My feed

The truth about teenage acne: we myth bust with the help of experts in clearer skin

Teenage acne is a common skin condition, but myths surrounding it can make it harder to manage. Discover the truth about these myths with the help of skin experts at Acnecide + Purifide.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Jun 12, 2023

Teenage acne myths, busted

In association with

Is your teenager struggling with acne and feeling self-conscious? It can be tough to know how to treat this common skin condition, especially with so many myths floating around. From dietary triggers to skincare routines, it’s easy for teenagers to feel overwhelmed and blame themselves for their breakouts.

The truth is, teenage acne is caused by hormonal changes - specifically increased levels of testosterone - during puberty. It’s nobody’s fault, and there are effective ways to manage it.

To help you and your teen understand what causes acne and who it can affect, skin experts Acnecide + Purifide have helped us to debunk common myths about teenage acne. With their guidance, you can understand what’s really causing those breakouts and how you can effectively treat them.

Say goodbye to myths and hello to clear, confident skin for your teen! Here’s the truth about teenage acne.

Myth #1: Acne is caused by dirt

“People think I’m disgusting and dirty and assume that I don’t wash. I’ve spent so much money trying different products, I’ve tried everything. I probably wash my face more thoroughly than most people do.” Seemenowlater

Many believe that acne is caused by a lack of cleanliness or poor hygiene, but the truth is quite different. In fact, those with acne are often guilty of over-washing their skin, which can actually lead to further irritation and worsening of the condition.

Hormonal changes are the real culprit behind acne, particularly the increased levels of testosterone during puberty. This hormone causes the glands to produce more sebum than the skin needs, leading to those pesky pimples, blackheads, and cysts.

While it’s important that your teen keeps their skin clean, surface dirt isn’t the root cause of acne. Instead, triggers occur beneath the skin’s surface. That said, cleansing their face twice daily can help remove excess oil and debris, and washes with salicylic acid can help soothe irritation and prevent new breakouts.

For a gentle cleansing option, try Purifide Daily Cleanser. This mild, soap-free foaming formula prepares your teen’s skin for acne treatments and helps keep it clean without causing further irritation and breakouts.

Myth #2: Eating chocolate/greasy foods causes acne

“The NICE guidance is here. There is no evidence for any dietary restrictions by the way - NICE considered this in detail.” MissLucyEyelesbarrow

Tired of hearing that greasy food and chocolate are to blame for acne? While diet can certainly impact your teen’s overall health, it’s not a direct cause of acne. There is no proven link between eating chocolate and greasy foods like pizza, chips, and burgers and developing acne. Instead, hormones and genetics are the real culprits behind breakouts. So, go ahead and let them indulge in that slice of pizza - it won’t give them acne.

That said, some people have found that cutting out dairy can improve their skin, but don’t expect overnight results. If your teen is considering making dietary changes, be patient and give it time.

Myth #3: Makeup causes acne

Teenage acne myths, busted

“I have two teenagers both prone to periods of spotty skin, the younger one quite frequently. As do most of their friends. The amount of time and money they all spend on looking after it bears no relation to how many spots they have sadly.” nokidshere

Makeup can be a lifesaver for people with acne, providing them with the confidence to face the world. However, some people believe that makeup is a cause of acne and going bare-faced is a better option. The truth is, while some makeup products can potentially trigger breakouts, using makeup doesn’t actually cause acne. Avoiding makeup entirely won’t help make acne disappear, as the condition is caused by excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells.

When choosing makeup, your teen should avoid products that contain fragrances, dyes, acrylics, parabens, and silicones as they can be more irritating to the skin.

Myth #4: Popping pimples helps clear spots quicker

“Looks like acne rather than pimple to me. Not poppable in that case and will scar if you force it. Mine last for a few days once they decide to visit.” TeenTitan007

When a spot appears, it can be difficult to resist the urge to pop it. Many people believe that squeezing blackheads and pimples will help get rid of them faster, but this is a myth that could actually make things worse.

Picking at pimples can lead to more inflammation and even infection, which in turn can result in scarring and further damage to your skin. It’s essential that your teen avoids picking their spots and instead, treats them with the appropriate products.

If your teen needs a hand with some stubborn blackheads, it’s best to seek help from a professional like a facialist or an aesthetician. They have the expertise to do it properly and without damaging the skin. To help prevent blackheads, your teen can try a gentle exfoliator like the Purifide Blackhead Control 2% SA Deep Exfoliating Cleanser,

Myth #5: Getting a tan helps clear acne

“I use sunscreen everyday, as my skin is now more sensitive to the sun.” Comeshinewithme

We know it’s tempting to soak up the sun in the hopes of banishing acne, but your teen should think again before heading out without protection. There’s actually no solid evidence that sunlight helps heal spots and improve acne.

