Pimples are notorious for showing up at the wrong time, especially if acne runs in your family. Figuring out how to balance your skin’s oils and achieve a clear complexion can seem overwhelming with all of the advice available today. While most myths have been publicly debunked, some of them still manage to hang around despite the many dermatologists and beauty advisors who say otherwise. This leads to plenty of confusion and a lot of irritated skin.

Over 60 million Americans suffer from acne and 20 million of them suffer from it badly enough to cause permanent scarring, according to Clear Clinic Acne Treatment Center. Acne is caused by a combination of the overproduction of oil, secretion of hormones, shedding of dead skin, and bacteria build up that commonly appears on the face, neck, shoulders, and back. Plugged pores can create breakouts, which include pimples, zits, whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, or cysts, depending upon the severity of the acne.

If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to deal with the occasional bad-timing pimples, but chronic acne can wreak havoc on a person’s everyday life. Learn about the most popular myths and old wives tales in order to protect your skin and overall health and well-being.

6 Myths That May Surprise You:

1. Only Teenagers Get Acne

Acne is one of the infamous marks of a high school student who has to go through a substantial amount of hormonal fluctuations until their body finds the right balance by the time they reach adulthood. But what happens when the acne never stop and carries through into adulthood? It’s not only a pubescent phase; in fact, one of the most popular misconceptions about acne is that it exclusively affects teenagers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne does affect teenagers more often, but adults and children are not exempt from pimples and breakouts.  

In recent years, pre-adolescent children have been going through puberty earlier, which means acne is affecting the younger age groups. Puberty causes a rise in hormones that makes the skin and hair oilier, which contributes to clogged pores and is why acne frequently affects hormone-imbalanced teenagers.  

2. The Popping Pimple Treatment:

It may seem like a good idea to pop the whitehead on your chin, and that may provide some temporary pleasure, release endorphins, and decrease its appearance at first, but it doesn’t actually make it go away. It will only encourage irritation, which puts the skin in risk of infection and future acne scars are more permanent and difficult to treat.

When you squeeze a pimple, you may be forcing the debris and bacteria from the pore deeper into the follicle, which can cause the follicl­­e wall to rupture and spill infected material beneath the skin. Not only do you run the risk of scarring if you pick at or pop your pimples, but you can also worsen the blemish and make it last longer on your face than it would originally have stayed. Don’t be fooled if you are able to coax pus and debris from the pore opening, you are most likely pushing some of the infected material deeper into the dermis.  

Squeezing a pimple can lead to a nodule, which is a hard, red, painful blemish deep within the skin, or a cyst, which is a buildup of tissue that may feel like a pea beneath your skin and can be filled with air, fluid, or pus. A cyst is the most serious form of a blemish and may become a large and painfully inflamed lesion. It develops when a membrane forms around the infection in the dermis and creates a soft, fluid-filled lump. It must be treated and drained by a physician.  

It is apparent that the only way to truly avoid worsening a breakout is a hands-off policy.

3. Use Toothpaste To Dry It Out

There are so many at-home remedies surrounding acne treatments. One of the most well-known ones is toothpaste, as it has been thought to magically dry out and erase pimples overnight. Toothpaste does have the ability to dry out the skin, but leaving your face parched is not a healthy route to a clear complexion.  

To begin with, most toothpaste brands contain a menthol ingredient that gives us that familiar minty sensation of clean teeth. Unfortunately, menthol is an ingredient that often irritates skin and causes itching and inflammation. Try to avoid any skin product that lists menthol as an ingredient, especially if you have sensitive skin. A tingling sensation may seem to signal deep cleansing, but menthol does not help increase the effectiveness of skin care products.  

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are both common anti-acne ingredients, and both cause some drying of the skin. But salicylic acid has been shown to promote cell turnover, which means that skin gets exfoliated and fresh skin cells come to the surface. Meanwhile benzoyl peroxide is designed to fight acne bacteria and does not cause bacterial resistance inside the pores.  

4.  Tan Acne Away:

Not only is baking in the sun an ineffective way to reduce acne, but it also puts a person at risk of developing skin cancer. Your skin can burn despite the tanning that just masks the red acne blemishes. In addition, the burns cause the skin to become dry and flaky, leading to wrinkles later on in life if tanning because a habitual activity. The sun emits three different types of wavelengths down to earth; UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.

UV radiation is a spectrum of light that penetrates the earth’s atmosphere and plays a huge part in premature skin aging, eye damage, and skin cancers. UVA penetrates the skin deeper than UVB waves, which causes skin reddening and sunburn. UVA rays damage the dermis, which is the skin’s thickest layer, and once that is damaged, it can lead to premature aging with wrinkles, age spots, increased risk of skin cancer, and a suppressed immune system. UVC rays actually have the shortest wavelength and are the most dangerous of all rays, but they don’t reach the earth’s surface and are completely absorbed by the ozone layer.  

When any UV rays react with melanin, the skin begins to tan and overexposure leads to sunburn. Melanin is the body’s active defense against the sun and once that is disrupted, harm has been done. The key is to not burn, protect yourself with broad spectrum sunscreen, at least SPF 30 protection and take care of your skin and overall health. Even if you tan with an SPF 30 sunscreen, it can still penetrate your skin deep enough to do damage, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.  

5. Let Acne Run Its Course:

It’s not a good idea to leave acne untreated. Without treatment, acne can leave a person with dark spots and permanent scars that could have easily been avoided had it been treated with the proper care and attention it demanded. Ignoring the presence of acne can worsen the skin condition, especially if an individual’s daily skincare isn’t adjusted to the skin’s new needs.

6. Wash Your Face More:

Yes, of course it’s important to maintain good hygiene routines in order to remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt from the surface. But the benefits plateau and then become damaging when you over-wash and scrub your face because it will only irritate the skin and make acne worse. Stay away from scrubs, exfoliants, and products that contain alcohol because they dry out the skin. Instead, wash the face twice a day with mild soap or cleanser, then gently pat the skin dry with a soft towel.