Myths about Acne


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For every correct fact about acne there is at least one complete myth about it. That might well be one of them! In truth, however, there are a vast number of myths, legends, stories, old wives tales and downright lies out there about acne and this section will dispel some of the most common ones.

Chocolate, Chips, Crisps and Acne

This is probably one of the most widely known myths about acne. It is so widespread that many people assume it to be true. However, thankfully, there is absolutely no correlation between eating chocolate and having acne. Diet can to some extent alter your hormonal levels which can sometimes worsen or make you more prone to acne, but eaten as part of a balanced, healthy diet, chocolate will no have any effect on your skin. Neither will greasy foods such as chips or crisps.

Masturbation, Sex and Acne

Despite what you might have been told as a teenager, sex and masturbation do not cause acne. There are two reasons why this myth has become popular. Firstly it might dissuade you from having sex at a young age. Secondly, the hormone androgen increases in teenagers. Androgen can cause many changes in the body and, during puberty especially, it can cause your sex drive to increase and simultaneously cause your sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum. It is the latter that causes acne and the two have nothing to do with each other. The two things occur at the same time but sex drive and acne have absolutely no effect on each other.

Poor Hygiene and Acne

A lack of hygiene does not directly cause acne. In fact, washing the affected area more than twice a day, or scrubbing too hard, can make acne much, much worse. It is best to wash your face once or twice daily using a mild wash and avoid rigorous scrubbing and rubbing as well as harsh alcohol-based toners.

Is Acne Contagious?

Acne is absolutely not contagious. The cause of acne is already in the glands of your skin that, thanks to an increase of hormones in your body, produce more oil than usual which clogs your pores. It is true that bacteria on the skin can get into these clogged pores and cause inflammation, but these bacteria definitely cannot be caught because we all have them on our skin already. So don’t worry, you can get as close as you like to any another person as you like and there is no way that you can catch or give them acne.

Squeezing Spots - Should I or Should I Not?

Many people believe that popping zits, known as papules or pustules, will help them clear up faster. While popping or squeezing a spot in this way may immediately reduce its size, squeezing spots is a terrible idea. Squeezing spots causes scabs that can then become permanent scars. Leaving a zit as it is may look nasty temporarily, but in a short time it will clear up and nobody will ever know it was there. Another very good reason not to squeeze your spots is that touching your face with your fingers and hands spreads and introduces more bacteria, which is a recipe for even more acne.

Tanning and Acne

One final myth is that getting a tan will lessen your acne. While a tan may help your acne blend in with the rest of your skin temporarily it does nothing to get rid of it and will actually make it worse. UV has been shown to irritate and worsen acne and UV exposure can seriously damage your skin in general.


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