So how do you sort old wives’ tales from irrefutable truth? Read on for the most common acne-related myths, busted.
1/ You can only get acne as a teenager
Oh so wrong. Adult acne is painfully real and can be caused by anything from your genetics to your stress levels to lack of sleep. Treating adult acne is a different beast to the teenage variety – stay away from harsh exfoliants and cleansers, which are likely to exacerbate irritation, and add soothing actives to your regimen like niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help calm inflammation.
2/ Toothpaste is the ultimate spot treatment
No dermatologist will ever tell you to put Colgate on your face, so stick to purpose-built spot treatments instead. Try the Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Blemish Stick, an invisible gel with a sponge tip applicator, or Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne, both of which penetrate deep into the skin to dry out pimples and reduce their occurrence, thanks to the anti-bacterial properties of tea tree.
3/ You should avoid oils
Yes, you should avoid oil-based makeup, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts, but natural plant oils are something else entirely. Jojoba oil, for instance, is rich in antioxidants and makes a perfect moisturiser for all skin types; tea tree oil is an antibacterial answer to acne. Whatever you do, don’t stop moisturising altogether in a bid to reduce your skin’s sebum production: hydrated skin = healthy skin, and if you strip away its natural oils it will only try to compensate by producing even more.
4/ Eating dairy leads to breakouts
To date, not one credible scientific study has found a link between your daily flat white fix and the quality of your skin – unless you’re drinking skim, in which case there’s some evidence of a connection. Same goes for chocolate (hoorah!), so we see no reason to curb your intake at all (you’re welcome).
5/ Sunscreen gives you pimples
Choose a non-comedogenic, lightweight and matte-finish sunscreen formula and you shouldn’t have this problem. Many sunscreens today are designed especially for daily use on oily skin, and excessive exposure to the sun can actually exacerbate breakouts and inflammation (as well as premature ageing and the risk of skin cancer). You know the drill: slip, slop, slap.