Whether you have the occasional pimple or have struggled with acne for years, clearing your skin is no easy feat. Like many people, you’ve probably tried all the tips and tricks. From over-the-counter topicals to pricey face washes, you’ve likely taken a stab at it all. Failed attempt after failed attempt to erase those zits can get frustrating and exhausting. And what’s worse is that treatments are often expensive and much of the information on the internet can be misleading. In fact, some of the myths surrounding acne can even make your skin worse. Rather than wasting time and money on solutions that won’t work, start by figuring out what advice to avoid. Here are five acne myths, debunked.


Myth #1: Over-The-Counter Treatments Will Do the Trick

When fighting acne, it can be tempting to head to the nearest convenience store and purchase a topical. Quick fixes that promise overnight results can be extremely appealing. However, many of these solutions don’t work or can even lead to making your skin worse. When products aren’t suited for your specific skin needs, they can do more harm than good. 

Having a good quality acne treatment that works starts with tailoring your skin care to your skin type. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many online sites that can help by providing valuable information. You can even look into online consultations and have your prescriptions delivered right to you. Having professionals pick your products will often lead to better, longer lasting results.


Myth #2: Popping Pimples Isn’t a Problem

When pimples appear, your first instinct is to remove it as soon as possible (a.k.a pop it). Many people know it’s not ideal to use this method, but the reasons why are often overlooked. When you know the effects this can have on your skin, you’ll be less likely to have the urge. Not only can it make the zit worse in the moment, it can even lead to long-term damage. 

When you try to extract blemishes on your own, you are likely to push the puss further into the skin. This leads to inflammation, making your pimple more red and swollen. Squeezing the zit can also result in scabs or even permanent scars. However, if you want it extracted immediately, you can schedule a visit with a licensed esthetician. These professionals will be able to remove the bacteria without causing any long-term damage.


Myth #3: More Cleansing Means Clearer Skin

While keeping your skin clean is crucial for having clear skin, washing it too often can actually make things worse. Overwashing your face can damage your skin barrier, which protects it from bacteria. Without that protection, it’s easier for redness, irritation, and even breakouts to occur. Most experts suggest washing your face twice a day — once in the morning and once at night. 

If you cleanse your face any more than that, you are more likely to get dry flakey skin. For those of you who want to wash your face more frequently, consider switching to cleansing oil. This product will prevent damage to your natural skin barrier while still helping to remove impurities.


Myth #4: Face Masks Will Fix Your Flaws

While many face masks and peels can be beneficial, it’s important to know which ones are worth your time. The wrong masks can be hard on your skin, leading to dryness, rashes, and acne. It’s also important to keep in mind that masks are not a long-term solution. To see lasting results, you must find masks tailored to your needs and pair it with quality skin care products. 

If you do opt for masks, ones with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be particularly beneficial for acne. They can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. If your face is on the oily side, clay masks and charcoal can help absorb excess oil. When choosing masks, be sure to avoid the ones with harsh chemicals like parabens, aluminum, and formaldehyde.


Myth #5: Retinol is Only For Anti-Aging, Not Acne

Many people know of retinol as an anti-aging skincare product that helps prevent and reduce wrinkles. However, what you may not know is that it’s also a powerful ingredient for fighting acne. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that can be found in serums, creams, and lotions. Because it is strong, it is not recommended to start with daily use.

This ingredient can help remove the top layer of the skin, which can help unclog pores. It also decreases oil production and helps remove dirt and bacteria. Retinol works from the inside out, by working under your skin first to stimulate collagen. Because of this, keep in mind, it is not a quick fix and can take around a month to see results.


The Bottom Line for Acne Lies

Whether through social media, the news, or magazines, you’ve likely been fed a lot of misinformation about breakouts. It’s important to take caution, do your research, and invest in the right remedies when fighting your acne. When you know which advice to avoid, you can save time, money, and the trouble of trial and error. With these myths now debunked, you’re one step closer to the smoother skin you deserve.