Image Source: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba
After a necessary amount of time as a single lady who can cuddle her own damn self, thank you very much, I emerged from the other side of a cuffing dry spell. While I have relished the fact that I no longer have to spoon solely with my roommate (a fuzzy but slightly smelly Havanese pup named Junior) anymore, I grew concerned during one morning-after brunch, when a friend mentioned to me that cuddling causes body acne.
I wasn't sure if that was entirely true. This friend is not a doctor (though she is an actress, so perhaps someday she'll play one on TV). But her hypothesis seemed rooted in logic: cuddling produces body heat (bow chicka wow wow), which might lead to body acne in the same way working out does.
I still wanted a pro's opinion, so I reached out to Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn. She schooled me on the correlation between one of my favorite things — cozying on up to a boo thang — with one of my least favorite things — bacne, duh.
The answer isn't as cut and dried as I'd hoped it would be. "If your SO is colonized with staphylococcus aureus [staph], it has the potential to be transferred via skin-to-skin contact," Dr. Greenfield told me. This germ is responsible for a plethora of health issues ranging from mundane (pimples) to potentially deadly (pneumonia).
Around 30 percent of the population carries staph, which is the culprit for skin conditions such as cellulitis, boils, and abscesses. "Staph has the potential to be transferred via skin-to-skin contact," Dr. Greenfield said. "It can cause folliculitis, or inflamed hair follicles, on the body." The effects of that can look similar to body acne.
"It's a great idea to keep your skin moist before bed."
OK, cool. So how do you stop it? According to Dr. Greenfield, "100 percent cotton bed sheets are a good idea, but that probably won't stop breakouts." Neither will moisturizer, but that doesn't mean you should skip the hydration. "It's a great idea to keep your skin moist before bed, because moist skin is healthy skin and it will protect against other diseases like eczema," Dr. Greenfield said.
Bad news for any naked cuddlers: Dr. Greenfield suggests wearing pajamas and avoiding skin-to-skin contact to keep your skin looking buff and clear. "If you have body breakouts, you probably need a treatment regimen that includes medicated creams or body washes from your dermatologist," Dr. Greenfield told me. "You can get clindamycin lotions and benzoyl peroxide washes that can help."
Dr. Greenfield left me with some words that are just as cozy as 1,000-thread-count sheets: "Stress is thought to be a contributing factor to acne breakouts. Since cuddling can help ease emotional stress, it may actually help acne." So go get spooning, you crazy kids!