Anything which rubs, scratches, or comes into prolonged contact with the skin can cause irritation and potentially contribute to breakouts. This is so well known to acne researchers that it has it's own name: acne mechanica.1-7 None of us can completely avoid irritation. However, becoming aware of sources of physical irritation, and reducing them when you can, will help you achieve and maintain clear skin.

If you experience excess physical irritation in any area, be sure to carefully perform The Acne.org Regimen in that area, and consider applying glycolic acid as well.


  1. Seneschal J, et al. "Exogenous inflammatory acne due to combined application of cosmetic and facial rubbing." Dermatology. 2012; 224(3): 221-3.
  2. Basler RS. "Acne mechanica in athletes." Cutis. 1992; 50: 125-128.
  3. Mills OH, Kligman A. "Acne mechanica." Archives of Dermatology. 1975; 111: 481-483.
  4. Knable AL, Hanke CW, Gonin R. "Prevalence of acne keloidalis nuchae in football players." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1997; 37: 570-574.
  5. Brun P, Baran R. "A special type of mechanical acne: fiddler's neck dermatitis." Annals of Dermatology and Venereology. 1984; 111: 241-245.
  6. Kang YC, et al. "Acne mechanica due to an orthopedic crutch." Cutis. 1999; 64: 97-98.
  7. Strauss RM, Harrington CI. "Stump acne: new variant of acne mechanica and a cause of immobility." British Journal of Dermatology. 2001; 144: 647-648.