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10 Myths About What Really Causes Breakouts


Acne Myths Busted

By Kelsey Blackwell

There are a lot of myths about what exactly does and does not cause acne, and that misinformation can make it hard for you or your teen to keep skin looking its best. Here’s a closer look at common misconceptions about what causes acne. You may be surprised!

1. Chocolate and Pizza
Let’s get this one out of the way: Contrary to popular belief, there is no direct connection between eating pizza or chocolate and acne. But there’s an asterisk here: Eating greasy foods on a regular basis CAN lead to acne. That’s because a diet abundant in high-glycemic foods such as bread, pasta and fried foods can raise blood-sugar levels, which in turn has been shown to correlate with acne.

2. A Dirty Face
Acne is not caused by having a dirty face, but rather when oil, dead skin cells or bacteria block pores. In fact, washing your face more frequently may lead to more breakouts because when skin is too dry, the body produces more oil to hydrate the skin. Stick to a once- or twice-daily face-washing regimen.  

3. Sunscreen
Though it may be tempting to ditch the sunscreen if you’re experiencing a breakout, know that using SPF is actually part of a good skincare regimen. Look for a sunscreen marked non-comedegenic, meaning it does not contain ingredients that will block pores.

Need an oil-free moisturizer that will protect you against the sun without clogging your pores?

4. Touching Something Dirty
It’s true that bacteria is one cause for breakouts, but don’t fear the occasional brush with germy surfaces. That’s because, in short, there is no established connection between breakouts and the bacteria you coming in contact through by occasionally touching dirty objects. Bacteria is a component of acne, yes, but the real concern is regular exposure to bacteria, and you can limit that primarily by practicing good hygiene, and by avoiding recurring contact with dirty surfaces like grimy cell phones, unwashed makeup brushes, etc. Of course, you’re not going to stop using your cell phone or makeup brushes, but be sure to regularly clean those essential objects.

5. Wearing Too Much Makeup
It is overly simple to say that makeup causes breakouts, because makeup, itself, is not necessarily the culprit. Instead, avoid oil-based makeups and make sure all the makeup you wear is marked non-comedegenic.

We’ve got makeup products that can treat and prevent breakouts – and keep you looking great.

6. Being a Teen
Yes, the hormonal fluctuations that often occur between the ages of 12 and 17 are a contributing factor to acne. But these changes aren’t the only cause of acne, nor do they always lead to acne. What’s more, teens are hardly the only ones who suffer from acne. Between 40 to 55 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 40 are diagnosed with low-grade, persistent acne and oily skin, according to The International Dermal Institute.

7. Other People with Acne
Even if your skin comes in contact with someone else’s or you share a pillow or towel, acne is not contagious. Period.

8. Abrasive Skin Products
Worried that facial scrubs will lead to breakouts? Don’t be. Proper use of a gentle scrub to exfoliate is a great way to remove dead skin cells and reduce the development of blackheads. And bonus, when dead skin is removed, skin appears brighter and healthier.

Looking for a gentle face scrub? Try NEUTROGENA® Deep Clean Gentle Scrub.

9. Sweat
Though it’s common to experience breakouts in areas where you sweat, sweat alone actually does not cause acne. Instead, other factors including what you wear to workout in can promote pimples. Tight fitting clothes made from synthetic materials can irritate acne-prone skin, contributing to breakouts. Wash workout clothes immediately after hitting the gym and change out of clothes as soon as your workout has finished to keep your skin as healthy as you are.

10. Greasy Hair
It’s likely not your hair’s natural oils that are causing you to break out, but rather the products you use to style it with. Avoid hair products with oil, silicones and plasticizers – especially if you have bangs or fringe touching your forehead – since these ingredients could clog pores.

Now that you are educated about things that don’t cause breakouts, learn about what causes breakouts.


©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016

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