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What are some myths about treating acne?

It’s amazing how many strange ideas are out there.

Many people put toothpaste on pimples because their grandmother told them it will dry the pimples out. It won’t.

Ditto for rubbing alcohol. People like the instantly cool feeling, and they can see that it removes dirt. “Just look at the cotton ball,” they say afterward. Well, yes, it removes surface dirt (so will washing your face) but it also strips off every bit of protective moisturizing oil from the surface, and getting rid of those oils won’t get rid of the acne. That’s another myth. It just makes your face painfully dry and flaky.

Ditto for turpentine! Eek! Don’t ever put turpentine on your skin!

Ditto for a paste made out of baking soda and water -- it’s drying and abrasive. I do have a good use for baking soda and water, but it isn’t treating pimples. It’s cleaning jewelry. It’s great for that. Ask any jeweler.

There’s one last big myth: that moisturizers make acne worse. The reality is that if skin gets too dry, and acne treatments can be very drying, that will make acne worse. In fact, people with somewhat oily skin may need to use moisturizer for the first time in their lives if they start to use acne treatments. Just be sure to buy a light, oil free, noncomedogenic formula that doesn’t contain glycolic acid or another exfoliate, they’re too stressful to your skin if you’re using an acne treatment.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.