Acne and touching your face

For the average American kid — you know the one: has caring parents, lives in a nice place, with no wants or needs — acne is likely to be the first event that can not be easily controlled to their satisfaction.

It’s God’s way of saying, “Look, there are going to be things in your life that you just have to make the best of. Get used to it. You can practice on acne.”

And like most things in life, there are lots of people willing to give advice — but too few interested enough to do the hard work of proving validity. For example, almost every article and website on acne treatment includes the caveat to avoid touching your face. Whenever you read this you will know that the author was probably more interested in writing the article than making sound, well documented recommendations. has a related discussion with recommendations on face touching, and lists other recommendations. I like the brown bag approach best. The duct tape one is also good.

But seriously, folks, as logical as it may seem, there are no published clinical studies showing improvement in acne by not touching or rubbing your face during the course of the day. Furthermore, reputable medical sites here, here, and here don’t make this recommendation.

7/21/06 14:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.