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Tímea Krauszová
February 21, 2021, 8:56am
Reading time: 6:04

Acne Myth Busters: Sun Might Dry Your Pimples, But It Can Cause Even Bigger Problems

They should really teach us about this in school.

Tímea Krauszová
February 21, 2021, 8:56am
Reading time: 6:04
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Acne Myth Busters: Sun Might Dry Your Pimples, But It Can Cause Even Bigger Problems
Zdroj: Instagram / @skinwithlea
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Do you have acne and no idea how to deal with it? You might be following a wrong kind of advice that only makes matters worse . 


Google is packed with incompetent and awful solutions that don't work or even harm your skin, potentially. We get tricked by clever marketing, experiment with natural recipes, or just hope that if we just dry the acne enough, it will miraculously disappear. It simply doesn't work that way. 


5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Instagram / @skinwithlea

We have talked to dermatologists and beauticians about the most common myths related to acne. We've discussed adolescent-, but also adult acne, asking about what actually helps versus what may harm you in a brutal way. Dermatologist Simona Felšoová and beauty journalists Jekatěrina Nagy and  Zuzana Závodská.


In this article, you'll read about:

  • What summer sun does to your acne
  • Whether it's possible to just sweat it out
  • Why it's not good to clean your face too often
  • What experts say about pimple popping
  • Scientific facts about essential oils and why they can potentially make matters worse
  • Why you didn't grow out of acne, even though they've promised you will

1. Sun is supposed to help you get rid of acne

„Sun being a healer of acne is one of the oldest tips and I still sometimes hear about it today,“ dermatologist Simona Felšoová said.  To some extent, sun really works, but it also has a high tax on your skin in the form of pigment stains that are much harder to get rid of than acne alone.


5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Instagram / @mikzazon

„Sunlight dries our skin out, so it can help some people get rid of acne. UVB rays also have immunomodulatory effects - they decrease inflammation in the skin,“ the doctor admitted. Despite of that, in no way would I recommend to heal acne with sunny holidays. „Acne can be healed in a much more healthy and effective way.“


„The sun won't burn the acne off, it will only cause post-inflammatory erythema or hyperpigmentation. So even if it dries the pimples up, you'll end up with brownish-purple spots that are much harder to smoothen out than acne treatment itself,“ beauty journalist Zuzana Závodská told us.


She added that every skin type, especially the acne-prone, needs to be properly protected from the sun with a quality SPF product, as well as clothing or even a cap. 


2. Frequent cleansing of the skin should help you

Sweating is very natural for the skin. For the acne-prone skin, it will be definitely beneficial not to go to sleep with sweat and dirt. Regular cleansing is therefore in place. Especially in the summer, when we sweat even more and it is totally normal for the acne to get a bit worse, or to develop pimples. But to scrub your face until it "squeaks" clean is counterproductive, according to the experts. 


„To wash your face twice daily, using cleansing cream or gel and refreshing your face during the day, using a thermal water spray for example, is completely sufficient. If you sweat heavily, play sports or work in a dusty environment, wash your face once during the day as well. The skin barrier is under a lot of pressure if the cleansing is too frequent and that can cause the acne to get even worse. Choose products that don't dry the skin out and apply a light moisturizer after cleansing,“  Felšoová explained.


In the summer, you can notice acne more often (back and chest mainly). The reason can be sweating and bacteria that clog pores and create breeding ground for inflammation. Aside from regular showers, you should also pay attention to breathable clothing, frequent changing of bed linen and rinsing of hair product remnants from the body, according to beauty journalist Jekatěrina Nagy. It is not recommended to use the same towel for hair and body, to avoid transferring the conditioner on the skin. 


5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Instagram / @mypaleskinblog

3. Blemishes should allegedly be dried and peeling should be used 2 to 3 times a week

Nagy emphasized that we should use a gentle cleansing gel or creme and not something aggressive. „One of the myths is that we should scrub the acne-prone skin with products containing alcohol. By doing that, we're drying the skin out and it starts to defend itself - by producing even more excess sebum, which leads to clogging of the pores.“


Unfortunately, many commonly accessible products in drugstores contain other irritants aside from alcohol, like essential oils for example. Alternatively, they don't contain enough active ingredients and they just dry the skin unnecessarily without actually treating the inflammation.


