Believe it or not, football can actually cause acne. Well, not the act of playing football itself, but the equipment worn while playing the sport. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “There is a condition called acne mechanica that is often seen in football players. Football players often visit us complaining of new acne on their forehead and chin during the season. Acne mechanica is a specific cause of acne that comes from occlusion and rubbing on the skin, in this case from their football helmets and chin straps. Football players get acne as a result of clogged pores from their equipment.”
There are ways to prevent and treat acne mechanica during the football season. Immediately after practice or a game, it is important to wash with a medicated salicylic acid cleanser. This will help to unclog all of the sweat and debris from the pores that built up while wearing your helmet. If washing with salicylic acid cleanser doesn’t produce improvement in acne that is already present, it is important to visit the Clear Clinic for acne treatment. Prescription medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics, retinoids, and even oral antibiotics, can be very helpful in the treatment of acne in football players. Acne mechanica can also respond very well to an in-office treatment called the Isolaz. The Isolaz uses a gentle vacuum to clean out the pores, while simultaneously delivering a broad-spectrum light into the pores to kill the acne-causing bacteria. A short series of Isolaz treatments can jump start treatment of acne mechanica. For players that experience acne mechanica during every football season, we recommend having regular treatments during the season to prevent the development of acne.