Better with facts than fiction, especially when it comes to having breakouts! Believing in the wrong advice could worsen the condition of your acne.

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Here are five most common acne myths we run into frequently from hundreds of messages sent to us via our contact form, email, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.

Myth 1: Washing the Face Regularly Can Reduce Acne

Fact: The mistaken belief that acne is caused by dirty or oily skin often leads to excessive-cleaning of the face. We are surprised when many with acne prone skin have shared with us they cleanse their face more than 3 times a day, but unsurprised when they later told their acne condition remains the same severe despite frequent cleansing.

True that clogged sebum as a result of hyperactive sebaceous glands plus the influence of bacteria propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) give rise to acne. Thus, having healthy, non-clogging pores is the ultimate goal for all with acne prone skin. BUT, no cleanser can clean pores thoroughly!

The fact is that cleansers only take down the surface dirt and sebum. After you remove the layer of sebum with harsh cleansers, the squeaky clean sensation and dryness on the skin will naturally signal your sebaceous glands to start secreting sebum for moisturization. Cleanse your skin, so it feels clean, but oil glands begin producing sebum, you feel oily again. It’s never ending.

To combat the oiliness in long-term, you will need to include a BHA exfoliant in your skincare routine. This impressively oil-soluble agent will interact with the sebaceous pore lining, go deep into the pores and dissolve the sebum to prevent acne. Washing your face less than 3 times a day will help to avoid the unhealthy dryness. If you can’t stand the face oiliness at noon, get yourself an oil-blotting paper that absorbs the excess sebum instantly without ruining your makeup.

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Myth 2: Products with Non-Comedogenic Label Will Not Cause Acne

Fact: We wish the cosmetic industry is always being so honest to you, but no. Labels like “non-acnegenic” and “non-comedogenic” carry no meaning. The fact is that there is no regulation for cosmetic brands to put these labels on the products. Anyone can label their products as non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic freely. In other words, no cosmetic science expert in the regulatory department will run tests for you if the product causes acne before you buy it.

From our observations, there are just countless products loaded with skin-irritants in nice and elegant packaging with “non-comedogenic” and “non-acnegenic” claims.

These labels are entirely marketing materials. Totally useless. We know for sure because many of us tried products assuring they won’t cause acne, and we broke out regardless!

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But how to choose the real and right products for acne prone skin? Equip yourself with basic cosmetic science knowledge enough to analyse the list of ingredients and avoid skin-irritants. We understand most people find it impossible to differentiate ingredients that will help and those that can make matters worse. If chemistry reads like alien for you, look for down-to-earth product reviews from the credible beauty experts, scientists and dermatologists (not some unreliable bloggers profited from producing blog posts). If reading is too hard again, please talk to us. You can never go wrong too by directly sourcing your anti-acne skincare routine from our CLEAR Blemish Control Collection.

Myth 3: An Anti-Acne Product Works If It Tingles

Fact: It is not okay when skincare makes skin tingle, causing you to be so aware of your skin all of a sudden. If your skin feels the tingles, it means the nociceptors (pain receptors in the skin) are signalling you that your skin is being targeted by skin irritants.

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Common tingling ingredients or irritating ingredients found in anti-acne products are fragrance, denatured alcohol, peppermint, menthol, lemon and eucalyptus. Research are clear these ingredients aggravate skin. Not only the nociceptors, but our sebaceous glands are reactive to these irritants as well, responding by secreting more sebum, making acne skin worse!

Myth 4: If My Breakouts Aren’t Faded Overnight, The Anti-Acne Product Isn’t Working.

Fact: We hope too skincare products perform like magic, disappearing your breakouts instantly. Hopes start out so high that we desperately want an anti-acne product to work. We have all been through the time of waking up in the morning, looking into the mirror and examining if the breakouts on our face are not there anymore, if not diminished in size, because of the anti-acne products we applied last night. Disappointment arises when the breakouts are still there.

Oftentimes, you are disappointed not because the well-formulated anti-acne treatments aren’t working, but because of your unrealistic expectations towards these products.

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The keyword in the myth statement is “overnight”. Nothing, not even medicine prescribed by experienced dermatologists, can transform a face of terrible acne into glowing, healthy skin overnight.

The truth is that it takes weeks if not months for most to proudly declare a winner in the battle with acne. You need to stick to an anti-acne routine for at least 8 weeks to see results. Use the essential products religiously, every day, as advised.

Most acne strugglers (especially adolescents) have ongoing acne because they impatiently cease using the well-formulated products (with BHA, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide etc.) before their skin improves healthily from these products.

Myth 5: I Can Remove Acne and Blackheads with Physical Scrub

Fact: Blackheads and breakouts have their roots deep underneath your skin. Imagine how horrible it is if any solid particle can get into your skin easily to uproot these blackheads.

Scrub can only glide (and damage) the skin surface. Even the impressive BHA or salicylic acid takes hours to penetrate the lipid-soluble pore lining, dissolving sebum within the pores. Scrubbing your face for just a few minutes will do nothing beneficial to your breakouts.

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But it causes harm, for sure. Numerous tiny holes (micro-tears) are created when you harshly scrub your all-important skin barrier. Like applying tingling products, once the skin is in touch with abrasive scrub, it is signalled to secrete more sebum, which we are confident isn’t what you want.

You don’t have to believe in any “anti-acne” cleanser or “anti-acne” scrub too. We only have faith in retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid (BHA) when it comes to the concept of anti-acne. And these gold-standard ingredients take hours to work amazingly on reducing breakouts on the skin. Cleansing your face for just a few minutes just wouldn’t help with treating acne. Acne prone skin will get better with any gentle, non-irritating cleanser, regardless if it is labelled “anti-acne”.