Double Sale: Get a FREE Clarifying Mask w/ any Kit + Free US Shipping +$50 Click to ACTIVATE

Need help choosing the right kit?

Our Skin Profile Quiz can help recommend a kit that best addresses your skin’s unique concerns


Want to order by phone or have questions about our products?

Our skincare experts are here to help 7am-3pm PT Monday - Friday



Sign into your account to track & manage orders or update your account info below.


Facial Cleanser

Ultimate clean, no over-drying

Clearing Tonic

Instant skin rebalancing

Acne Treatment Serum

All-day Protection

Clear Pore Serum

All night pore clearing

Derm-X Cloth

Skin renewing exfoliation

Moisture Complex

Weightless oil-free moisture

Microderm Scrub

Instantly Smoother Skin

Clarifying Mask

Deep down skin detox

Probiotic Complex

Clearer skin from the inside


Acne Mechanica: What It Is and How to Treat It

Acne mechanica is a specific type of acne resulting from external factors such as pressure, friction, or heat on the skin. It can affect individuals of all ages and is commonly seen in athletes, students, and individuals who wear tight clothing or use certain equipment for prolonged periods.

In this blog post, we'll dive into the causes of acne mechanica, discuss effective treatment options, share prevention strategies, and answer frequently asked questions.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Acne mechanica is caused by external factors such as pressure, friction, and heat, which differentiate it from regular acne (acne vulgaris).

  • Treatment options for acne mechanica include topical treatments, prescription medications, and gentle cleansing routines.

  • Preventive measures for acne mechanica involve wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing, promptly showering after physical activities, and maintaining proper skin hygiene.

  • Using Exposed Skin Care products, specifically formulated for acne-prone skin, can help manage acne mechanica by reducing inflammation, unclogging pores, and promoting healthier skin.

Woman enjoying the sun after biking

The Science Behind Acne Mechanica

Causes of Acne Mechanica

Acne mechanica is triggered by external factors that cause skin irritation, inflammation, or occlusion of hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

The primary factors contributing to acne mechanica include:

  • Pressure: Constant pressure on the skin from tight clothing, helmets, or straps can cause acne mechanica.

  • Friction: Rubbing of the skin from clothing, sports equipment, or other gear can lead to acne mechanica.

  • Heat and sweat: Excessive heat and sweat can create a favorable environment for acne mechanica, especially in combination with pressure or friction.

People riding their bicycles in thight clothes

Acne Mechanica vs. Acne Vulgaris

While acne mechanica shares some similarities with acne vulgaris (common acne), it's essential to differentiate between them. Acne mechanica is triggered by external factors, while acne vulgaris is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations, genetics, and bacterial infections.

Additionally, acne mechanica often appears in specific areas subjected to pressure, friction, or heat, whereas acne vulgaris can occur anywhere on the face or body.

Treating and Preventing Acne Mechanica

Treatment Options

To treat acne mechanica, a combination of topical medications and lifestyle changes is typically required:

  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.

  • Prescription medications: In more severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe stronger acne medication, such as antibiotics or retinoids.

  • Cleansing routines: Keeping the affected area clean and dry is essential. Cleanse the skin with a mild cleanser and avoid harsh scrubbing, which can aggravate acne mechanica symptoms.

  • Blue light therapy: Blue light therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can help manage acne by killing acne-causing bacteria and reducing inflammation. This therapy may benefit individuals who experience severe inflammation due to acne mechanica.

Woman cleaning her face

Commonly Affected Areas for Acne Mechanica

While acne mechanica can develop on any part of the body exposed to pressure, friction, or heat, some areas are more commonly affected:

  • Inner thighs: The inner thighs are prone to acne mechanica due to friction from clothing or sports gear, heat, and sweat during physical activities.

  • Heated skin: Skin exposed to heat, such as from wearing heavy clothing or protective gear, is more likely to develop acne mechanica. This is because heated skin creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive and dead skin cells to accumulate, leading to clogged pores and inflammation.

By exploring alternative treatments and understanding the commonly affected areas for acne mechanica, you can better manage this skin condition and work towards clearer, healthier skin.

