When the weather starts to heat up, some people may get stressed over showing more skin — especially if one's prone to body breakouts or pimples on the butt. And well, while it may sound embarrassing, just know that it's completely normal and you're far from alone.
So, if you're looking for a way to avoid the kind of lumps Fergie wasn't talking about, we've got you. We spoke to New York City-based cosmetic dermatologists to learn how to get rid of butt acne once and for all.
What is butt acne?
Most importantly you should know that, typically, breakouts on your butt aren't actually acne. "Butt acne is not truly acne — it is, in fact, most often due to inflammation around hair follicles known as folliculitis, or an irritation secondary to chronic rubbing, which can come with wearing tight-fitting clothes or even waxing," says Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist at the Union Square Laser Dermatology.
An easy way to tell if it's folliculitis, which is truly an infection of the hair follicle, is how it feels, along with its placement on the body, says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. These bumps usually appear as small, shallow lumps, which tend to be itchy or painful. When irritated, they can develop into larger, cyst-like clusters.
How do you treat butt breakouts?
First and foremost, clean up the area. "Washing regularly with benzoyl peroxide (like the Murad Clarifying Cleanser, which is formulated with salicylic acid and green tea to soothe, helps keep pesky bacteria at bay, decreasing your chances of developing a bacterial folliculitis," says Idriss. "Folliculitis, however, is not always due to bacteria alone; it can also be caused by a fungus."
So, what should you do if a fungus is the culprit? According to Zeichner]), you'll need to get your hands on an anti-fungal medication, as folliculitis caused by a fungus will not improve or clear up if you use an acne treatment.
He also has another potentially easy fix for you. "If you suspect fungal folliculitis, you can even try your dandruff shampoo as a liquid cleanser to the affected area," he says. "Apply, let it sit while you sing the alphabet and then rinse off. It needs enough contact time with the skin for it to exert its job."
What shouldn't you do when treating pimples on your butt?
Physically exfoliating the inflamed area is a no-no, says Idriss. "Please stop scrubbing, whether with a scrub or a loofah," she tells Allure. "People often think they are doing themselves a favor by doing this because it makes their rear end feel — key word — smoother. In reality, they are just worsening the inflammation, which could lead to potential scarring and hyperpigmentation."
Your SoulCycle sweat sessions aren't helping either, says Idriss. "A sweaty environment and chronic rubbing due to cycling is a recipe for disaster," she says. After a workout, be sure to hop out of your drenched duds, wipe yourself off, and change into a more breathable outfit.
"Waxing should also be avoided as it can lead to further obstruction of hair follicles, worsening of inflammation, and subsequent pigmentation," says Idriss. Instead, consider investing in a more durable razor or consider another form of hair removal, like sugaring.
What can you do to ensure that you don't get hyperpigmentation on your behind?
Once you stop scrubbing, you reduce the risk of developing dark spots. "Hyperpigmentation can be avoided with less manipulation and more therapeutic treatment," she says.
That being said, be sure to moisturize your backside with gentle cream exfoliators with lactic acid, such as AmLactin, or a urea-based cream, such as PurSources 40 percent Urea Foot Cream.
How can you prevent a butt breakout?
If you're prone to irritations, regular use of gentle exfoliators, such as salicylic acid or lactic acid, helps keep your skin surface smooth and avoids buildups. In general, if you are prone to sweating, keep your tush clean and dry — and if you do get folliculitis, don't wait to get it treated." (We love the salicylic-acid-spiked Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment Acne).
If all else fails, speak with your dermatologist who can better find a treatment for your specific breakout concern.
Written by Jihan Forbes.
This article originally appeared on Allure.