How to Get Rid of Butt Acne: A Dermatologist's Guide
Let’s face it: Talking about butt acne—or as we like to refer to it ‘buttne’—is a conversation many people would probably choose to avoid. It’s embarrassing and pretty uncomfortable, yes, but the truth is that butt breakouts afflict many. And for that reason, we’re here to talk about it. Why suffer in silence? We tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Joshua Zeichner for the lowdown on the bothersome bumps down below. Read on to discover why butt acne surfaces and how you can keep yours in check!
WHAT IS BUTT ACNE AND HOW DOES IT COME ABOUT?
This really threw us for a loop, but it turns out “butt acne” isn’t really acne at all. “Acne on the butt is usually a superficial infection called folliculitis rather than true acne,” Dr. Zeichner says. The small red bumps or white-headed pimples may look like traditional acne (like what you’d see on your face for example), but they’re typically just inflamed hair follicles. This can happen due to chronic rubbing in tight-fitting clothing, hair removal techniques like shaving or waxing, excessive sweating and more. The bumps can feel itchy and sore, and can make you feel self-conscious, but luckily there are things that can be done.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT BUTT ACNE?
Now that we know that butt acne isn’t really acne, but rather folliculitis, let’s discuss how you can help prevent it altogether.
Wear loose clothing. Tight or clingy clothes can stick to the skin, causing friction that may lead to irritation. Wear loose, comfortable clothing when you can. If you wear tight-fitting yoga pants to the gym, change out of them immediately after sweating and take a shower.
Maintain your hygiene. A regimen without proper cleansing is no regimen at all. Stay loyal to a body care routine that whisks away impurities.
Steer clear from heated pools or hot tubs. Unless you’re the one controlling the pH or chlorine levels from your hot tub or heated pool, it’s a good idea to stay out of them. In fact, according to the AAD, people receive folliculitis so often from hot tubs that there’s now a skin condition named “hot tub folliculitis.”
Acne on the butt is usually a superficial infection called folliculitis rather than true acne.
THINGS TO AVOID
Picking. Don’t attempt to pick at your skin, as this can open a multitude of unnecessary doors, including permanent scarring, further irritation, and even an infection.
Scrubbing too harshly. No matter how bad the temptation is, don’t fall victim to scrubbing harshly on your folliculitis. In theory, this seems like a good idea, but what you’re actually doing is irritating your skin more. Approach your skin care routine—in all areas—with a gentle touch.
Avoid using harsh skin care products. Keep astringents, antibacterial soaps, and harsh scrubs out of your arsenal. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends gentle, fragrance-free products instead.
HOW CAN YOU HELP CLEAR BUTT ACNE?
Butt acne is far from being comfortable, but don’t let that discourage you. Even though the skin concern technically isn’t “acne,” you can still clear it using similar tactics. Here, we share a few habits you can add to your daily routine to help keep those inflamed hair follicles at bay:
- Cleanse your body after sweating. Sweat that’s been lingering on the skin for an extended period of time can mix with other impurities on your skin’s surface, including bacteria, and clog your pores. Thus, it’s recommended to hop in the shower within ten minutes of a sweat session. When you’re not working out, make sure to keep your behind clean and dry.
- Cleanse with benzoyl peroxide. Similar to how you would approach facial acne, benzoyl peroxide works just the same way for butt acne. Board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Michael Kaminer, suggests topical products enhanced with benzoyl peroxide, which can help reduce flares.
- Antibiotic creams: For mild folliculitis, your dermatologist may prescribe an antibiotic cream, lotion or gel. Some cases of folliculitis may be caused by a fungus, however, so it’s important to get checked out by a dermatologist if you don’t see improvement.