Do Towels Cause Acne?

Do Towels Cause Acne?

Towels Can Cause Acne

Reuse your towel?


According to a survey by Business Insider in 2019, about 20% of people wash their towel after 1 or 2 uses, leaving 80% of others using it 3 or more uses before washing it.

That leaves about 260 million people across the U.S. exceeding guidance.

 That doesn’t mean that a 1 use towel doesn’t have bacteria on it however, as pointed out by CBS in an “Inside Edition” story a couple of years back, studies have shown that in 24-hours, a towel could harbor 260,000 microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi etc.) This could be fecal bacteria or MRSA, as well as E.coli.


What does this cause?

According to several dermatologists; the experts on skin, the things that harbor on our towels can often cause acne flares or acne spread, as well as being a potential initial causer of the issue. As shown by MD Acne, acne effects over 50 million people around America every year and is most common in 18-26 year old’s. As pointed out by the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of American’s have had acne at some point in their lives.

This is a quote by esteemed dermatologist Sejal Shah to Byrdie: "Bacteria, fungus, dead skin cells, oils and other debris can collect on the towel," ...which can become the culprit of skin "infections, acne flares, and irritation.". As she points out, dead skin cells and oils get caught among fabric polymers on a towel. For context here, talks about how we have 19 million skin cells and 650 sweat glands on every inch of our bodies, so there is a lot of potential here for contamination. If bacteria can live on our skin, it can also live on our dead skin too that is stuck in the yarns. MRSA can live for 9 weeks on a towel and multiple months on our dead skin, it can even survive for 7 months on dust as Millersville University says, this dust flies around our bathroom’s. Once certain bacteria gets into our pores it can cause acne.


How does it get there?

  • We do not wash 100% perfectly that is for sure. This 2020 article by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital shows how only 5% of people wash their hands properly, which will likely cause contamination.


What solutions are out there?

  • Epiphany Towel Spray – a liquid antimicrobial built to not only be easy to use and effective at removing those harmful things, it smells good and is super affordable. It is quiet and looks great in your bathroom. It can hang right next to your towel so you remember to spray it down while drying towels 150 times faster, including tightening those fabric yarns so the towel feels fresher. People love this spray because it makes you feel great when using a nice-smelling towel. Don’t worry, the formula is built to break off and not remain on a towel. Check it out here – com
  • Separate face paper towels - For women, to take their make-up off with so they don’t have to keep reusing the same dirty towel. This is starting to gain traction through education online.
  • Washing more frequently – this is an option... but not recommended, if you care about the environment, laundry releases 5.6lbs of emissions into the air we breathe and 250,000 microplastics into the water we drink and could be a cause of the diseases we develop. Laundry costs $1.27 per load on average and increased amounts will definitely hit your wallet, laundry costs have risen over $30 in the last 10-years. Lastly, do you want more laundry to fold? I know most people we spoke to didn’t, they pointed towards that being the biggest deterrent for them when deciding whether to use their towel more. We would always advise you to follow expert guidance of using your towel no more than 3 times but if you can have a cleaner towel on that 2nd or 3rd use or even if you can’t do laundry that week and use it 4, 5, 6 times, there is a product to help you.


Article Sources:

Business Insider -

CBS Inside Edition -

MD Acne -

American Academy of Dermatology -,to%2050%20million%20Americans%20annually.&text=Acne%20usually%20begins%20in%20puberty,experience%20at%20least%20minor%20acne.

Byrdie - -

Millersville University -

Comanche County Memorial Hospital - 


House Digest - 

TIME Magazine -

Bathroom City -,even%20been%20found%20on%20toothbrushes!

University of Arizona -

American Society for Microbiology -

The Guardian -

Sierra Club -

2U Laundry -,laundry%20costs%20%24528.32%20per%20year.

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