Everything — Yes, Everything — You Need To Know About Butt Acne

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Thankfully, talking about our acne is no longer taboo. Most of us are comfortable complaining to our co-workers, and anyone else waiting in line for coffee, about our chin zits, soliciting any advice on how to make them go away a little faster. Yet nobody wants to bring up their butt acne — or it's colloquial title, buttne — waiting for their latte.
Maybe it's because butt breakouts can be embarrassing since they tend to come in the form of rash-like, bumpy patches that seem impossible to get rid of, no matter how many OTC acne scrubs and exfoliators you stock in your shower.
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To find out the common causes of irritating (and sometimes painful) butt pimples and how to ward against them, we spoke to Dr. Anjali Mahto of the British Association of Dermatologists to get the lowdown on what’s going on back there. Find your how-to guide to dealing with butt acne, ahead.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Why do I get butt acne?

"Spots on the butt area are quite common, and usually caused by a skin condition known as folliculitis," explains Dr. Mahto. "It occurs due to irritation, infection (by bacteria, yeast, fungus), or blockage of the hair follicles, and looks like a red, bumpy rash on the skin." Apparently it occurs equally in men and women, and it’s not just limited to your butt, either. Anywhere with hair follicles is at risk of developing folliculitis — it’s just more embarrassing to discuss when it’s on your butt.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
But why is this happening on my butt, not on my face?

"The skin is the same on the both parts of the body, but the main difference is that the bottom is typically hairier than the face, and it's also an area that feels a lot of pressure," says Dr. Mahto. "Because you sit on your butt, the hair follicles can easily get inflamed and infected."

If you working out regularly, synthetic leggings might be your problem, because they trap your warm sweat, irritate your hair follicles, and can cause butt pimples to form. So, when exercising, it's important to wear workout leggings made of moisture-wicking, breathable fiber.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
How can I stop myself from getting butt acne?

"Ensure you shower straight or soon after exercise as heat, sweat, and synthetic clothing can contribute to flare ups," advises Dr. Mahto. “Avoid sharing towels or other personal care items, and do not shave over the bumps, as this can cause further irritation.” Also, Dr. Mahto recommends keeping any body oils away from your butt, as they can trap bacteria in the follicles and worsen the issue.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
If it's itchiness that's bothering you, try a warm compress — it'll help with the itching, and draw out any pus in the pimples. “Topical acne treatments, like those containing benzoyl peroxide, can help reduce inflammation,” says Dr. Mahto. “For severe cases, dermatologists use oral medications, including courses of antibiotics or isotretinoin.”

The good news is that folliculitis may get better on its own, without treatment. If it persists for more than a few weeks, and isn't responding to over-the-counter medications, then go talk to your doctor. A medical professional will be able to work out what type of folliculitis you're dealing with, and the exact treatment you need.

And though it may be tempting, don't use a harsh scrub to try to exfoliate the bumps away, because it'll make the irritation worse, and probably cause some unpleasant stinging on your butt cheeks. “Exfoliation is a bad idea,” Dr. Mahto explains. “If the skin is already irritated, and you’re irritating it further, you can actually make it worse.”

Bottom line: Be nice to your butt. It’s just trying to do its job, and you spend all day squashing it against a chair in return. No wonder it gets annoyed...
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appearance by Mi-Anne Chan.
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