More Acne Myths to Forget

There are so many acne myths to avoid. Are you falling for these?

If you were to ask a group of people experienced with dealing with their acne their foremost beliefs about it, you'd doubtless end up with a distressing number of pure acne myths. Fortunately, you have us to help you separate the wheat from the chaff...without paying high dermatologist fees!

This time, we'll do a quick roundup of some common myths about acne that have been going around lately.

Here Comes the Sun

You've probably heard the rumor that exposure to sunlight will dry up your acne; we've certainly discussed the possibility a number of times here. The truth is, the news about acne and the sun is mixed -- and how effective the sun is (or isn't) at clearing up your acne is based partly on your genetics anyway.

First of all: there's no doubt that too much sun is bad for you. It damages the skin, ultimately causing MORE acne. If you're prone to acne and get a sunburn, expect a breakout within two weeks.

Otherwise, about 15 minutes a day for the light-skinned and up to 30 minutes a day for the darker-skinned among us may be somewhat effective.

Big Caveat

Some acne medications, especially antibiotics, cause something called photosensitivity. When this happens, even limited exposure to the sun can damage your skin. The result? Worse acne down the road.

Tetracycline and doxycycline are notorious offenders, though erythromycin and Bactrim can be just as bad. Ironically, medications like benzoyl peroxide and Accutane can also cause photosensitivity. Be very careful out there!


You might think that you can't be too clean when it comes to acne -- but you can. Surface dirt is less likely to cause acne than naturally produced oils that clog the interiors of your skin pores.

If you scrub your face too much, especially with a washcloth, you're likely to cause skin irritation -- which may translate into more blemishes. So don't wash your face too hard, too often, or with a coarse cloth. Just clean your face gently, ideally with your hands, a few times a day.

Stressing Out

Can mental stress cause acne? The jury's out on this one, but the answer is, probably not -- at least, not in and of itself. Some stress medications may produce acne as a side effect. Otherwise, there's no clear connection between acne and stress.

But to repeat, physical stresses that cause skin damage may trigger acne. That's why sunburns sometimes result in nasty breakouts, as mentioned above.

Bottom Line

The lesson here? Don't abuse your skin, whether by scrubbing too much or allowing it to be damaged, even by the sun. And don't let these acne myths lead you astray!

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