If you lived with acne as a teenager, you probably heard all sorts of advice
about why you developed acne and what you should do about it. “You eat too many
potato chips!” “You don’t wash your face enough!” “Cut down on the
The fact is that most of what you thought you knew about acne as a teen --
and much of what you may think you know about adult acne -- is probably a myth.
Here are some common acne myths.
For the nearly 50 million Americans affected by acne, the many available medications and treatments can be confusing and overwhelming.
It's easy to make mistakes treating acne or even make it worse, despite the best intentions.
Here, experts list the most common mistakes. In most cases, a dermatologist can help undo the damage.
Not true. Surveys have found that significant numbers of adults are still
getting acne into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. Acne may look different when
you’re 36 than it did when you were 16 -- it’s more likely to be reddish
nodules around your mouth and jaw, rather than whiteheads and blackheads
scattered all over your forehead, nose, and cheeks -- but it’s acne all the
Acne Myth 2: Eating chocolate and drinking soda gives you
“The diet controversy over acne goes on,” says Amy Derick, MD, FAAD, a
dermatologist in Great Barrington, Ill. “The idea that chocolate and caffeine
cause acne has never really panned out.” Some studies have suggested that milk
products might influence acne, because of the presence of hormones and bacteria
in the milk. “But the data isn’t that strong, and I don’t want to recommend
that 30-year-old women cut out milk when they need it for their bone
Acne Myth 3: Stress causes acne.
This myth may have some basis in reality, but it’s hard to quantify. “Some
studies have found that college students have increased breakouts during
finals, but it’s hard to be sure if it’s causative,” Derick says. Not all
students with acne have increased breakouts during stressful times. "So maybe
stress does play a role, but we haven't seen any good studies showing that
stress hormones make acne worse."
Acne Myth 4: Don’t wear sunscreen, it will aggravate your
You just have to pick the right sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens, like
Helioplex, dissipate UV light using a chemical reaction, which may cause heat
bumps. If you’re prone to acne, use a physical sunscreen like zinc oxide