Ever noticed breakouts on your neck and shoulders after a long day of hiking with a backpack or wearing football or hockey pads? How about on your forehead after wearing a headband during a marathon or along your chin after wearing your bike helmet all day?
Often these types of breakouts are attributed to sweat, bacteria or unsanitary conditions of your gear. But while these can often be contributing factors – many of these types of breakouts can actually be attributed to a little known skin ailment called Acne Mechanica.
What is Acne Mechanica and what can you do to prevent it?
Acne Mechanica is caused by a combination of factors: heat, pressure, and friction. Individuals who wear sports equipment, tight clothing and backpacks are prone to Acne Mechanica along the forehead, chin, inner thighs, shoulders & neck.
Acne Mechanica Explained
Acne Mechanica is a type of acne that is caused by excessive heat, pressure, and rubbing of the skin, or when the skin isn’t exposed to the air. Sweaty, constantly rubbed skin can quickly break out in a bothersome rash that’s really acne.
Acne Mechanica can be caused by backpacks, chin straps from helmets, shoulder pads and tight-fitting clothing. These items, when used during physical activity, rub repeatedly against the skin, creating friction and heat. These combine to form a trifecta of skin-irritating issues resulting in the tiny papules and bumps that are described as Acne Mechanica.
Who Is Affected by Acne Mechanica?
It is often found on physically active individuals, athletes, and individuals who are required to wear large or physically constricting uniforms like firefighters or those in the military. Individuals prone to other types of acne are largely more at risk for Acne Mechanica but it can show up on anyone when the combined factors that cause it come into play. Acne Mechanica is also known to present itself in teenagers and young adults who suffer from hormonal acne. In teenagers. this is caused largely by higher sebum production caused by hormone fluctuations, as well as wearing backpacks and sports equipment that contribute to friction and heat.
How to Treat Acne Mechanica?
There are ways to reduce your chances of breakouts caused by Acne Mechanica. By removing factors that cause it, you can stop Acne Mechanica in its tracks.
Wear Loose Clothing Made of Breathable Fabrics
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. he 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.
Keep Your Gear Clean
While friction, heat, and pressure are the main contributing factors to Acne Mechanica, introducing bacteria into the tiny abrasions that occur from too much friction on the skin can exacerbate Acne Mechanica and make it worse. Not wearing your gear just simply shouldn’t be an option – never put yourself at risk of injury by not wearing a helmet, shoulder pads, or other protective gear when you play sports or perform certain kinds of work. Rather, take the time to wash out your gear with warm water and an anti-bacterial cleaning solution can help reduce cases of Acne Mechanica. Make sure to allow your gear to fully dry before wearing it out again will help as well.
Use Body Glide® Products
Body Glide®’s line of anti-chafing products provide a protective barrier that reduces friction while allowing your skin to breathe. Hypoallergenic and made from plant-derived ingredients, apply Body Glide® balms to the shoulders and neck, inner thighs, along the forehead and chin – anywhere Acne Mechanica could be an issue for you! One application is all you need to keep friction at bay and stop Acne Mechanica in its tracks next time your out on the field, track, or trail.