I’m a firm believer in the power of using the internet for good. Yes, even in this age of Nazi-lite internet trolls becoming mainstream, I think that more good than bad can come from online communities of people coming together, sharing ideas, and helping each other. But some of the help that people dish out isn’t exactly helpful. This has become a pet peeve of mine in one area in particular: skincare advice, specifically about acne.
Now, I’m not a dermatologist, but I’ve definitely been reading up a lot more on skincare over the past year or so. I’m talking up all night reading about benzoyl peroxide and following countless skincare addicts on Instagram levels of obsessed. But with my newfound knowledge of skin came the realization that some people just aren’t as informed about skincare as they think they are. Skincare is kind of having a moment right now, which is great because the health of your skin is important. But when people who mean well are dishing out sketchy tips about skin like it’s gospel? I get heated! Especially when I see people give bad advice to people with acne-prone skin like me! We’re so desperate for solutions to our skin woes that we’ll take any advice we can. But some of that advice can come with unhelpful consequences that either don’t do anything to improve your skin or just make it worse. So if you have acne-prone skin, please ignore these seven piece of skincare advice like the plague.
'Change Your Diet, Then Your Skin Will Improve!'So here's the thing: A change of diet can reduce acne. For example, dairy can cause inflammation, which triggers breakouts for some people. Therefore, people who have noticed breakouts when they eat a lot of dairy either cut their intake or stop eating dairy entirely. Cool, that's awesome. But guess what? There are vegans who have acne. There are people who eat loads of dairy who don't. So obviously dairy isn't the ultimate cause of acne. Same goes for sugar, gluten, and other foods that can cause reactions in some people, but not all. So if someone suggests that you change your diet to reduce your acne, take their advice with a grain of salt. Keep yourself open to the possibility that your diet might make your acne worse. But remember that just because your friend swears that her skin glows ever since she stopped eating grilled cheese sandwiches, that doesn't mean your skin will follow suit. It's worth remembering that acne can stem from everything from excess bacteria on your skin, to beauty products that your skin doesn't take kindly to, to just having a family history of zits. Acne can be more complicated than what you eat, so don't let anyone shame you into essentially eating your acne away as if that's the one and only key. Cherry Glazerr/YouTube
'Use Coconut Oil As A Moisturizer!'People are obsessed with coconut oil right now, and, yes, it has some really great beauty benefits. It's a killer moisturizer, it smells amazing, and it's loaded with antioxidants! Plus, I stand by the idea that it is one of the best makeup removers you can find. However, I'm shook by how often people suggest to use coconut oil as a moisturizer. Okay, it might work for them, and maybe it's a miracle product for people with incredibly dry skin. But if you have acne prone skin, please, do not leave coconut oil on your skin. Coconut oil might make your skin feel amazing, but it clogs pores like crazy. If you break out often, you should stay on the safe side and avoid applying coconut oil to your face without washing it off. It's a ticking time bomb, guys. Stick to using it in your hair and on your body, but leave your face alone. iStock
'LOL JUST DRINK MORE WATER!'This is probably my least favorite suggestion, especially coming from people who have never suffered from acne: "Just drink more water!" Listen, hydration is great. Water is good for you. Please, drink water. But the second someone tells you that your cystic acne will be ancient history if you just drink a gallon of water a day? Bye. Here's a little secret for you: Water doesn't make your skin clearer. Yes, really. Honestly, exercise and a vitamin rich diet are better for your skin than drinking a ton of water is. Again, drink water, but don't do it in the hopes of making those acne scars fade or getting rid of those zits along your chin. Misfits
'You Need A High End Cleanser To Really Get Rid Of Your Zits!'It's really easy to get duped into buying pricey skincare products if your drugstore purchases don't seem to be doing the trick. Please, don't fall for that. If you find an expensive cleanser that you and your skin approves of, cool, congrats! But don't assume that you necessarily need to spend more to get results. Besides, many skincare experts believe that people get way too precious about cleansers in the first place. A gentle, preferably water-based cleanser is all you need on that front. You don't have to spend $40 to find a product that does that. So, yes, maybe someone on Instagram swears by the cleanser she copped at Sephora, but you don't have to spend Sephora money to clear up your skin. Also, dropping a lot of money on skincare products while you continue to do things like not clean your pillow case as often as you should, not washing your makeup brushes enough, touching your face constantly, using pore-clogging moisturizers--all things that can cause acne--is a total waste. Shop smart, sis. Daria
'Use Lemon Juice To Cleanse Your Pores!'Okay, I'm going to make this short and sweet: Do not put lemon juice on your face. I don't care if some poreless chick on Twitter suggests it. I don't care if you saw a DIY for a lemon juice mask on Pinterest. Don't...do it. Dermatologists do not recommend it. Lemon juice is super acidic and can irritate your skin more than help it. There's also little proof that it will clear up your uneven skin tone or dry up those cystic zits. It'll just make your skin angry and sensitive to the sun. There are plenty of other products that can help clear up your skin, but please...put down that juicer. iStock
'Stop Wearing Makeup!'Anyone who has had a bad breakout or deals with acne scars all the time knows how much a little concealer or foundation can instantly make you feel less self-conscious about your skin. So when people who have only had a few chin zits in their life and have otherwise flawless skin suggest things like not wearing makeup to their acne suffering friends? It comes across as super clueless and dismissive of our struggle! Besides, they're wrong for assuming that makeup automatically leads to zits. Yes, it's true that makeup can clog your pores, especially if it contains oil or is waxy. But saying that all makeup clogs pores just isn't true. The only way everyone is vulnerable to makeup causing acne is if they don't remove their makeup before bed. Otherwise? Your skin knows what it likes and knows what it doesn't like. So whenever someone suggests that the answer to your acne woes is to throw out your perfectly good BB cream, just roll your eyes and ignore 'em. Clueless
'Go The All Natural Route To Fix Your Acne!'Don't get me wrong: There are plenty of natural ingredients that are great for your skin. Aloe, tea tree oil, Manuka honey, etc. But don't let anyone peer pressure you into believing that skincare products made in a lab are somehow evil or ineffective. People fetishize the hell out of all-natural ingredients, as if nothing can hurt your skin if it comes out of the ground or off of a tree. We just talked about how coconut oil and lemon juice can be bad for treating acne, so we already know that ain't true! If you're insistent on only using all natural ingredients on your acne journey, fine. But do lots of research with citations from dermatologists, not some random people on YouTube. Plus, if your acne is severe or clay masks alone aren't solving your problems, you need to be real and consider chemical options. Prescription retinoids are made in labs, but they're proven to help cure acne. We have the technology, guys. Don't turn it down just because some granola friend of yours made you paranoid. iStock
What other annoying bits of skincare advice do people give you? What has worked when it comes to treating your acne? Tell us in the comments!