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How to Treat Acne From Heat

Acne mechanica is a type of acne that is caused by heat or friction on the skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology 1. This type of acne is commonly aggravated by activities that cause heat, such as playing sports. The equipment worn, such as helmets or shoulder pads, create friction on the skin, causing small uncomfortable acne lesions. Fortunately, there are a couple options for treating acne caused by heat. You can use preventative strategies to reduce heat on the skin and acne fighting medications.

Wear the right fabrics. People who have this type of acne often experience body acne. Wear cotton shirts, which allow skin to breath easily, recommends the American Academy of Dermatology 1. If you participate in organized sports, you can wear a cotton shirt under your uniform to absorb skin perspiration.

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Shower immediately after physical activity. Use an over-the-counter face and body wash containing salicylic acid. Wash places that acne commonly occurs, including the face, neck, back and chest.

Allow the face and forehead to breath. If you typically wear a hat or headband, this causes additional friction in heat, resulting in breakouts. Bacteria can also accumulate on the item, inflaming and irritating the skin.

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Apply prescription medications. If over-the-counter treatments don’t work, contact a dermatologist. She can prescribe more powerful benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and retinoid creams to treat breakouts. Give treatments up to eight weeks to work.

Request oral medications. Acne mechanica that doesn’t respond to topical treatments may require oral medications. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for up to four months to get bacteria under control. People with deep lesions, called acne cysts, may benefit from the use of Accutane. Side effects from this medication, however, are very powerful. Pregnant women can’t take the drug because of birth defect risks.


Don’t over wash the skin. Some people think that increasing washing frequency will minimize breakouts; however, it does the opposite. Skin goes into overdrive, producing more oil and causing additional breakouts.


Talk with your doctor about side effects before choosing a treatment. The severity of side effects varies with each medication. Understanding this information will assist in making the best selection for your situation.