By Sophie Qureshi
If you believe everything you read about breakouts on the internet, you’ll go crazy – and so will your skin. Beauty journalist Sophie Qureshi pops the biggest breakout myths…
Myth 1: makeup causes acne
Provided you take it all off properly before you go to bed, there’s no reason you shouldn’t wear makeup – just pick your products wisely. Avoid heavy stick or cream foundations (the waxes used to keep them solid are a bad idea for breakout-prone skin), and steer clear of finely-milled powders too – they’re a surefire way to clog your pores. Instead, use blotting tissues to tackle T-zone shine, or go for pure mineral powders with ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are less clogging.
Myth 2: toothpaste shrinks blemishes
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but trust me – it’s not a good idea. For one thing, blobs of toothpaste all over your face are never a good look, but more importantly, it’s just not that effective. True, some of the ingredients in toothpaste like baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol can act as drying agents, but that isn’t actually very helpful because drying out the skin reduces its ability to heal and fight inflammation.
Myth 3: sunbathing clears up spots
Soaking up the sun might temporarily make your skin look better because UV light has an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect that can slightly improve breakouts in the short term. But all that comes at a pretty big cost because sun exposure also thickens the stratum corneum (your skin’s outer layer), which leads to clogged pores and therefore more blackheads and breakouts down the line. As if that isn’t enough of an own-goal, UV also intensifies the pigmentation marks that breakouts leave behind.
Myth 4: if you’ve got spots, you should wash your face more
Acne isn’t caused by dirty skin (you can thank hormones and genetics, for the most part), so washing your face numerous times a day won’t do you any favours. Of course, bacteria plays a role so cleansing properly is important but if you overdo it, you’ll strip your skin of its natural oils – and it really doesn’t like that. It will retaliate by overcompensating and producing extra sebum to clog your pores and bring on a bumper crop of breakouts. Morning and night is quite enough – unless you’ve worked up a serious sweat in a lunchtime gym session.