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Five Acne Myths That Are Sabotaging Your Skin

Ad  Being one of the most well heard of and common skin conditions, it is unsurprising that there is an extensive amount of misinformation ...

Five Acne Myths That Are Sabotaging Your Skin


Being one of the most well heard of and common skin conditions, it is unsurprising that there is an extensive amount of misinformation concerning acne treatment. Ultimately, the condition boils down to the overproduction of sebum. This oily substance mixes with dead skin cells to plug the follicles on the skin and create blackheads, whiteheads or even cysts. There are a number of factors that cause this overproduction; whether it be hormonal, genetic, environmental or lifestyle, acne affects everyone differently. No matter the cause of your acne, here are five things that you definitely should not be doing to try and fight it.

Not moisturising

For countless people with acne-prone skin, introducing additional moisture may seem counterintuitive. However, in many cases it is actually dry skin that stimulates the overproduction of oily, acne-causing sebum. To this end, moisturising can help balance out those sebum levels which, in turn, will help to calm that acne.

This being said, not all moisturisers are made equal. It’s important to find a good, non-pore clogging one; keep an eye out for anything that claims it’s ‘water-based’ or ‘non-comedogenic’ as these will be your best bet at finding hydration whilst simultaneously keeping pores unblocked.


Whilst more sunshine may increase serotonin levels, help with seasonal depression, and revive the dead houseplant living in that dark corner of your bedroom, acne is not among this list. In fact, the NHS website states that there is ‘no conclusive evidence that prolonged exposure to sunlight […] can improve acne’. So, whilst tanning may seem to give almost instantaneous results, with the excess oil in spots momentarily drying up and scars and blemishes becoming camouflaged in tanned skin, the post-sunning effects can actually further aggravate the condition. Not to mention the increased risk of getting skin cancer! Lather on that non-comedogenic SPF to prevent skin damage and remain moisturised.

Using physical exfoliants

From facial scrubs, wash cloths, sponges, loofahs and even pumice stones, the list of physical exfoliants is almost endless. They work by sloughing off the dead skin cell build up that traps in newer, fresher, and healthier skin cells that lurk underneath.

Although using physical exfoliants can initially leave your face feeling smooth, overuse of them can exacerbate any issues caused by acne. If you get too overzealous with your scrubbing or exfoliate too frequently you may end up creating micro-abrasions in the healthy skin cells underneath. Not only will this cause redness and sensitivity, but it slows down the cell repair process. We know you may be frustrated with your skin, but physical violence is never the answer. Instead, try a gentle chemical exfoliant. From glycolic acid to salicylic acid, there are a whole host of options that can help you increase your skin cell turnover rate to keep that skin glowing.

Applying toothpaste and baking soda

We’ve all been there – putting a dab of toothpaste on a spot overnight in the hopes that it will magically disappear before picture day at school the next morning. Whilst legend may say that this is a beauty hack as old as time, it will quite literally just hack into and damage that sensitive skin of yours.

Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Although toothpastes may contain certain ingredients that can dry out the skin (and therefore dry out whiteheads), it’s important to remember that dry skin isn’t what you want in the long run. The alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and triclosan that are commonly found in toothpaste, if applied to the skin, will likely upset its pH balance, cause irritation, rashes and even burning. Toothpaste, as the name claims, is formulated for the resilience of teeth and not for the delicate surface of your face. Keep this in mind next time a surprise pimple rears its ugly head and you’re about to have your picture taken.

In much the same vein, baking soda, with its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties initially seems like it would make for an excellent at-home-spot-treatment. However, if applied to the skin’s naturally acidic pH range of 4.5-5.5, baking soda’s alkaline pH of 9 will wreak havoc on the skin. Indeed, the substance will destroy all the good natural oils that protect the skin from unwanted bacteria and increase the chance of it getting sun damaged. Let the baking soda to clean your oven, not your face.

A gentler anti-inflammatory you might consider is aloe vera. Whilst it will by no means cure the condition, it has the potential to soothe and hydrate the skin. Unlike toothpaste and baking soda, this will reduce the appearance of acne rather than worsen it.

Picking at spots

Contrary to popular belief, the satisfaction of popping a pus-filled spot is not worth the complications it may incur. Not only do you risk introducing new bacteria from your hands into the already afflicted area but forcing infected pus to escape jeopardises other unafflicted areas by spreading this bacteria further. You’ll end up in a never-ending cycle of popping spots, creating new ones, popping spots, creating new ones…

Some spots, however, refuse to be popped no matter how hard you try. If the contents of the pimple aren’t spilling outwards then, as the saying ‘what goes up must come down’, they’re likely being pushed deeper into your skin. Not only will this clog pores further but it can worsen inflammation, too.

Moreover, in the process of picking, the skins barrier will likely be damaged. This has the potential to create permanent scarring – treatment for which is not readily available through the NHS. If popping spots means having to fork out money on cosmetic treatment later down the line, it may be better to simply resist the temptation to pick.

Key take-aways

  • Moisture is your friend! Be wary of overexposure in the sun and of products that have excessively drying properties.
  • Acne prone skin is sensitive. Be gentle with it and try your best not to pick at spots or attack it with a physical exfoliant.
  • Professional acne treatment will be your best bet at tackling the condition. Find some excellent acne treatments from e-Surgery, like Acnecide gel and Zineryt solution.
  • If you would still prefer to try the natural route first, it’s worth checking out the pros and cons of some gentler acne home remedies first.

e-Surgery is a sustainably focused online prescription service and pharmacy. Simply select your treatment, fill in a 2-minute healthcare questionnaire and have your treatment delivered in discreet, recyclable packaging.

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