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It’s probably safe to say that if you’ve ever had acne, then you know how frustrating it can be to manage. Seriously, why can’t your complexion just look flawless all the time? But when it comes to acne, there are a lot of myths out there, which may 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. Keep reading to get the scoop on pimple myths and facts.
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, 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 for the first time, even if you didn’t have it as a teenager.
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’s a way 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 in 4-6 weeks. The AAD points out that it may even take 2-3 months—or longer—for skin clearing. 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. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), topical acne treatments come in a variety of formulas including gels, lotions, creams, soaps, and pads and can be formulated with ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
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 will be useful for that. The key to wearing makeup when you have acne is to pick the right products. According to the FDA, it’s best to look for makeup formulas that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic, meaning they won’t clog pores.
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).
When you have pimples on your face, it could be tempting to try to pop them. Quick fix, right? But you won’t be doing your skin any favors if you do this. The truth is, popping your acne can make it even more noticeable. According to the AAD, touching, picking, and popping acne can all make it worse. Hands off!
You’re officially a pimple pro! For more advice on taking care of acne-prone skin, check out our article, What to Do When You Have a Pimple.