Acne Myths Persist Despite Lack of Evidence

Experts Speak Out to Clarify Acne Misconceptions

From the WebMD Archives


This point was confirmed in a Stanford University survey of 103 female college freshmen, which found that the young women's knowledge of acne was based more on fiction than fact.

For instance, 91% of the young women believed acne could be worsened by poor hygiene, 88% thought increased stress triggered acne outbreaks, and 85% said that "popping pimples" makes acne worse. Wrong, wrong, and wrong, say the experts.

Additionally, about two of every three women said poor diet, lack of sleep, and not drinking enough water affected acne. Again, Kimball says there is no evidence that any of these were factors in the outbreak of acne.

"The general public believes that cleaner skin will resort to fewer blemishes, but dermatologists know that overwashing can irritate and exacerbate the condition," she explains.

Another study of 24 Stanford men showed that there wasn't a significant difference in whether the face was washed once a day, twice a day, or four times a day. "Men who only washed their faces once a day were slightly worse, those who washed twice a day improved some, and the men who washed four times a day remained the same," says Kimball.

Dermatologists recommend washing twice a day with a mild cleanser, says Kimball.

Moreover, while many acne products are sold over the counter, Kimball and Alster say that it is worthwhile to consult a dermatologist before experimenting with these products.

"It is important for anyone who is affected by acne to seek the help of a dermatologist who can diagnose and provide treatment options that are specific to the patient's skin type," Kimball says.

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