In the world of skin care, acne myths abound. Not everyone knows how to take care of their skin, and it’s easy to understand their confusion; skin care product manufacturers make millions of dollars each year selling products made out of harmful ingredients that can irritate and damage skin. People have turned to every method imaginable to rid their skin of embarrassing breakouts to no effect. Many so-called acne solutions can do more harm than good, but why do people of all ages continue to try these ineffective methods? Pervasive acne myths. Here are some of the most common acne myths that lead to confusion and despair for many acne sufferers:

Acne Only Affects Teens

Most teens are affected by acne, and many grow out of it by the time they reach their early 20s, but that’s not a given. When teens reach puberty, their body floods with sex hormones. These sex hormones—known as androgens—increase the amount of oils produced in the pores, which can trap dirt and dead skin cells.

Most men find their hormones balance out and their acne disappears after adulthood. For women, the process is a bit different. Due to menstruation, women experience fluctuations in their hormones until they reach menopause, and it’s these fluctuations that cause continued breakouts.

Teens will try almost anything to clear up breakouts: picking at the skin, applying damaging solutions like hydrogen peroxide, and caking on makeup—but the same can be said of adults struggling with acne. It’s important to learn how to get rid of painful pimples through consistent treatment—not dangerous overnight methods.

Tanning Cures Acne

Many people mistakenly believe that the sun cures acne, which may be derived from the idea that the sun helps dry out skin. Sun can actually do more harm than good; harmful UVA and UVB rays can penetrate and damage the skin. Sun exposure can dry out the skin, stimulating the adrenal glands to produce more oil, which clogs pores with dirt. Unfortunately, tanning facilities have profited off this agenda by selling harmful tanning services. Protect your skin by applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 any time of year, and find better solutions to your acne blues.

Makeup Worsens Acne

It’s true that some makeup products can cause acne and inflammation, but this doesn’t apply to all cosmetics. Non-comedogenic products are praised by dermatologists because they contain harmless chemicals that work with your skin, not against it. For instance, mineral makeup helps protects against UVA and UVB rays. Look for esthetician-approved brands that contain vitamins and antioxidants to keep skin healthy. Avoid products with alcohol, mica, talc, fragrances, parabens, and silicone to keep skin healthy.

Acne is more likely to occur when you fail to wash your makeup off correctly. If it isn’t removed, makeup residue can build over time, trapping dirt and debris. Treat the sensitive skin around your eyes and the rest of your face to fully remove makeup.

Stress Doesn’t Affect Acne

Stress levels in America are on the rise within the past year according to the American Psychological Association. Stress directly affects your body’s functions, inside and out. When your stress levels rise, you’re more likely to produce hormones that increase oil on the skin. You also need to improve your rest; go to bed at a regular time every day so your body and mind have time to heal. Incorporate healthy eating habits and exercise to keep acne at bay.

Diet Has Nothing to Do with Acne

You are what you eat, and greasy, fatty foods are bound to cause acne issues. High-sugar foods like soda and candy can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket, which will also make acne worse. Switch to a healthy diet of leafy greens, antioxidant-rich foods, protein, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids to keep skin strong and resistant to acne. A dietician or dermatologist may recommend foods to add or remove from your diet to maintain skin health. If you have more breakouts, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction and you should see a doctor. Also reduce your intake of foods that may raise levels of stress and anxiety, like caffeine.

Exfoliates are Always Good for Skin

When it comes to washing your face, a splash of lukewarm water will do. Many dermatologists warn against face scrubs, which can actually strip away new skin to leave sensitive new skin underneath. The harsh scrubbing can also stimulate oil glands to produce even more oil, so your skin can become both inflamed and oily. It may seem counterintuitive, but usually, a gentle face wash will do. Use a makeup remover for sensitive skin and splash water on your face to refresh skin without the use of harsh chemicals and scrubs. After you wash your face, dab it gently with a clean wash cloth and use a water-based night or day cream to keep skin hydrated.