If anyone knows the truth about acne, it’s Katie Rodan, M.D., and Kathy Fields, M.D., the dermatologist founders of billion-dollar blemish brand Proactiv. To kick off June National Acne Awareness Month, we’re sharing some surprising acne facts from their book, The Doctors’ Secrets to a Lifetime of Clear Skin:
- Acne is the #1 skin disease in the world—in the U.S., 85 percent of people have it sometime in their lives.
- They might do a number on your waistline, but sweets like chocolate and soda, and greasy foods like French fries don’t cause acne.
- It may seem like the sun dries up your pimples, but sun exposure actually makes acne worse over time: Your skin sheds the UV-damaged cells, which clog pores and can trigger breakouts.
- The dark spots that appear on skin after a blemish are called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: Unlike acne scars, they’re not permanent but can take weeks to heal.
- Don’t spot treat: The red pimple that erupts on your skin is actually the last stage of a blemish’s life. Always treat your whole face to attack acne at every stage (even when it’s not yet visible).
- Keep products with the zit-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide away from clothes and fabrics; it’s oxidizing action will bleach them.
- Avoid facial scrubs with ground fruit or nut bits, like apricot pits or walnut, when trying to deep-clean skin: Their sharp edges can make micro-tears in your skin, causing further inflammation and irritation.
- Don’t wash your face more than twice a day: Stripping your skin of oil prompts your body to produce more, exacerbating acne and oiliness.