived in their native habitat but developed it after assimilating into western culture. It’s a mystery!

Fact#5 : Dairy Has Been Linked To Chronic Acne

In many studies, acne has been linked to skim milk. Particularly skim milk. Why? Because it has a higher level of IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1, unlike 2% milk which has less. IGF-1 has been known to produce male hormones (androgens), which most definitely worsens acne. These male hormones cause glands in your hair follicles (sebaceous glands) to grow and secrete more oil on your skin. These oils that get secreted in excess start to mix with dead skin cells. Altogether they start to clog pores. 

In these studies, researchers recommend whole milk because it carries less risk. Whole milk contains more estrogen which actually protects against acne. 

Fact#6 : Eating High GI, or High Glycemic, Foods Leads to Acne

High glycemic foods are used to describe or rate foods that are high in carbohydrates and how it affects the glucose, or sugar, in the blood system. So what foods does this include? Sugar, soft drinks, pasta, pizza, and sweets. For example, white bread. Much like skim milk, white bread causes elevated IGF-1 levels in a person. Which increases the androgen production and in turn, acne.

Fact#7: Alcohol Contributes To Acne

Everyone picks on alcohol, right? Unfortunately, it has a lot of fun side effects on the mind but bad side effects on the body. Alcohol contributes to acne in multiple ways. Much like skim milk, and high glycemic foods like white bread, alcohol consumption raises testosterone – which is also an androgen hormone. Both long and short term consumption. 

Alcohol is also secreted in your sweat. You sweat then feeds the C. acnes bacteria. All the while suppressing the immune system. While the immune system is suppressed, this allows bacteria to move around more freely without defense and worsens acne. 

When it comes down to it, there are a lot of things that can affect your skin. Whether it’s particular foods, genetics, or unsuccessful habits, it can be hard to narrow down. When acne is chronic, managing it can be hard. Talk to your dermatologist about managing your chronic acne, so you can live confidently with your skin’s utmost potential.

Struggling with Chronic Acne? Call Dr. Balshi in Delray Beach, Florida

If you’re struggling with chronic acne and need help. Schedule a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, contact Balshi Dermatology at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment