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Teens especially seem to ask this question. And this worry may keep them from getting too close to a friend with acne. Is it possible to catch acne from a friend?

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November 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm
(1) Dove says:

None of my sisters ever had acne, my mom and dad never had it as teenagers, and I never had it as a teenager. I always had perfect skin and never did anything special for it. Then at age 27 I let the ladies at the Bobby Brown counter put some blush on me, and the next day I had developed what the doctor called acne a week later. I thought it was a disease. It hurt. Because of this I am convinced that acne is indeed contagious and can be transmitted on makeup brushes.

March 29, 2009 at 2:48 am
(2) Kimberly says:


This is silly! Acne is not contagious, not at all.

What happened was, that makeup brush that they used on you probably wasn’t clean and they probably used it on many others before using it on you (Eww). That brush probably has been on the faces of some people who aren’t very hygenic, or have oily skin as well, which does not help!

Point is, that brush was probably covered with bacteria and nasties of all sorts from all of those faces! (Eww again). That bacteria got on your face and caused you to break out. That’s sort of a no brainer, really.

On the other hand, it could have been the blush too! Some cosmetics make people break out, and you could have been allergic too it as well.

Whatever the case, acne is NOT contagious. Bacteria is! Spreadable, that is.

December 15, 2009 at 11:41 am
(3) Jim says:

Ya Bacteria IS contagious! and ACNE is caused by Bacteria! I would not get close or touch anyone that has ACNE if you don’t want to get it too, because that bacteria they got on their skin will rub of on you and you will most likely form acne, it’s disgusting. I have a friend that made out with this girl that had acne and now he’s got acne too. Explain that!

December 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(4) acne says:

Sorry, Jim, but I have to disagree with you. Acne isn’t contagious at all.

For the record, human beings have bacteria over their entire bodies, inside and out. While some can be harmful, most are harmless or even helpful.

You can hug, kiss, and touch a person with acne, and you won’t develop acne yourself. You can’t “catch” acne. That’s a fact.

Acne is probably the most common skin condition, though. It’s estimated that 85% of the population (at the least) will have acne at some point in their lives. Nearly all teen boys will have some level of acne.

So, even though it seems like your friend caught acne from a kissing a girl, the truth is he would have developed acne even had he never met her.

Like my old college professor loved to say, “Correlation doesn’t prove causation.” A fancy way of saying just because two things happened at the same time doesn’t mean they are related.

Thanks for your comment, Jim.

February 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm
(5) :D says:

:Si hope not…

February 13, 2010 at 8:10 am
(6) Randy says:

Just thought I would add my 2 Cents worth here. I, since my Tweenager years have had Acne, there is different forms of Acne, I have many “Blackheads” on my face and I get relatively large and sometimes painful “boils” on parts of my body. I am now 45 years old and have learnt to accept my acne as part of me. Now for the Contagious part….. I have been twice in my lifetime, my first wife who I still talk to today, I have two children with, my second wife whom I am still married, is my soul mate and I look forward to many years of happiness with… My point in all of this is….. Of course I am intiment with my wife…. And guess what….Her skin is as silky smooth as the day I met her. I am sharing theses comments with you because I know what it was like as a teenager and people like Jim causing stress by outcasting anybody with Acne….I say this loud and clear to as many people as possible…… ACNE is NOT contagious…..People who have ACNE are NOT DIRTY. I know this message will not change everybodies mind on Acne but I just want to say…. Don`t let Acne stop you from getting to know somebody, you maybe missing out on connecting with your soul mate or a very good friend….
Thank you for letting me share this.
BTW to all the teenagers (and adults) who have Acne. The treatments they have today are far better then the ones they had when I was a kid….Don`t fall for the crap you see advertised on TV or the net….Go to a Dermatologist and talk to them. I personally have a happy life with Acne so there is no need for me to try and change that, if it bothers you, get it checked out and start a treatment.
Thanks again!!!!

April 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm
(7) debi says:

my son has acne. we have tried everything..at stores on tv, dermatologist..NOTHING WORKED..I went to Dillards and bought him a clarasonic (brush with a vibrating head)you can also get at your dermatologist..they are expensive i paid $200. but for the first time in 2 yrs his face is clear..

