Feline Acne

Feline acne is probably one of the most common skin disease in cats. The disease is maked by infection of hair follicles and the appearance of blackheds and/or pustules on the chins. There are numerous oil glands in this area and oil and dirt may accumulate and, if not treated, the disease can progress and cause deep skin infection. Although the exact cause of this disorder remains unknown, many experts think it is due to the cat's inability to adequately groom this area. Lazy chin cleaners seem to get the infection more often.

Treatment of this infection consists of clipping the hair away from the chin and scrubbing the chin daily with a mild antibacterial solution containing benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine. Avoid contact with the eyes and mouth. Apply daily for 3 days only. These products remove the excess oil, clean the skin surface, and decrease the bacteria on the skin. In severe instances, antibiotics may be required to completely clear up the infection. If undue skin irritation, flakes or dryness develops, discontinue using the ointment and consult your veterinarian.

Any at-home treatment such as antibacterial creams should be first approved by your veterinarian. Avoid those preparations containg hydrocortisone or other steroid compounds. In cases where the infection is spreading or not responding to topical medication, oral antibiotics may be required. Some experts recommend to wash daily with Phisohex or Phisoderm and rinse thoroughtly.

Feline acne, if treated properly, can heal in a week or two. Unfortunately, the condition recurs, but cleaning the chin daily might prevent the recurrence. A scraping for demodex mites and fungus culture will be done in unresponsive cats.


  1. Feline pyoderma therapy. Wildermuth BE, Griffin CE, Rosenkrantz WS.
  2. The Complete Home Veterinary Guide. Chris C. Pinney
  3. The Cat Care Book. Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld

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