Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.
Acne is unbelievably common — and so are acne myths! I reached out to some of the nation’s leading skin experts to discuss which rumors are factual and which ones are just gossip.
Exfoliation treats acne well:
“Scrubbing your face frequently or with harsh exfoliants really won’t wash acne away,” notes aesthetic nurse Corey Ordoyne. “In fact, if you end up scrubbing too hard, it can increase oil production, inflame your acne and make it even worse!”
Poor hygiene causes acne:
“Acne is a genetic and hormonal skin condition characterized by plugged up hair follicles forming pimples and simply isn’t associated with hygiene,” says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Alexander Z. Rivkin. “As such, washing your face more frequently will not resolve acne.”
Only teenagers get acne:
“Acne is not just a condition of teenagers!” exclaims facial plastic surgeon Dr. Kian Karimi. “Multiple factors including genetics, lifestyle, hormones and stress lead to the presence of acne in adults!” Dermatologist Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson agrees, “While lifestyle and genetics are pieces of the puzzle, hormonal fluctuations are a prominent factor and hormonal fluctuations aren’t limited to puberty, they continue throughout our entire life! Using a topical retinoid can help with acne, no matter your age. My go-to is AlphaRet Clearing Serum by SkinBetter Science. It combines salicylic and lactic acid with a topical retinoid for a powerful combination.”
Popping pimples makes them go away sooner:
“Squeezing pimples does not make them go away sooner, but rather may increase chances of infection and may lead to discoloration or scarring,” explains dermatologist Dr. Angie Koriakos. “Rather than popping a pimple, apply the Glossier Zit Stick to spot treat. This product contains benzoyl peroxide and additional ingredients to help shrink these pesky pimples in no time!”
Toothpaste clears pimples:
“This myth originated based on previous toothpaste formulas containing triclosan, an antibacterial agent that has since been removed,” teaches dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi. “The fluorides in toothpaste can actually worsen acne! It’s best to use a spot treatment with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide instead. Your skin will thank you for it in the long run!”
Makeup causes acne:
“Makeup typically won’t cause acne unless you are using the wrong products. Foundations that are lightweight and oil-free are fine, unless you leave them on all night,” finds skincare guru Camille Morgan. “Don’t forget to wash your face before bed to remove any makeup and oil. I recommend City Cloths wipes as an easy means by which to cleanse your skin of makeup”!
Greasy foods cause acne:
“Junk food might make you gain weight and have adverse effects on your overall health, but these traditionally greasy foods have little to no effect on acne,” notes dermatologist Dr. Tejas Desai. “While foods with high glycemic indexes might result in blemishes, there simply little to no scientific evidence that greasy foods will make you break out so, indulge (in moderation)!”
Acne only affects people with oily skin:
“Whiteheads, blackheads, zits, pimples, blemishes … whatever you want to call it, people with all different skin types suffer from acne,” teaches aesthetic nurse Jessica Graybill. “Acne doesn’t discriminate and is found in individuals with oily, dry and combination skin!”
Pores open and close:
“Pores may get clogged with an oil called sebum and appear larger but pores don’t exactly ‘open and close,'” teaches aesthetic nurse Chelsea Nathie. “Some topical medications like retinoids as well as energy-based devices like laser facials can loosen up and remove this built-up oil making them appear smaller though!”
Acne will go away, so you don’t need to treat it:
“While acne will slowly improve over a long period of time. It is a chronic, long-term condition and it typically doesn’t resolve quickly,” explains dermatologist Dr. Alpesh Desai. “While there is no cure for acne, per se, it can absolutely be managed with proper treatment. So, always consider visiting a dermatologist if you are concerned about your skin!”