October 18, 2010 at 12:47 am
(8) Ant. says:

I have acne right now too. Once it was gone then suddenly it came back… After it came back I did some research. I went all over the internet. How to get rid of acne scars , how to get rid of acne , why do people get acne , and is it spreadable.
1. I learned that acne is a skin condition cause by oil and bacteria.
2. Do not pop acne or touch them with your oilly hands or it will get worsen.
3. Not cause by stress .

In my opinion I think acne maybe spreadable (Well not the acne but the oil and bacteria).
After my acne are gone I talked to my best friend (who have acne). The next day I have acne. It kept spreading and spreading. I think it is because people who take a shower everyday and wash their hands may have less acne than others. I am a very dirty person.

January 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm
(9) dave says:

7 mths ago my doc sent me to my local hospital for a battery of tests. now i wish i didnt go.
here’s my story.

I was feeling ill for a long time ( all symptoms were flu like and i was always under the weather. so i decided enough was enough and i had to do something and get better.

I explained to my doc and he reccomended i get over to immunology dept in the hospital. so i did.

while there, an indian doc was checking me out. she was nice and pleasant and i thought she was cute. anyways, while she left the room to talk to her professor , i was in the room and noticed a chart on the wall with 5 different levels of acne ( it had pictures of people with the different stages of acne ). and i remember thinking , ” thank god i dont have anything like that “.

Well guess what. now i do.
im 33 yrs old, i never had so much as a pimple in my life, and now my chest ( where she touched to check my heart ) is covered in acne and im scarred for life because of the lumps.
if you ask me, acne is contagious. but i have a feeling your defences must be weakened somewhat in order to catch it.

as i say, i wasnt in full physical condition when i visited immuno dept. but i was sent there for tests. to see what was wrong with me. and because my system was low, my body couldnt fight off infection properly, and it just spiralled from there.

while i do trust doctors, they cant always be 100% right. nature always finds a way and nothing is impossible. think about it, earth is filled with viruses and lifeforms. we are all living creatures. everything is transferrable if you ask me.

April 21, 2011 at 12:20 am
(10) Tanny says:

As Ance said

She/he is correct i and 14 yrs and i had some acne on my forehead but as he/she stated all you have to do is have good hygien

So once again wash you face daily with or without
A specified facial clenser

Oh and my brother has ance and my mom is a
Dermatologist and she cant really help him sadly

July 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm
(11) Amy Adinda says:

Killing the acne bacteria using antibiotics is a fruitless and destructive approach. Taking antibiotic is destructive because it upsets the natural balance of the P.acne in our body, eradicates the good probiotic bacteria and enables the intrusion of harmful bacteria to skin. Taking antibiotics is fruitless because constant intake of antibiotics will eventually cause the p.acne to become resistant to antibiotics. It is a fruitless approach also because it doesn’t stop the environment that caused the P.acne to multiply.

The only way to stop acne permanently is to neutralize the acne environment (when the bacteria multiplies and feeds on blood toxins and excessive production of oil). To stop acne, you must balance oil secretion and discharge your body from accumulated toxins and control the nutritional, hormonal, psychological and environmental triggers.

September 2, 2011 at 5:01 am
(12) M says:

Acne is definitely contageous. I’ve never had acne and then when I was with a girl who had it – I started to develop them little red blisters all over the place.

December 10, 2011 at 12:15 am
(13) Kit Kat says:

I think that acne is contagious. I was physical with my friend who has acne, and the next day, I started to get bumps on my chin and around my mouth, which are the parts that touched his face! I have been known to have a few hormonal bumps here or there on my forehead, but I have never had full fledged acne like on my chin or around my mouth. I’m currently treating it, and hopefully it’ll respond. I’m a very vain person, so I won’t be touching him anymore. Acne is so gross!

March 14, 2012 at 12:50 am
(14) Reese says:

I would have to say acne is very much so contagious. Ive been with my bf for18yrs& he has a very severe case of acne to where when it pops,puss comes out&has a unusual stench. I got xposed to it& no less than two days later I noticed a painful pimple on the side of my jaw that was so big&imflamed which looked exactly like his. Im convinced acne is contagious!

