We thought having to deal with hormonal pimples and blackheads on our face was annoying enough, but then butt acne (aka buttne) happened. Like, why? How is that a thing, and is no part of our body safe? Unfortunately, buttne is very much a thing! You might have experienced full-on breakouts, or perhaps just one or two irritating red bumps, and even though they’re hidden from the world (unless you’re slipping on a bikini), they’re pretty damn annoying. So, we spoke to our fav dermatologist and legendary skincare expert, Dr. Doris Day, to tackle the issue bum-on!
What is buttne and why do we get it?
Butt acne is often not truly acne. It’s a condition called folliculitis that comes from wearing fabrics that are not particularly breathable, like spandex and tight clothing. The tightness of the clothing generates occlusion of the follicles, which leads to a buildup of the skin cells that line them. The friction from the tightness of clothing and sweat buildup creates an irritant reaction that leads to redness, bumps, and eventually marks left behind; especially if you scratch or pick at them. The most common situation where I see a flare of butt acne/folliculitis is in women who work out and wear spandex work-out outfits.
How can we avoid booty spots?
Let your skin breathe: When working out try to wear loose sweatpants or wear white cotton boy shorts under your spandex. Remove the workout clothing and shower as soon as possible after working out.
Know your fabrics: Try to avoid super tight clothing and 100% spandex – try more of a cotton-spandex mix. Many jeans contain more spandex than you think and may contribute to the problem. Avoid going commando if you’re wearing blue or denim jeans – the blue dye contributes to the problem and is responsible for more allergic reactions than white jeans or other colors.
Minimize sweating: If you notice you have an issue with sweating, try using an antiperspirant on your butt to prevent bum spots from popping up. Apply it about 20 minutes before the workout to give it time to sink in and be effective.
The best products to use to avoid booty spots:
Try glycolic acid lotions, gentle peels, and salicylic acid cleansers, which will help to remove dead skin that can build up and clog your pores. You can try Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating pads ($13 for 60 cleansing pads), which are designed for your face but will work amazingly to prevent butt breakouts, shop them here. Moisturizers with lactic acid can also be helpful as they gently remove old skin cells. If there’s hyperpigmentation (brown marks or darker skin) left behind, you can use brighteners like topical hydroquinone at up to 4% concentration or other brighteners that may be prescribed by your dermatologist as needed. Your dermatologist may also prescribe a topical antibiotic like clindamycin gel or solution, along with benzoyl peroxide.
How to get rid of marks left behind:
If the marks really bother you, you can do Intense Pulsed Light treatments and blue light or red-light treatments to help heal the marks left behind, and because they’re anti-inflammatory, they can help prevent the problem as well.
Most importantly, know that it takes time for the marks to clear, it’s hard to be patient, but the marks will go away with time. Sometimes that can mean 2-3 months, but they will go away if you don’t touch them and avoid further irritation.
Our tip is to try a yogurt mask, as yogurt contains lactic acid, zinc, and vitamins that can help to improve skin texture. Apply this on to problem areas for ten minutes and wash away (apply up to three times a week).