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Acne Myth 5: You have acne because you’re not washing enough.

Unless you’re a slob, that’s probably not true. “Studies in teens show that washing your face twice a day is more effective than just once, but more than that isn’t necessary and can dry out your skin,” Derick says. “Cleansers are only on your skin for five seconds. Leave-on products like retinoid creams are more efficacious.”

Acne Myth 6: You can’t wear makeup if you have a breakout.

Some makeup can definitely exacerbate acne, particularly thicker liquid foundations that can clog pores and stage-type pancake makeup. “But lighter, looser powder foundations, like mineral powder, aren’t nearly as aggravating to your skin,” Derick says. “Of course, people who have acne want to cover it, and coverage is better with thicker liquids, but you have to compromise.”

Acne Myth 7: Acne is just a cosmetic problem.

Acne can have lasting consequences in how you feel about yourself -- and left untreated, or improperly managed, it can leave permanent scars.

Acne Myth 8: You just have to wait and let acne go away with time.

There are many treatments now available for acne, and dermatologists can prescribe the right option for you.

Acne Myth 9: You can “clean up” a pimple by scrubbing at it.

That’s actually the worst thing you can do. “People will spend hours trying to get goop out of skin to heal the acne,” Derick says. “But picking your skin is the number one way of getting a scar. If you have a huge pimple and a big date tonight, you can get a single injection from your dermatologist that will reduce it. Don’t pick!”

Acne Myth 10: If you’re an adult, just go to the cosmetics counter and get a good face cream or cleanser.

“People will go to their department store and get advice from the person behind the counter who’s selling products, but they won’t pay a co-pay to an expert who could give a real prescription for acne,” Derick says. “What dermatologists can do for acne is much more than these over-the-counter products. Especially if you have really problematic skin, our repertoire is much more diverse than just benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.”

Popular Questions About Acne

Why me? Why now? Get answers to the top questions about adult acne.
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