March 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm
(15) Anonymous says:

I got a question,

so if acne is not contagious, can you do this?
a person with acne, and a person without acne, then the clear faced person rub his face to that other person’s face, will that clear faced person go without any problem?

( i don’t think so…, even imagining it is making me feel somewhat..)

June 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(16) Casey says:

Acne is definitely contagious. I had always had clear skin until I went for beauty salon with a friend of mine who has acne. The beautician touched her face and then mine without washing her hands. Since then, I have acne. it has been more than one year but I still haven’t got rid of my acne problem. Acne keeps popping out from the spots that she dug before.

August 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm
(17) Lily says:

Wow, u people are just plain dumb. Acne is not contagious. My husband has severe acne for years and Im very intimate with him. Do I have acne? Nope, not a single pimple ever. You can’t get acne by touching someone who has it, that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard why would you even think that? You need to get your facts straight before you go telling other people that acne is contagious. It’s people like you that cause a tremendous amount of distress on people with acne because you won’t go near them or touch them like they have some sort of disease. So sad there’s people that think like this in this world

September 19, 2012 at 6:24 am
(18) Ogechukwu says:

Pls Ma, i’m about to marry the man I love who has severe acne bt my parents are scared of affecting our offsprings even if is not now, maybe in further. Advice me because i’m confused. which drugs and therapy could be given to him.

September 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm
(19) About.com Acne Guide says:

There are lots of treatments that can help improve severe acne. Some of the most common are:

oral antibiotics
topical retinoids
topical antibiotics
and isotretinoin

Severe acne should be treated by a physician.

As far as your parents being worried, it might help for them to understand that acne IS NOT contagious. Acne can’t be passed from person to person.

Acne can be hereditary, but just because your future husband has acne does not mean your future children will get it. The children you and your husband have may get acne, and they may not. (You could marry someone without acne, and your children could still have acne, so there’s really no way of knowing and no reason to worry either.)

Good luck to both you and your fiancee. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

September 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm
(20) Lily says:

Hey I am 21 and suffered with acne since the age of 13 although alot calmer now it is still apparent and I still do not feel comfortable in my own skin x I have been with my partner 6 years and we have a son which to be honest shows how intimate we are and he has never had a blemish his skin is perfect also I shower everyday and wash every morning but I just have high hormone levels which cause me to produce alot of oil so my skin never gets aired for those who say they have caught acne through kissing and touching that is not why you got acne you didn’t catch it you have simply excited your homones which would have released toxins causing a different reaction to your skin diet is a huge factor in my skin and rapidly changes my completion if I eat or drink anything high in sugar savelon is really working for me ATM aswell. My message was mainly to show the small minded people that acne is not contagious just your change in hormones cleanliness is a factor but not always as I said I am extremely clean and still suffer I just hope you realise how degrading some of your comments can be a think about what your saying as it may not even be your hormones playing up it could just be karma x

January 3, 2013 at 9:47 pm
(21) greg says:

posiibly the people who are describing their contagious “acne” is actually something else?

January 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm
(22) Vancouver bc says:

Anyone who so much as touches me soon becomes greasy skinned and pimple covered I hesitate to call it acne but whatever it is is definitely highly contagious, I have found a product that helped reduce the severity of the symptoms Selsum dandruff. Shampoo for tinea versicolor. This will not cure it but it has helped me. maybe people are suffering from different types of bacterial infections rather than actual acne. Dermatologists haven’t been able to treat me to date and will never agree that it is contagious though I have regrettably spread this condition to many formerly clear skinned friends. I contracted it from skin contact I’m positive.

January 26, 2013 at 2:50 am
(23) About.com Acne Guide says:

So sorry you’re having such a tough time! While acne isn’t contagious, there are many other skin conditions that cause pimple-like bumps that are mistaken for acne. I always suggest people see a dermatologist anytime they have something they can’t identify pop up on their skin.

It must be so discouraging to have seen a doctor without good results! Hopefully, you’ll find a treatment that really works for you.

Thanks so much for your comment.

