We’re talking about butt acne, an unsavory topic of discussion many would probably like to pretend doesn’t involve them. We as a society aren’t exactly vocal about our butt blemishes: while beauty influencers and models are becoming increasingly frank about the fact that they deal with facial flare-ups just like us normals do, you probably haven’t seen someone break down their butt-acne-be-gone routine on Instagram, and Vogue has not yet a asked any celebs to share their butt acne secrets — though it’d be a far more interesting watch.
Point is, everyone has dealt with folliculitis from time to time. And like all garden varieties of blemishes, acne and imperfections, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is wanting to get rid of it. So we tapped Dr. Michele S. Green, a world-renowned cosmetic dermatologist based on New York City’s Upper East Side, for some answers and tips on how to treat that ass the right way.
Let’s start with basics: What exactly is butt acne?
“Butt acne is similar to the acne that occurs on the body — like on our back — as it is caused by inflammation around hair follicles and by bacteria penetrating the skin in these areas,” says Dr. Green. “In general, acne on the buttocks is caused by trapped hair follicles which get infected, leading to folliculitis, which is generally caused by bacteria, predominantly Staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria.”
When there is a break in the skin, staph can cause an infection, in the form of acne papules, acne pustules (filled with pus), cysts or painful boils, explains Dr. Green.
So what causes butt acne?
There are a number of reasons why pimples can appear on your backend.
“Wearing tight-fitting clothing, especially in fabrics which don’t ‘breathe,’ causes butt acne, as does waxing or shaving improperly, as the hair is removed and the ingrown hairs get trapped and inflamed and lead to a folliculitis in the area,” explains Dr. Green.
Not immediately washing after a grueling workout or just after sweating in general can also lead to acne on your behind, and unfortunately, doing nothing at all can also be a source.
“Sitting all day on your buttocks can cause friction and lead to butt acne as well,” says Dr. Green
So if anything, let this be another reason to take a break from your computer and go for a walk once in awhile.
So how can I get rid of it?
“First, it is important to clean the area regularly, especially after exercise or sweating,” says Dr. Green. You’ll also want to wear more loose-fitting, “breathable” clothing to decrease the amount of sweat and heat in the area.
“It’s also important to exfoliate the area with products containing salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), or beta hydroxy acids (BHA) to remove dead skin cells and oils so that they don’t get trapped in your hair follicles and pores of your skin.”
You’ll want to use antibacterial washes, as well as topical benzoyl peroxide washes and cleansers. Depending on the degree of infection, though, topical or oral antibiotics may be needed.
Dr. Green recommends using Glytone’s KP Kit, which includes an exfoliating body wash and lotion that’ll help remove dead skin cells and smooth skin, as well as these Retexturizing Pads from her line of skincare products. The pads are formulated with both glycolic acid and salicylic acid to help exfoliate and fight butt acne and are stored in a travel-friendly container to conveniently wipe the affected area to remove oils and unclog the pores.
But for those who develop areas of hyperpigmentation (dark patches on the skin) or red spots that take a longer time to heal, cosmetic treatments like chemical peels can help remove discoloration and pigmentation, while a fancy Vbeam laser can treat long-lasting acne marks, red scars and lesions.
Of course, while treating minor cases of butt acne is relatively simple, if something seems especially suspect down there, you should consult with your dermatologist or doctor.
And that’s it. Like that new face-washing routine you’ve hopefully implemented, getting yet another prime piece of real estate to shine requires just a few expert-approved cleansers and a routine you can stick to.
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