Have you ever noticed breakouts on your forehead after wearing a headband? Or how your backside becomes covered in pimples after a long day of hiking with a backpack?

Although you might blame these breakouts on sweat and bacteria, it’s more complicated than that. In both instances, your breakouts are likely caused by acne mechanica.

What is acne mechanica and how can you prevent it? Here is what men need to know:

  • Acne mechanica is a form of acne that is caused by heat, pressure and friction on the skin.
  • Men who wear sports equipment, tight clothing and backpacks are prone to acne mechanica.
  • Acne mechanica can be treated and prevented with a few simple changes to your routine.

Acne Mechanica Explained

While we still don’t know the exact cause of acne, we do know that it occurs when excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells clog the hair follicle. Acne mechanica refers specifically to acne that is caused by excess heat, pressure and rubbing of the skin.

Acne mechanica can be caused by backpacks, chin straps from helmets, shoulder pads and tight-fitting clothing. These items can rub repeatedly against the skin, creating friction and heat.

This friction and heat open up your pores, making them more likely to become clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells. Blocked hair follicles can then become inflamed, resulting in red, angry pimples at the site of the friction.

young male cyclist

Who Is Affected by Acne Mechanica?

Acne mechanica is more likely to affect acne-prone individuals, athletes and soldiers. Men may be affected by acne mechanica more than women, given our biological differences.

For example, men produce more oil and have bigger pores than women do, which makes men prone to clogged pores and breakouts caused by friction and heat.

Men also produce more sweat per gland (see claim: “We conclude that physical training enhances…”) than women do. While sweat does not directly cause acne, it can lead to an increased buildup of bacteria and result in blocked pores.

Teenagers and young adults who suffer from hormonal acne are also likely to experience acne mechanica. This is often due to their higher sebum production caused by hormone fluctuations, as well as wearing backpacks that cause friction and heat.

How to Treat Acne Mechanica

Like any form of acne, there is no cure for acne mechanica. However, there are ways to reduce your chances of breakouts caused by heat and friction.

  • Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing. As much as you want to show off your muscles with a tight-fitting shirt, this may be causing you to break out in acne. Wear clothing that gives your skin room to breathe instead.
  • Use Products with Salicylic Acid. This powerful ingredient is an acne-fighting machine. Not only is salicylic acid gentle on the skin, it’s also an excellent chemical exfoliant which can penetrate deep into the pores of a man’s skin to eliminate bacteria-causing acne.
  • Choose breathable fabrics. The combination of sweat and certain fabrics can be a nightmare for your skin. Avoid fabrics such as polyester and rayon (which can trap heat and sweat in your skin) and choose breathable fabrics such as cotton instead.

Alright, what if you’ve followed the tips above and you still get acne mechanica? No fear, gentlemen—there are other ways to help.

A powerful acne treatment system for men can step up your skin care game and eliminate stubborn blemishes. Because men have different skin than women do, they need an acne treatment system formulated specifically for their skin.

Tiege Hanley’s Acne Systems for men use cutting-edge ingredients such as Salicylic Acid and Plantain Extract to penetrate and heal the skin. We’ve also made our acne system for men super simple because we know that guys want skin care to be easy.

Keep Acne Mechanica at Bay with a Regular Skin Care Regimen

Not wearing backpacks and helmets simply isn’t a practical solution to treating acne mechanica. If you’re struggling with breakouts caused by heat, pressure and friction, the best treatment is preventing acne in the first place.

A daily skin care regimen for men can help reduce acne mechanica and even eliminate it entirely. By keeping your skin clean and moisturized daily, you’re well on your way to achieving amazing-looking skin.