The resilient belief that our superior past lifestyles prevented acne from forming comes out of the same magical historical thinking that inspires dangerous nonsense like raw water and skipping vaccines.

At a time when things like the Black Death and smallpox had yet to be cornered into CDC labs, doctors and patients were very interested in treating acne — even when they realized it didn’t pose a threat to one’s health.

By the 18th century, a modern perspective on acne had emerged.