Massage Therapy & Bodywork Local Contraindication: Acne

Massage Therapy & Bodywork Local Contraindication: Acne

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 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 and prone to infection, but there could be underlying medical condition as well.  Refer a client (with severe acne) to a dermatologist or physician for proper medical care.

To learn more, please register for training at:

#massage #massagetherapy #massageprecautions #massagecontraindication. 

[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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