In fact, prolonged exposure to UV rays - whether from the sun or tanning beds - can actually irritate skin and make acne worse.

While a little bit of sun can be good for skin (hello, vitamin D), many acne treatments can make skin more sensitive to light. So if your teen’s not careful, spending too much time in the sun without protection can actually do more harm than good.

So, what’s the solution? After cleansing and treating skin, your teen can complete their daily routine with a moisturiser to stop their skin drying out. We recommend the Purifide Daily Moisturiser SPF 30, which not only keeps the skin supple, but also protects it from harmful UV rays.

Acnecide + Purifide products

Acnecide Face Gel with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide
Acnecide Face Gel with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide


Buy now
Acnecide Face Cleanser with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide
Acnecide Face Cleanser with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide


Buy now
Acnecide + Purifide Spot On Skincare Set
Acnecide + Purifide Spot On Skincare Set

Acnecide + Purifide

Buy now

Myth #6: Acne will eventually go away

“Another one for Acnecide. Only thing that has worked permanently. Benzoyl peroxide is the ingredient you want to look for.” Theundertaker

Acne can be frustrating and even embarrassing at times, but ignoring it won’t make it magically disappear. In fact, without proper treatment, acne can actually get worse and even lead to long-term scarring.

The good news? There are effective treatments out there that can help. Look for products containing Benzoyl Peroxide, like Acnecide leave on Face Gel with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide or Acnecide wash off face cleanser with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide. This powerful ingredient helps kill up to 95% of spot-causing bacteria, treating and relieving symptoms of acne. Plus, these are the only Benzoyl Peroxide spot treatments you can purchase off the shelf without a prescription.

It’s important your teen is patient, though - some treatments can take up to six weeks to work so they shouldn’t expect overnight results. But they should remember that treating their acne now can help prevent future breakouts and reduce the risk of scarring.

Myth #7: Genetics don’t play a part…

Teenage acne myths, busted

“Yes genetics in some cases. My mum had acne into her late 20s/early 30s and I’ve had it longer. Mine is hormonal, I have PCOS, hers probably was too. Hormonal issues do tend to run in families.” minipie

Your skin is not solely determined by your lifestyle choices, but rather, your genes play a significant role in how your skin behaves. While there isn’t a specific gene, if a close family member has acne this can increase your chances of having it by 50 to 90%.

While you can’t control your genetics, maintaining a consistent and effective skincare routine can help manage and prevent breakouts. Remind your teen that taking care of their skin is not just about achieving a flawless look, but also about promoting overall health and wellbeing.

Myth #8: Only teenagers get acne

There’s a misconception that acne is just a teenage problem. While it’s true that acne often strikes during adolescence, it’s not uncommon for people to experience it at any age. In fact, some people can go through their teenage years without a single pimple, only to develop acne later in life.

Younger children and even adults in their 20s and 30s can develop the condition, due to factors like hormonal imbalances and skin types. Conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can trigger acne breakouts, while certain skin tones may be more prone to oily skin, therefore causing acne.

Busting acne stigmas

Acne affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, and is especially common during teenage years. According to the NHS, around 95 percent of people will have some form of it. Despite its prevalence, the condition is still stigmatised and can have a significant impact on self-confidence and self-esteem.

To make matters worse, the many misconceptions about what causes acne, like poor hygiene and diet, can add feelings of blame and shame. So, it’s crucial that you help your teen understand that acne is not their fault and that it’s a common condition that can be managed with a good skincare routine. Encourage them to stick to a good daily skincare routine and seek professional help from their GP if their acne is moderate or severe, or if they develop nodules or cysts to prevent scarring.

Remember, treating acne can take time and patience, but with the right approach, your teen can achieve clearer and healthier skin.

About Acnecide + Purifide

As experts in acne, Acnecide + Purifide have curated a range of effective treatments and skincare solutions that cover a wide spectrum of acne, spot, and blemish prone skin types. Whether you’re looking to tackle active flare ups, or you just want to maintain your clear skin after a breakout, Acnecide + Purifide have you covered.

GB-ACC-2300070 June 2023 / Acnecide Face Gel and Acnecide Face Wash Gel are indicated for the treatment of mild facial acne. Both contain 5% benzoyl peroxide. Always read the label.