March 23, 2013 at 4:28 am
(24) Jamie says:

Looks like everyone has had different experiences of contacting/not contacting acne. My theory is that, look, what if the acne causing bacteria can be transferred from one person to another? Those with clear skin and little oil/sebum production who comes into contact with this bacteria will not develop acne as their skin environment does not support the bacteria growth whereas someone with oily skin who comes into contact with such will be acne prone. In other words i’m wondering, if an oily person (like me) never carelessly touched someone else’s face, or just a random metal pole/door handle/ and directly touched my face, would my face have never come into contact with the bacteria? Would that mean I’d never have developed acne?

March 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm
(25) About.com Acne Guide says:

That’s an interesting theory, Jamie. I, too, like how everyone has different views on this subject.

There was study just published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology on this topic. In a nutshell, it found that everybody has P. acnes (the bacteria that’s implicated in acne breakouts) on their skin. Even people with clear skin have P. acnes bacteria.

The difference is the strain. People with acne tended to have different strains of the bacteria on their skin compared to those with clear skin. If you want more details, I wrote about this study on this blog post: Good Bacteria Could Protect the Skin Against Acne.

Because everyone, even those with clear skin, have this common bacteria on their skin the most widely accepted theory is that people with acne are more sensitive to this bacteria. Basically, their skin “doesn’t like” the bacteria and react to it by breaking out.

Interesting, right?

Thanks a bunch for your post!

April 29, 2013 at 2:00 am
(26) joanne says:

Acne is contagious but only if you have acne prone skin in the first place.

June 21, 2013 at 5:16 am
(27) Josue says:

I am 19 years old I had acne for 3 years &no it is not contagious! I tried everything like seriously everything possibly! I I learnt that simply as washing your face day &night with a regular soap cured it

July 11, 2013 at 2:09 am
(28) Sofia says:

Acne ‘Is’ contagious, I know for a fact…My teenage granddaughter has it now, and 4 to 5 days ago we hugged cheek to cheek and I ended up with acne!..I used to get acne right before I had my menstruation, as a teenager, then it would go away right after the menses would go away..the acne comes and goes each month, also, something normal teenage girls go through! Again, it is contagious!!

August 1, 2013 at 5:10 am
(29) sam says:

my boyfriend has cystic acne and I am wondering if that is contagious as well?

August 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm
(30) About.com Acne Guide says:

Don’t worry, acne isn’t contagious. You can hug, kiss, touch a person with acne and not get acne yourself. Acne isn’t something you can catch.

But cystic acne can cause serious scarring, so if your boyfriend isn’t already seeing a dermatologist, I would encourage him to do so.

Thanks for your comment!

August 19, 2013 at 11:23 am
(31) Miranda says:

I have a friend of mine that had acne, We’ve been sharing Facial soap after eating lunch time. I started sharing and borrowing her own facial soap just 2 weeks ago. My face starting to glow and smooth but the problem is every night my face is starting irritate.
I just wonder if there is possibility that i will have Acne?

August 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm
(32) About.com Acne Guide says:

Hi Miranda,

You don’t have to worry — acne is not contagious. That means you can’t get acne by sharing facial cleansers, soaps, or towels with someone who has acne.

If your skin is becoming irritated, I’d think it’s probably the soap itself that’s causing it, especially if the soap is made for acne-prone skin. Acne soaps can be drying and irritating.

Since you like the glow this soap is giving your skin, try using it just a few times a week instead of every day. Use a gentle cleanser on the off days.

But don’t worry, you can’t catch acne.

Thanks for your comment!

~ Angela

November 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm
(33) bryce says:

If you have acne as an adult try taking dairy out of your diet…worked for me…also alchahol is bad for acne and all drugs are bad

April 11, 2014 at 10:40 pm
(34) Kiki says:

You’re kidding me, right?! Acne isn’t contagious. I’m 25, have had acne for 10 years. I have tried everything. The next steps are lazer treatments at $120 a pop, and checking hormone levels.

I get having your opinion and thinking it’s gross, because sometimes it is. But I’ll assure you I’m very clean. I shower 1-2 times a day (2 if I work). The fact that people think acne is contagious and freak out, but don’t use condoms or know how that works is beyond me. People need to educate themselves.

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