Acne happens to the best of us. In fact, it happens to most of us; around 80 percent of people will have acne in their lifetimes. Still, it can be tempting to blame someone else when we see a few pimples pop up on our face.
The reality, though, is that acne is not contagious. Even if it seems like you’re breaking out due to your partner or sibling’s acne, for example, there’s a reason for it. But let’s begin by understanding what causes acne in the first place.
What Causes Acne?
Although there are virtually countless factors that can exacerbate and promote your acne, there are actually only three things that cause it.
The first is a type of bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) that’s present on nearly everyone’s face. This bacteria doesn’t become a problem until you run into the other two factors: clogged pores, and excess oil. Combined, these three troublemakers can lead to an eruption of pimples.
What Promotes Acne?
Spending time with or touching someone who has acne will not lead you to develop acne. However, there are plenty of other things that can. If you're eating a poor diet, or a diet heavy in dairy and sugar, acne can be the result.
If you’re stressed, using pore-clogging skincare products, have a hormone imbalance, or not washing your face right after sweating at the gym, that can also lead to a breakout. Even using the wrong hair products can lead to acne!
Essentially, anything that’s “off” or out of balance within your body, such as a vitamin or mineral deficiency or dehydration can cause pimples. Certain medications can lead to acne, and so too can some laundry detergents, fabric softeners and body lotions.
If you find that you have a new bout of acne, we recommend consulting with a skincare professional, not blaming your similarly-pimpled friend.
So Why Do I Get Acne After Spending Time with Certain People?
Despite all of the above, you may still be baffled as to why you always walk away from spending time with certain people--like a romantic partner--with some new zits.
There are a few explanations for what’s happening. The first is that what’s being transferred between you and this other person is not in fact acne, but a rash. Some rashes can look like acne, and are contagious. If you suspect this may be the case, it’s time to pay a visit to the doctor.
Another explanation: good old fashioned kissing! Sometimes, the friction caused by getting up close and personal with your significant other can irritate your skin and exacerbate acne. (But that doesn’t mean they’re actually passing acne onto you.)
Finally, if you’re spending a lot of time with someone, like a roommate or spouse, you may both have acne because you’re both using, consuming or doing something that promotes breakouts. For instance, you may be using the same irritating laundry detergent, pore-clogging shampoo, or eating the same greasy takeout at dinner.
It’s also important to note that acne doesn’t pop up immediately. It takes several days to form. So if you notice a new pimple the day after spending time with someone, chances are that they had nothing to do with it.
Other Acne Myths
Acne being contagious is just one of many myths that swirl around the skincare world. Here are a few others that are patently untrue:
If you have acne, your skin isn’t clean. Acne typically isn’t an issue of cleanliness, although it’s sometimes portrayed that way in the media or by ruthless kids on the playground. In fact, overwashing your face can actually promote dry skin and lead to more acne, so stick with a gentle cleanser, and don’t wash your face more than two times a day.
We’ve formulated B-Meltee , our wintergreen and vitamin B cleanser, to be gentle enough for daily use and perfect for acne-prone skin. It’s formulated to build your skin’s resistance to external irritants that can make acne worse and is chalk-full of soothing abyssinian oil, a balm for inflamed skin.
If you have acne, you shouldn’t moisturize your skin. Many of us were raised to believe that acne is always a problem of excess oil, and therefore you should dry your skin as much as possible. But often, the opposite is actually true! Dry skin can clog pores, leading to a crop of pimples.
Instead, you want to use a non-comedogenic (AKA non pore-clogging) moisturizer that gently nourishes your skin, without being too heavy. D.B.T. Baba Yaga hydrates skin without clogging pores, while providing a ceramide boost to fight the signs of aging.
Acne isn’t contagious, but it’s a great idea to share all of these acne-fighting tips with your loved ones! Be conscious of what you put on your body and inside of it and you’ll have smooth, glowing skin in no time. To get started on the right track, try our 4 Step Facial Set .