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The Cheeky Facts About Butt Acne

Unlike your face, which is on full display 365 days a year, your butt gets to go into hiding — until it’s time to wear a bathing suit..

Butt acne (or any acne on your body, for that matter) is uncomfortable. Just because you can more easily hide it, doesn’t make it any less frustrating or embarrassing. So what causes pimples to flare up down there? Surprisingly, butt acne is more common than you’d think, but the reasons it happens aren’t what you think.

Is butt acne like facial acne? 

The short answer: No

To begin with, butt acne isn’t really acne, per se. While facial acne forms due to blocked pores, the zits that take up residence on your behind develop because of folliculitis, which typically results from irritation or blockage of hair follicles, staph bacteria, fungus, or yeast infecting your hair follicles. These pesky red bumps typically occur on the skin’s surface, and can be rather itchy. Now, here’s where it gets a little dicey: If left untreated, an infected hair follicle can swell to a large, painful, puss-filled carbuncle (boil) — and since that boil’s on your behind, it can be a literal pain in the you-know-what.

Why do butt breakouts happen and how do I treat them

In a nutshell, butt acne results from a multitude of factors — namely, bad hygiene, sweat, and tight-fitting clothes. The good news? These are all easily preventable causes!

Start giving the skin on your backside the same cleansing attention you give your face. Use a medicated body wash formulated with ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. The SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Wash, is formulated with one of our favorite BHA's and gently exfoliates and unclogs pores, by clearing away oil, dead skin cells, and debris responsible for initially forming breakouts in the form of blackheads and whiteheads. The SLMD BP Body Wash is an anti-bacterial, acne fighting staple, that dives deep into pores to attack Propionibacterium acnes, the invaders that cause inflammatory breakouts. Stick to these ingredients, rather than going overboard using harsh scrubs and loofahs. You may think over-scrubbing will smooth your backside, but this can actually exacerbate the problem, increasing irritation and inflammation that could lead to hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and scarring.

Not surprisingly, sweat can play a large role in butt acne, so be sure to change out of your sweat-soaked clothing post-workout and if you can, take a shower right away. If you aren’t able to shower right away, a medicated body spray like SLMD's Salicylic Acid Spray is great to have on hand to cleanse the surface of your skin, before you’re able to shower.

Tight clothing often exacerbates the butt acne problem (ie. skinny jeans and yoga pants); the tighter the clothing, the more it can push the bacteria that resides on top of your skin into any pores or breaks in the skin. Then, voila!, folliculitis. Even your underwear (think: skin-tight thongs) can be the culprit. Go with more breathable undergarments if bumps begin to appear.

Last, but not least: be weary that waxing can lead to folliculitis as well, so upon the first sight of bumps, take a break from hair removal until you’re all cleared up.

As you can see, body acne can have a multitude of culprits, but it IS treatable. If these bumps don’t clear up after trying the ingredients we recommended, it's always a smart move to consult with your dermatologist to see if they have any other recommendations or prescriptions for you.

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