She thinks that the whole myth around excessive cleansing stems from the belief that only people who wash their faces incorrectly or insufficiently have acne. That's not necessarily true, though. She also recommends double cleansing in the evening. 

Double cleansing is a method with which you cleanse your skin with two cleansing products.
First is oil-based
 (cleansing oil, cleansing balm) that dissolves not only make-up, but also SPF. This phase can be replaced by micellar water, but it needs to be washed off the face after. 
Second product is water based (gel, foam, cleansing lotion or solid cleanser). It may also contain an active substance that treats your skin problem.
Suitable ingredients for skin with acne are niacinamide, BHA acids (salicylic acid at least 0,5-2% concentration), charcoal or zinc.
Of course, peeling should help get rid of dead skin and it can significantly support the healing process. It should not be physical, though (meaning with grains).
„Peeling or anything with a drying effect does not fit the skin well. Our skin is a wise organ that only needs a gentle assistance in case of problems. Not a hardcore scrubbing, like dirty dishes do. Inflamed skin that has bumps, rashes and doesn't have smooth texture, shouldn't come in contact with any mechanical peeling whatsoever. No brushes, coffee- / sugar peelings or any homemade recipes including baking soda or lemon juice. All they do is mess up the pH of the skin and won't bring anything good along,“  Zuzana Závodská pointed out firmly.
So what do you do if you want to improve your skin? Instead of rough peelings, reach for chemical ones that are much more gentle. In our society we became allergic to the word chemical and we act as if it was the worse thing in the world. Paradoxically, it's not the case here. 
„You should rather reach for products including salicylic acid. It will remove dead cells and excess sebum that accumulates in the pores. If your skin is dry and tight after using the cleansing product, swap it for something more gentle,“ doctor Felšoová added.
5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Instagram / @jacee.ao

4. The eternal question: Squeeze or not to squeeze?

Before you start to aggressively squeeze every pimple with your nails, you need to realize that your skin is one entire organ. „It is necessary to treat the skin as a whole, not just one area. Skin is not a segregated organ, there is no fence between your cheek and chin,“  Zuzana Závodská says with a smile. However, it is not entirely true that you can't touch your face at all.


You can squeeze the blemishes with whiteheads. According to the dermatologist Simona Felšoová, squeezing such blemishes out will speed up the healing process. Deeper, painful pimples only get worse if you touch them. All of the experts agreed that you must have a clean face, clean hands, disinfectant at hand and work gently, with fingertips wrapped in tissue paper.  


5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Instagram / @cassandrabankson

You shouldn't push too strongly, it's best to stop as soon as the blood shows up. „Digging deeper into an inflamed place is like begging for a scar,“ Závodská added. Finish up with a disinfectant again and you can also use a disinfectant powder, or a zinc powder. Once the wound is dry, wash it and apply moisturiser as usual and you're done.


5. Essential oils are believed to help you

Lavender or tea tree oil are the most frequently recommended essential oils for acne. In cosmetics, they are mostly used for anti-inflammatory purposes (and pleasant smell), but they're extremely irritating for the skin and their effect can get a lot worse over time. They're not suitable for sensitive skin and definitely not in an undiluted form. 

„Essential oils are some of the biggest dermatological evils out there, because they are major irritants: they aggravate the skin and some of them cause photosensitivity, so after applying and exposing the skin to the sun, various spots or dermatitis can develop on it,“  Zuzana Závodská warns. 


According to her, it is suitable to mix tea tree oil in a carrier oil, like squalane or jojoba. „But the best is to rely on science and not pretend to be a cosmetic chemist at home,“ she concluded with a smile.


5 najväčších mýtov o akné: Je možné, že z neho nevyrastieš a nie je pravda, že si vyrážky nikdy nemôžeš vytlačiť
Zdroj: Pexels / cottonbro

6. Acne is said to disappear with age

If you'd get a Euro for every time someone promised that your acne will disappear when you grow up, you could probably afford to buy a new face by now. However, acne is quite common in adulthood and also completely normal.


„Acne is not exclusively a teenage thing. Most of my patients that come to me with acne are adults over the age of 25. Acne is affected by a complex cascade of hormones that are influenced by our lifestyle, stress, health or even the level of environmental pollution. Genetics play a big role,“ dermatologist Felšoová explained. The cause of your acne in particular needs to be consulted with an expert.

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Thumbnail: Instagram / @skinwithlea
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