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Can You Get Acne from Glasses? Here Are the Facts

Pixie Tan

Written By:

Pixie Tan

Updated: 22 June 2024 •  
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At first glance, the topics of skincare and glasses might not seem like they have much in common. That is – unless your glasses are potentially causing acne breakouts!
When you think about it, glasses are one of the few objects that stay in contact with our faces for long periods of time – and often for years and years. When not cleaned properly, they can naturally cause skin problems for some of us.
If you suspect that your glasses may be the culprit behind your acne, you’re at the right place to find some answers.

Why do my glasses cause acne?

More often than not, glasses-related acne is a result of unclean glasses.
Think of it this way – our glasses are accessories that we wear on our face, often from morning to night. We all know that touching our faces with dirty hands, even if it’s just for a moment, can worsen acne through the spreading of germs and dust. So you can imagine what your glasses can do when it’s been in contact with not only your hands, but also countless grimy tabletops and other unsavory places.
According to dermatologists, dirty eyewear can cause acne because they put pressure on your skin, which blocks skin cells from shedding as they normally would. This in turn, leads to clogged pores, which can trigger topical acne outbreaks. Other factors that can exacerbate the problem include having oily skin or wearing thick make-up.
Don’t start panicking yet though! There are simple solutions to all of these problems, all of which start with cleaning your glasses.
In rarer cases, glasses-related acne can also be a result of being allergic to the material of your eyewear, or simply from the physical pressure of heavy glasses rubbing your skin. In cases like these, you might want to look into lightweight spectacles or seek out glasses made from different materials. Some glasses are constructed from hypoallergenic materials such as titanium.

How to know if it’s actually acne

Before that however, it’s important to first identify if what you have is actually acne, and also if it’s caused by your glasses or by other factors.

Types of acne you should know about

Acne can come in all sorts of shapes and forms, and some of the most common are:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • and many more

Identifying the kind of acne you have can help you find out how they were caused as well as any specific cures that could help get rid of them. You might also experience a mix between different types of acne, with different severities for each kind.
It’s important to note that having dirty glasses may cause different kinds of acne for different individuals. In the cases of severe acne, it’s always best to find out more information on acne in general, as well as to see a dermatologist for specialized care.

Is your acne caused by your glasses?

One of the best ways to figure that out is to take notice of where your acne appears. If the main spots where your skin problems show up are along your nose bridge, near your temples, or anywhere else that your glasses might have contact with, it’s a definite tell-tale sign of your glasses being a cause.
Depending on the shape and size of your glasses, you might also find acne along your eyebrows or your cheeks as well, so do also pay attention to those areas as well!
Another sign to note is the timing of when the acne appears. If you’ve never had a problem with acne prior to getting glasses but suddenly do after you started, or switched to a new pair, that’s also a good indicator that your glasses might have something to do with it.

5 tips to prevent glasses-related acne

Fortunately, glasses-related acne is easily solvable and preventable – and here are some of the most effective ways to do so:
cleaning a pair of black glasses frame with cleaning spray

1. Clean your glasses – frequently!

Unsurprisingly, our first tip is to clean your glasses on a regular basis. Which leads to the question – how?
Well, just as you would with your phone or any other object, you could do so with some homemade cleaning spray, or even simply with some plain old soap and water. Gently wipe all areas of your spectacles, but do pay special attention to the spots that meet your skin, such as the nose pads and stems of the glasses. Check out our guide on homemade cleaning spray for more details.
It’s recommended to clean your glasses at least once a day. A good way of incorporating it into your daily life would be to turn it into a part of your nightly or morning routines.

2. Make sure your glasses actually fit you

By ensuring that your glasses are a good fit for you, you decrease the chances of needing to constantly adjust them – which in turn can greatly decrease the chances of getting glasses-related acne.
To check if your glasses are suitable for your head size, do take notice of whether they might seem too loose or tight for any part of your face. Throughout the day, you could also make notes of how often you push your glasses up or adjust the stems.
In the event that your glasses turn out to need adjustments, you could always bring them back to your optometrist to have them professionally adjusted.

3. Treat your existing acne…

Unfortunately, here is no magical cure-all for acne.
However, there are a multitude of ways and methods one can use to try and treat their acne, of which includes acne patches, treatments and medications, as well as face washes. As a start, it’s always good to try out over-the-counter products containing common acne-clearing ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl-peroxide.
If these don’t work, it might be worth having your acne checked out by a professional.

4. …And prevent it from ever coming back

Of course, this is easier said than done – the occasional pimples or breakout are often impossible to completely prevent.
That said, there are preventive measures one can take to arm themselves against acne, and this involves finding a good skincare routine for their skin type.
Beyond making sure your skin is fully clean from make-up or any other irritants, simply using one or two products such as moisturizers and serums is often already enough to boost your general skin health, making it just that much more difficult for acne to take root in your skin.

5. Take breaks from wearing glasses

Last but not least, do take your glasses off every once in a while to give your skin a rest or some time to heal. During times when you might not need your glasses, such as when you’re making a phone call or listening to music, it might be beneficial to set your glasses aside for a short while before wearing them again to face the rest of your day.

But wait, what about sunglasses?

Well, much like glasses, sunglasses may also cause acne when left uncleaned.
However, there are a few extra things to look out for when wearing sunglasses. Among these would be a general tendency to keep one’s sunglasses on the top of one’s head when not in use. In this case, sunglasses wearers might also find acne along the top of their foreheads in addition to other spots that glasses-related acne might show up.
Like glasses, cleaning your sunglasses on the daily can also prevent sunglasses-related acne. This is especially important if you’re applying heavy duty sunblock on your face – for example, after a sunny day at the beach.

When to check with a dermatologist

If over-the-counter prescriptions don’t work, or if you have any specific questions about your skin problems, visiting a dermatologist can put all your questions and concerns to rest. Often, a dermatologist can conduct an inspection of your skin and prescribe a treatment that could be more effective for solving the specific issues you’re facing.
In many cases however, a trip to the dermatologist can be easily avoided by cleaning your glasses on a daily basis.
P/S: If you’re looking for more ways to take care of your eyeglasses, here’s an article that you might want to read!

Pixie Tan

Written by:

Pixie Tan

Pixie is a freelance writer who's spent more of her life writing than not. She's written for a range of industries like travel and entertainment.