Acne 101 - for Massage Therapists, Spa & Salon Service Providers

Acne 101 - for Massage Therapists, Spa & Salon Service Providers

Author: Selena Belisle, Founder/Instructor, CE Institute LLC, Miami FL

Acne is a noncontagious skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Blockages, inflammation, and infection can develop deep inside the skin and produce a cyst-like lump within the skin. 

Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin.  In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease requiring medical attention.[i] 

It is important to note that some instructors teach different “grades” of acne (i.e. Grade I, Grade II, Grade III & Grade IV – or another system).  However, the American Academy of Dermatology states that “…there is no universally agreed upon grading system, and systems can differ greatly between studies…”[ii]

Massage therapists, salon & spa service providers should never work on or over broken skin.  That means that service or touch should be avoided over facial or body areas that have severe acne break-out.  Not only is the skin broken but there could be significant infection as well. 

If your client is concerned about severe acne, refer them to a dermatologist or physician for proper medical care.  For estheticians, facial specialists and those licensed to work with skin conditions, you may be able to help a client with acne with proper skin care acne treatment product(s) and regimen.


To learn more, please register for quality, affordable, professional training at:


Author Selena Belisle is the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL.  She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage therapy for over 30 years.  Selena is an approved CE Provider with NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Massage.  She now teaches full time for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at

[i] Mayo Clinic Staff. “Acne.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 31 Oct. 2017,

[ii] “Practice Management Center.” Systems for the Grading and Classification of Acne: Recommendations | American Academy of Dermatology, Retrieved on: 25 Apr. 2018,

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