4 acne myths

The number one reason your acne isn’t disappearing?

You’re doing something to sabotage recovery. It’s not your fault. All the acne myths out there make it impossible to figure out what works from what doesn’t. Time to bust them, don’t you think?

So, here goes 4 acne myths and the truth about them:


Want a cheap skincare routine for acne-prone skin that really works? Subscribe to the newsletter below to receive “The Ordinary Acne Skincare Routine” cheatsheet:


Acne Myth #1: Washing your face often prevents breakouts

If only it were that easy! Contract to popular opinion, dirt doesn’t give you acne.

Washing your face 10 times a day to make it squeaky clean won’t make your acne go away. It’ll just irritate your skin and inflame your acne even more. Ouch!

Here’s the deal: your skin is covered by an acid mantle that’s NOT bacteria-friendly. When you raise the ph up several notches – this happens EVERY time you wash your face with a high pH cleanser or even water alone – you’re weakening the acid mantle.

Now that’s broken down, P.Acnes (the bacteria that causes acne) proliferates. Cue acne galore. But switch to a low pH cleanser that keeps your acid mantle intact and –  studies show –  the amount of P. Acnes bacteria on your skin falls down significantly.

In other words, an acidic cleanser makes your skin inhospitable to P. Acnes and other bacteria.

What to do instead: wash your face twice a day, morning and evening, with a gentle, ph-balanced cleanser that removes all dirt and impurities without drying out your skin.

Best picks:

  • Corsx low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser ($11.00): pH 5.5. Available at Sokoglam and YesStyle.
  • Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser One Step Face Cleanser ($18.00): pH 5.5. Available at Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser ($18.00): pH 5.5. Available at Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice. 

Related: Why You Should Switch To A Low pH Cleanser To Clear Your Acne

Acne Myth 2: If you have acne, you can’t wear makeup

Who came up with this nonsense? Of course, you can wear makeup! And nope, I’m not talking just about those thick, full-coverage foundations you use to cover your acne up.

You can wear any makeup product you want – as long as it does NOT contain any comedogenic ingredients. You can find the full list here.

Little disclaimer: comedogenic ingredients aren’t a problem for everyone. If you have oily skin, you can slather your face in coconut oil and not get a simple pimple.

Oily skin isn’t that lucky. Your skin is already producing way more oil than it needs. So when you’re using makeup high in oils and other occlusives, you’re clogging your pores. And clogged pores ALWAYS lead to acne.

What to do instead: use non-comedogenic makeup products. But, don’t trust the labels. Take a look at those boring ingredient lists to make sure it doesn’t contain anything bad for you.

Related: What Makeup Ingredients Give You Pimples?

Acne Myth #3: Tanning helps heal acne

Don’t use acne as an excuse to get tanned!

Sure, a tan’ll cover up the redness… ad dry out your skin, inflame it and give you wrinkles and dark spots. And don’t get me started on skin cancer.

Here’s what no one tells you about a tan: that sun kissed glow is a sign of sun damage. Your tan is your body’s self-defence mechanism.

When your skin darkens, it’s your body’s way of telling that UV rays are damaging it. Destroying your collagen. Generating free radicals. Killing cellular DNA. 

Even if tanning did help heal acne, why would you want to cause so much damage to your skin? Especially, when there are so many acne treatments that kick acne in the butt without destroying your skin. Makes no sense.

What to do instead: wear sunscreen every day. Those acne medications often make skin more susceptible to the sun, so this ain’t optional. And, if you really must, get your tan from a bottle.

Related: What Are The Best Sunscreens For Oily Skin?

Acne Myth #4: Popping pimples is the best way to get rid of them

No! No! No! Popping a pimple is NEVER a good idea.

You’re just spreading bacteria all around your skin, slowing down the healing process and possibly even causing scars. And those are way harder to treat than a pimple.

What to do instead: try a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. They’ll get rid of the pimple for you.

Best picks: 

  • Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide ($18.00): available at Dermstore and Paula’s Choice.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Bha Liquid ($29.00): salicylic acid + green tea. Available at Nordstrom and Feel Unique.

Related: Benzoyl Peroxide VS Salicylic Acid: Which One Is Best To Treat Acne?

Looking for an affordable skincare routine that can get rid of acne once and for all? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive The Ordinary Acne Skincare Routine Cheatsheet:

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Have you fallen for these acne myths? Share your thoughts in the comments below.