It’s probably safe to say that if you’ve ever had acne, then you know how frustrating it can be to manage. Seriously, sometimes it feels impossible to know how to get rid of pimples. Why can’t your complexion just look flawless all the time? Even though acne is one of the most common skin care concerns among all different skin types, there are a lot of myths out there, which can make taking care of breakout-prone skin even more of a challenge. So, we’ve decided to clear the air and debunk some of the most common acne myths you may have heard about everything from how to remove pimples to instant acne fixes, plus we’ll set the record straight on how to adjust your own skin care routine the next time your acne flares up. Keep reading to get the scoop on pimple myths and facts.
7 myths about how to get rid of pimples
When it comes to knowing how to remove pimples, do you have your facts straight? It turns out that there are plenty of pimple myths out there, many of which might leave you confused the next time a breakout pops up. Here, we’re clearing up some of the most common acne myths.
PIMPLE MYTH #1: ONLY TEENAGERS CAN GET ACNE
It’s true that acne is largely associated with youth—you may even remember breaking out when you were in high school. (Ah, memories!) In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it’s estimated that 80 percent of people ages 11-30 have breakouts at some point. According to the NIH, acne goes away for most people by the time they hit their 30s. However, acne isn’t one size fits all, and there are still many people that this isn’t the case for. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some adults continue to experience acne into their 30s, 40s, and 50s—and it is possible to get acne as an adult even when you didn’t have it as a teenager.
PIMPLE MYTH #2: ACNE CAN BE CLEARED UP OVERNIGHT
Here’s a rule that applies to most things in life: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That means if you’ve heard that there are instant acne fixes to clear up pimples overnight, you should take that with a grain of salt. According to the AAD, you could start to notice improvements in how your skin looks when using an acne treatment after four to six weeks. The AAD points out that it may even take two to three months—or longer—for skin to fully clear up. It’s a good idea to continue to use an acne treatment that works once you notice improvements, as this can help prevent new pimples. All we’re saying is that you shouldn’t ever expect a pimple to clear up overnight, even if a product claims to be able to do so.
PIMPLE MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO STAY AWAY FROM MAKEUP IF YOU HAVE ACNE
There’s something to be said for letting your skin breathe from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid makeup altogether if you have acne-prone skin. After all, there are probably situations when you’re going to want to get all dolled up—and makeup may be an important part of that. The key to wearing makeup when you have acne is to pick the right products.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s best to look for makeup formulas that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. Because these makeup products are formulated specifically not to clog pores, they are often recommended for those with acne-prone skin—which means that you don’t have to shy away from using things like foundation or concealer, as long as you’re using the right ones! For the full rundown on this topic, plus our best product picks, head to our article, What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean, Plus Our Best Non-Comedogenic Products.
PIMPLE MYTH #4: YOU SHOULD CLEANSE ACNE-PRONE SKIN MORE FREQUENTLY
When you have acne, your first impulse might be to reach for a facial cleanser more than twice a day. But before you do that, hear us out—that’s not exactly the best idea. According to the AAD, acne-prone skin is sensitive, and cleansing it more than twice a day could irritate your complexion—which could lead to worsening acne. The AAD recommends cleansing your face when you wake up, before you go to bed, and when it gets sweaty (such as after a workout).
PIMPLE MYTH #5: PIMPLES SHOULD BE POPPED TO HEAL
Have you been searching ‘how to remove pimples?’ Okay, it’s time to stop that. Yes, when you have pimples on your face, it can be tempting to try to pop them. But, while it may seem like a quick fix, you won’t be doing your skin any favors if you do this. The truth is, pimple popping can make your acne even more noticeable—and it can even lead to scarring down the road. According to the AAD, touching, picking, and popping acne can all make it worse. That's right, hands off!
PIMPLE MYTH #6: food isn’t tied to acne breakouts
As much as we wish it weren’t true, what you eat is most definitely tied to the health of your skin—and this includes breakouts. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has linked carbohydrate-rich foods and chocolate to worsened acne, although the precise reason for this link is yet to be determined. Still, if you have extremely acne-prone skin, consider speaking with your dermatologist about whether your diet could be triggering your acne. You can also brush up on your knowledge of beauty foods by reading our article, Beauty Foods: Beauty from the Inside Out.
PIMPLE MYTH #7: stress causes acne
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress itself doesn’t cause acne—but it doesn’t help, either. Although feelings of stress won’t cause a breakout, they can make acne worse if you already have it. That means that it’s still always a good idea to keep your stress levels as low as possible. To do so, treat yourself to a bit of self-care as often as you need, whether that means taking a hot bath, applying a face mask, or just binge-watching your favorite TV show.
You’re officially a pimple pro! However, did you know that there are different types of acne? To learn more about the most severe form, check out our article, What Is Cystic Acne?