Unsplash / Toa Heftiba
After a necessary amount of time as a single lady who can cuddle her 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 one morning-after brunch, when a friend mentioned to be 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 Brooklyn's Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn. She schooled me on the correlation between one my favourite things — cosying on up to a boo thang — with one of my least favourite things — bacne, duh.
The answer isn't as cut-and-dry as I hoped it would be. "If your S.O. is colonised 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 like 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 moisturiser, 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 pyjamas 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 cosy 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!