Man with a smooth skin holding a volley ball

Prevention Strategies

To prevent acne mechanica, consider incorporating these strategies:

  • Choose loose-fitting clothing made from breathable materials.

  • Remove sports equipment as soon as possible after use.

  • Shower promptly after exercising or sweating heavily.

  • Use non-comedogenic products on your acne-prone skin.

  • Keep your skin clean and hydrated.

Exposed Skin Care: A Solution for Acne Mechanica Management

Exposed Skin Care is a versatile skincare system designed to treat and prevent various types of acne, including acne mechanica.

Exposed Skin Care Ultimate Kit

Incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your daily routine can provide several benefits for effectively managing this specific type of acne:

  • Gentle yet effective formulation: Exposed Skin Care products contain a unique combination of scientific and natural ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and green tea extract. These ingredients work together to unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, making them ideal for addressing acne mechanica and other forms of acne.

  • Reduced irritation: Since this type of acne is often caused by external factors like friction and pressure, it's essential to use gentle skincare products to avoid further irritation. Exposed Skin Care's mild formulations can help soothe and calm the skin, promoting faster healing of lesions associated with acne mechanica.

  • Prevention of future breakouts: Exposed Skin Care treats existing acne lesions and helps prevent future breakouts by maintaining skin health and balance. Incorporating Exposed Skin Care products into your daily routine can create a protective barrier against the external factors contributing to various forms of acne, including acne mechanica.

Exposed Skin Care offers a gentle, effective, and preventive solution for managing different types of acne. Incorporating this skincare system into your daily routine can better control acne, promote skin healing, and maintain a healthy complexion.


Acne mechanica is a unique form of acne caused by external factors such as pressure, friction, and heat. It differs from regular acne, or acne vulgaris, primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations, genetics, and bacterial infections.

Acne mechanica can develop in various areas of the body, including the inner thighs due to thigh friction, on the face where eyeglasses or masks apply pressure, or where clothing rubs, such as areas covered by shoulder pads.

Understanding the causes and differences between acne mechanica and regular acne is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. By identifying the specific factors contributing to the underlying outbreak, such as mechanical stress or sweat, individuals can take appropriate steps to manage and prevent acne mechanica.

Incorporating a consistent skincare routine, using non-comedogenic products, and adopting preventive measures, such as wearing loose-fitting clothing and promptly showering after physical activities, can significantly reduce the occurrence of acne mechanica.

In some cases, alternative treatments, such as topical vitamins or blue light therapy, may help manage acne mechanica, especially if there is severe inflammation or a preexisting acne condition.

A personalized treatment plan is essential for effectively managing acne mechanica and achieving healthier, clearer skin. By taking a proactive approach to skincare and understanding the specific factors contributing to acne mechanica, individuals can effectively manage this skin condition and enjoy a better quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can acne mechanica leave scars?

Yes, acne mechanica can leave scars, especially if the skin is irritated or inflamed. To minimize scarring, avoid picking at or popping acne lesions.

Is acne mechanica more common in athletes?

Acne mechanica is more common in athletes due to the increased likelihood of pressure, friction, and sweat from sports gear and equipment. Athletes should take extra precautions to prevent acne mechanica by keeping their skin clean, dry, and free from constant pressure.

Can acne mechanica occur on the face?

Yes, acne mechanica can occur on the face, particularly in areas subjected to pressure or friction, such as from wearing a helmet, mask, or eyeglasses. To prevent acne mechanica on the face, ensure that any gear or accessories fit properly and are cleaned regularly.

How long does it take for acne mechanica to heal?

The healing time for acne mechanica varies depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of the acne treatment. With proper treatment and care, most cases of acne mechanica can improve within a few weeks. However, more severe cases may take longer to heal.

How can I tell if my acne is acne mechanica or acne vulgaris?

To determine if your acne is acne mechanica or acne vulgaris, consider the location of the acne and any potential external factors contributing to its development. Acne mechanica typically appears in areas subjected to pressure, friction, or heat, while acne vulgaris can occur anywhere on the face or body.