By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Apr 29, 2019 @ 4:00 pm
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As if the occasional acne breakout or cystic zit isn't enough, pimples have a way of popping up in other inconvenient places — like your butt. And if you've been plagued by butt acne, then you know just how frustrating, itchy, sore, and downright uncomfortable it can be. 

But because butt acne doesn't come up into everyday convo as much as pimples on your chin do, you might not actually know how to treat it. That's why we asked a dermatologist to weigh in on butt acne, including what causes it and what you can do to fix it. 

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What Causes Butt Acne? 

For starters, those breakouts on your butt might not actually be true acne, according to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Instead, Zeichner explains that in many cases, bumps on your bum are typically folliculitis, which he says is a superficial infection of the hair follicle.

"When the skin barrier becomes disrupted, bacteria can penetrate into the hair follicle causing a mild infection," he explains.

Another thing to blame for the folliculitis on your butt? Perhaps your go-to workout leggings.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, tight clothing, in addition to damp and hot skin rubbing against skin, could cause this skin issue to pop up. A few more culprits to note are shaving, plucking, and waxing, as well as hot tubs that are not properly maintained. 

How Do You Treat It?

The good news? Zeichner says the same types of ingredients that treat facial acne can double duty for butt acne as well. That includes salicylic acid (which helps to dry out pimples) and benzoyl peroxide (which lowers levels of acne-causing bacteria).

Zeichner recommends St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Face Scrub because it contains salicylic acid, which helps dry out pimples and clear them faster. The benzoyl peroxide in Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser is also a winner because of its antimicrobial properties, which can help control a particularly bad outbreak.

"If over-the-counter products are not working, speak to your dermatologist about prescription topical medications that can treat it as well," he notes. 

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Any Prevention Tips?

If you have just finished a workout or have simply been moving a lot on a hot and humid day, then Zeichner says you'll want to shower as soon as possible so you're not sitting around in sweaty clothes.

The AAD says wearing loose, breathable clothing and washing your bathing suit after each use also helps prevent folliculitis.