Acne Mechanica is a skin condition that occurs when skin is pressed against fabric, especially heavy clothing, accessories like hats, scarves and toques, tight-fitting underwear and non-breathable shapewear. It’s often mistaken as a rash that forms on sweaty skin but these pimples are the by-product and can vary in type, size, and shape that’s consequently brought about by the oil gland in the pore becoming clogged, sometimes infected with bacteria, thus, subsequently caused these red swollen lesions on the skin.

Sandpaper Acne is nickname for Acne Mechanica. Some people develop small and rough acne lesions that are not very visible but have sandpaper feel when touched.

It is also brought about by sports protective gear like helmets, chinstraps and shoulder pads. Equipment and bags with straps are also the cause. This is known to be triggered by friction that even some violinists will experience this when the violin rubs on their jaw, chin and neck. It’s most likely to occur when there’s skin on skin contact like between inner thighs rubbing. Just simply even using your phone against your face is enough to bring this skin condition about.
This friction is intensified with heat and pressure on the skin or when the clothing or fabric is not breathable. Clothing made of Polyester, Rayon, Denim and Spandex will exacerbate if you are prone to Acne Mechanica.



Some people are more prone than the other. The largest group of people affected are usually teenagers and people in their twenties, brought about hormones and lifestyle. These are visible on their face, back, shoulders, and buttocks. People who are active in sports are also much prone.



Prevention is the key and using the right products can greatly help treating this skin condition. It is recommended to not wear tight and non-breathable clothing and fabrics and to not wear hats, helmets, headbands, scarves, etc. for prolonged periods of time, and to shower promptly after exercising. Also wearing breathable and absorbent cotton undershirt or tank is highly recommended to help up soak up the sweat and lessen friction.

Another great suggestions is to use rice flour/powder or cornstarch (since talc powder is known to be carcinogenic) to help keep the skin dry, especially on the back when the day is hot and humid. Using petroleum jelly to line the helmet can prevent friction from occurring.