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Is Acne Contagious? (Facts You Need to Know)

When talking about skin conditions, acne is one term that invariably pops up. These persistent little bumps have been the bane of teenagers and adults alike.

The question on everyone's mind, especially those with clear skin who mingle with acne-prone individuals, is, "Is acne contagious? Can I catch acne like a common cold?" This article aims to answer this question and shed light on the nature of acne, its causes, and the role of bacteria in its formation.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Contrary to popular belief, Acne is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another, despite being a bacterial-related condition.
  • Acne development is multifaceted, with causes ranging from excess oil and dead skin cells to hormonal changes and certain medications, but it cannot be caught from someone else.
  • Numerous myths about acne, such as its contagiousness and the effectiveness of constant face washing, need debunking to understand better and manage the condition.
  • Exposed Skin Care products offer a comprehensive, gentle, yet effective approach to managing acne, helping to treat and prevent the condition while maintaining skin health.

Man looking at mirror worried about acne

Understanding Acne: More than Just a Pimple

A pimple here and there is often casually referred to as acne, but there's more to this skin condition than that. Acne, clinically known as acne vulgaris, is a skin condition characterized by blackheads, whiteheads, and various kinds of pimples. They commonly appear on the face, neck, chest, upper back, and shoulders.

The root of the problem lies in the follicles, the tiny sacs within the skin where hair originates. Sebaceous glands attached to these follicles produce an oily substance called sebum. The problem arises when the hair follicle gets clogged by dead skin cells and excess oil.

This results in a plug of dead skin cells and sebum. If this plug reaches the skin's surface and is exposed to the air, it darkens, forming a blackhead. When it remains underneath the skin's surface, it forms a whitehead.

Further complications arise when bacteria, specifically Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), become involved. This is where we venture into whether acne is contagious or not.

Is Acne Contagious? The Role of Bacteria in Acne

P. acnes is a type of bacteria that thrives in the anaerobic environment of a blocked pore. It feeds on sebum, grows, and multiplies within the follicle. In response, our body’s immune system swings into action, leading to redness, inflammation, and the formation of pus-filled lesions - the classic inflammatory acne that everyone dreads. But is acne contagious?

The simple answer is: No. Despite the involvement of bacteria, acne isn't a contagious skin condition. While P. acnes is present on virtually all skin - both acne-prone and clear - it doesn't cause acne in everyone. Therefore, you can't catch acne from being close and personal with someone with acne.

Women lying down face to face

The Real Culprits: What Causes Acne?

Acne isn't as simple as one factor causing all the issues. It's a multifaceted skin disorder with multiple contributing elements, and no, you can't pass it from one person to another like the flu. Here are the real villains involved in causing acne:

Excess Oil and Dead Skin Cells

Excess sebum production can lead to oily skin, which can clog the pores when combined with dead skin cells. This situation sets the stage for acne.

Hormonal Changes

Androgens, a hormone that increases during puberty, cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. This is why teenagers often experience a sudden onslaught of acne. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives can also contribute to acne.

Certain Medications

Some medications, such as corticosteroids or lithium, can lead to acne breakouts.


Although stress doesn't directly cause acne, it can worsen the condition in people with it.


Certain dietary factors, such as carbohydrate-rich foods — bread, bagels, and chips — may worsen acne. Chocolate has long been suspected of worsening acne, but evidence-based research does not support this.

Close up of person eating bread

Despite these factors, remember that acne isn't contagious - you can't catch acne from someone else.

Acne Myths Debunked

There's no shortage of misconceptions when it comes to acne. Let's debunk some of them:

Myth 1: Acne Is Contagious

As this article has reiterated, acne is not contagious. It's caused by a combination of hormonal changes, bacteria, excess oil, and clogged pores. You cannot catch acne from someone who has it.

Myth 2: Washing Your Face Frequently Can Prevent Acne

While keeping your skin clean is essential, washing too often can irritate it and lead to more breakouts. It's recommended to wash your face twice daily and after sweating.

Myth 3: Popping Pimples Helps Them Go Away Faster

Popping pimples can push infected material further into the skin, leading to more swelling, redness, and even scarring.

Teenager popping her pimples

Myth 4: Only Teenagers Get Acne

Although acne is most common in teenagers, it can occur at any age. Many adults continue to get acne well into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s.

Acne Treatments: Finding Your Path to Clear Skin

Although acne isn't contagious, managing the condition is essential to prevent the development of acne scars and improve skin health. Over-the-counter treatments usually contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur that can help control mild acne.

Treatments for moderate to severe acne may involve topical medications like tretinoin or antibiotic lotions that target excess oil and bacteria, respectively. These treatments often take time and require a consistent application to see results.

Non-comedogenic skincare products can help manage acne-prone skin. These are products designed not to clog pores and include cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup.

The Benefits of Exposed Skin Care in Managing Acne

One effective solution for acne is using Exposed Skin Care products. This acne treatment plan treats acne without causing redness and inflammation typically associated with potent acne-fighting treatments.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Here are some benefits:

  • Comprehensive Skin Care: It includes components that target different acne causes, from removing dead skin cells and oil to killing bacteria.
  • Gentle Yet Effective: Exposed Skin Care products are known to be generally harmless yet effective. They can help manage acne without irritating the skin.
  • Preventive Approach: Regular use of these products can also help prevent developing acne, reinforcing that acne is not contagious but rather a condition that needs proper care.

Remember, while you can't catch acne from another skin, you can certainly take steps to manage your skin condition. No product can substitute for good skincare habits. Therefore, consistent skin care is crucial to any acne treatment strategy.

Using products like Exposed Skin Care can assist in your journey towards healthier skin, but always consult with a healthcare provider to tailor the right regimen for your skin needs.


Navigating the topic of acne, a common yet misunderstood skin condition, can seem daunting. But knowing the facts can simplify the journey and help in successful management. The key takeaway from this comprehensive analysis is that acne is not contagious.

The misconception that one can 'catch' acne from another person is far from reality. Instead, acne's actual culprits lie within factors like hormonal changes, excess oil production, and the presence of certain bacteria.

Busting the myths around acne further strengthens our understanding, emphasizing that strategies like overwashing or pimple popping can often do more harm than good. Instead, consistent and suitable skincare practices, like those offered by Exposed Skin Care, play a crucial role.

Their products offer a well-rounded, gentle, and effective approach to treating and preventing acne, underlining that the fight against acne is a matter of diligent skincare and understanding, not a contagious battle to be won. Armed with these insights, one can more confidently and effectively navigate the path to clearer, healthier skin.


Is Acne Contagious?

No, acne is not contagious. You cannot catch acne from someone who has acne.

What Causes Acne?

Several factors can cause acne, including excess oil production, pore-clogging dead skin cells, bacteria, and hormonal changes.

Can Acne Be Cured?

While acne isn't cured, it can be managed with appropriate treatments and skincare practices.

Can You Get Acne From Sharing Makeup or Brushes?

Yes, sharing makeup or brushes can introduce bacteria to your skin and potentially cause breakouts. However, this does not mean that acne is contagious.