Acne is one of the more unfortunate rites of passage most of us experienced once we hit puberty but one Twitter conspiracy theorist claims that teens didn’t actually have acne until the 21st century.
“I don’t think people suffered from acne until relatively recently as industrial seed oils became a prominent component of modern diets,” Juliana Lung wrote on Twitter. “If you look at images from the 80’s and 90’s, no one had acne.”
It’s hard to know where to even begin with this absolutely bonkers take, as it is so fundamentally wrong on every conceivable level. Obviously, plenty of teens had acne back in the ’80s and ’90s, and linking this baseless idea to promote some pseudoscientific claim is pure nonsense. Thankfully, people who were actually teens during the ’80s and ’90s happily pushed back against the idea that pimples magically started appearing in the 2000s.
LOL, do you mean the 1980s and 1990s, when we all had it and were using early versions of retinoic acid to treat acne? Good grief.
— KB Squared (@KBSquared4) July 13, 2021
Some people chose to point out the obvious: photos were a lot more expensive and rare before the digital age, making it a much bigger deal to keep acne out of photos.
This is bullshit. I was a teen in the 70s/80s; acne was *totally* ubiquitous.
(However, film was expensive and nobody wanted to immortalize their zits and plooks, hence 21st century kids hold batshit opinions like this due to the shortage of surviving photographs.) https://t.co/F7ILbf6O0E
— Charlie Stross (@cstross) July 14, 2021
Others simply noted that acne has been around long before the ’80s and ’90s and the idea that it is a recent phenomenon isn’t actually based in fact.
Acne is a medical condition and we have evidence including historical texts, paintings, and ancient treatments proving that it’s existed for thousands of years. https://t.co/4T9aZCrDSH
— Marina Watanabe 🌙✨ (@marinashutup) July 13, 2021
You are so right- I studied thousands of images from the 1600s & did not find a single person with disease. The truth is clear & obvious.
Cameras caused disease. We were all healthy, happy & frolicking. Everything changed when Camera Nation attacked.
Cameras are Pandoras Box
— Shiv Ramdas (@nameshiv) July 13, 2021
Ken Jennings even showed up to have a little fun mocking the idea of nobody having acne before Y2K.
luckily nobody who had acne in the 80s and 90s grew up to be the kind of person who would be on Twitter a lot in middle age
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) July 13, 2021
Lung eventually kind of conceded, admitting that she knows that Gen Xers experienced acne during puberty just like millennials and Gen Zers. But she continued to insist that it has gotten worse mainly due to our worsening diets. However, it’s worth noting that most research shows that diet has less of a connection to acne than many people believe. While studies indicate that there is a link between a high glycemic diet and exacerbated acne, the link has not been found to be very significant.
It would be one thing if Lung was just casually throwing out a half-baked thought on acne without really thinking it through but she seems to have a history of acting as an authority on topics while spewing out blatant misinformation. She has also repeatedly referred to the global pandemic as the “scamdemic” and has spoken out against the evils of toothpaste and wearing a cast.