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Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the US. Around 85% of people will experience acne at some point in their lives. Even though acne is so common, why it occurs and how to effectively treat it is much less well known. Family, friends, and social media are filled with acne-treating advice, which can make it hard to tell the difference between facts and myths. Read on to learn whether or not some of the most common acne advice is fact or fiction.

1. MYTH: Scrubbing your skin until it feels tight and dry will help your acne

One of the precursors to acne is the overproduction of sebum (oil) on the skin. Because of this, it might seem beneficial to use an intense cleanser to scrub the skin until it feels tight and dry. Over cleansing the skin has the opposite effect, though. Your skin naturally produces oil to protect itself, and removing too much of it will signal the body to make even more oil to compensate for what was lost. Opt instead for a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that will remove excess oil and debris without stripping the skin dry. When using a cleanser, use your fingers to gently apply it around the face, then wash off with warm water and gently pat dry with a clean towel.

 2. MYTH: For some people, no acne treatment will work

When new breakouts seem to pop up daily while using an acne treatment, it might seem like no treatment will ever help your acne. Be assured to know, though, that acne is treatable for everyone. It's just a matter of finding the proper treatment and using it consistently for 8-12 weeks. A pimple can take a few weeks to develop before it even appears on the surface of your skin, which is why it can take a few months to see improvements. If your acne hasn't gotten better after 12 weeks, then it's best to visit a dermatologist to find the right solution. You can also take the Dermala skin quiz to see which treatment is right for you.

3. (FACT) Treating acne early can decrease its severity

The earlier you start treating your acne, the easier it is to treat. Acne begins when oil and dead skin cells clog pores to form blackheads and whiteheads. If left untreated, these clogged pores can become infected with bacteria and turn into the red, inflamed, painful bumps we commonly associate with acne. If you have acne-prone skin, it's best to use a product that contains salicylic acid to prevent clogged pores from forming in the first place. Salicylic acid can penetrate oil and move deep into pores to dislodge the gunk that causes blackheads and whiteheads. Treating acne at these early stages will prevent more severe lesions like pustules, nodules, and cysts that require more potent treatments with uncomfortable side-effects.

4. (FACT) changing pillow cases and towels often can help with acne

Pillowcases, sheets, and towels collect dead skin cells and bacteria over time. Whenever these items come into contact with your skin, they transfer pore-clogging bacteria and debris. Clogged pores are a type of non-inflammatory acne that can quickly turn into an inflamed pimple when infected with the acne-causing bacteria, C. acnes. To avoid this, wash your towels, sheets, and pillowcases weekly.

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