Acne Mechanica

Acne mechanica is a form of acne common among people who play sports, students and soldiers in hot climates. It is triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction or rubbing of the skin. It can also occur anywhere on the face or body. Those who are already prone to body acne are more likely to develop this type of acne.

Not everybody gets acne-mechanica. Those who have a tendency to develop body acne may get it. Those with very small comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) may get it. When these small comedones are subjected to mechanical pressure and friction, they may flare up.

Causes of acne mechanica

Four major causes

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are four major factors that lead to the formation of A. mechanica:

  1. Heat
  2. Covered skin
  3. Constant pressure
  4. Repetitive friction against the skin

Sports-related causes 

  • Helmets and helmet straps, especially those worn by football and hockey players and motorcycle riders
  • Shoulder pads and straps worn by football players
  • Tight uniforms made of synthetic fabric
  • Tight headbands worn by soccer players and runners
  • Straps and packs on backpacks

Other common causes

  • Straps used by soldiers for weapons and equipment
  • Headbands worn for long periods of time
  • Musical instruments, such as the violin, tucked against the neck for hours
  • Tight fur caps worn for long periods of time
  • Tight clothing, such as jeans and underwear made of synthetic fabric
  • Snug bra straps
  • Adhesive tape that remains on the skin for several days (occasionally)


Preventive measures that may help prevent acne-mechanica include:

  • Wear a clean cotton shirt under a sports uniform. Cotton absorbs perspiration and reduces friction against the skin from the uniform.
  • Shower immediately after any sport activities. Wash the chest, back and buttocks and areas that were under straps, padding or tight uniform. Liquid cleansers containing salicylic acid are useful for removing surface oils and unclogging pores.
  • Avoid covering the forehead with a headband or cap for prolonged periods


Acne-mechanica responds well to simple topical treatments and acne medication that contain the ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Although it is not always possible, another effective method is to eliminate the cause of acne-mechanica. A professional violinist cannot stop playing the violin. Soldiers cannot stop carrying packs and weapon straps. Therefore, a dermatologist may be able to suggest other effective treatment.

See your doctor if you are unable to controlling acne mechanica using over-the-counter treatments.

› Acne Mechanica


comedones, whiteheads, blackheads, salicylic acid , topical treatments, benzoyl peroxide

Irresistible Acne Remedies. This free newsletter is delivered monthly, straight to your INBOX. It covers all new pages since the last issue. Sign up here...

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Irresistible Acne Remedies Newsletter.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.