Myth #1: Acne is a disease of adolescence.
While it is true that acne usually appears during puberty, this is not always the case. Many people, particularly women, don't develop acne until their twenties or thirties, and it can afflict both men and women well into their forties.
Myth #2: Acne is more common in girls.
Young women are more likely to see a dermatologist about their acne problems because, as a rule, they are more conscious of their appearance. However, acne affects both sexes equally. As a matter of fact, the severe cystic form of acne of the back is more common in men.
Myth #3: Acne is due to improper hygiene.
In reality, acne patients generally are more fastidious and conscientious about cleanliness than other teenagers. Blackheads, the primary hallmark of acne, do not result from dirt but from pigment (melanin) in the oil glands.
Myth #4: Masturbation causes or aggravates acne.
The only link between masturbation and acne is that both are often associated with adolescence. Moralists of the 19th century blamed many diseases on such "sinful" practices. The guilt surrounding masturbation in the minds of many teenagers probably perpetuates this timeworn myth.
Myth #5: Sexual intercourse will cure acne.
While this form of therapy sounds appealing, there is no evidence to document that it works. This belief probably stems from an old European myth that marriage cures acne. People often got married in their early twenties, about the same time that acne usually burns itself out.