For those of us who are prone to body breakouts, the promise of warmer weather can ignite a wave of anxiety. If you’re someone who considers sweaters and jeans camouflage, the low necklines and short shorts of spring and summer are likely to leave you feeling exposed.
And forget anything that entails wearing a bathing suit because having those acne-like bumps on your butt go public would be too much to bear. Cringe-worthy as that thought may be, know that you’re not alone. Those sorts of flare-ups plague many of us. Here, I’ll get into what they are, exactly, and how to handle them.
What are they, then?
For starters, while it’s often referred to as “butt acne,” it isn’t actually acne. It’s usually an inflammation around hair follicles, a condition known as folliculitis, though it can also be the result of chronic rubbing caused by wearing tight-fitting clothing or certain kinds of exercise, like spinning.
Folliculitis generally appears as small, shallow lumps that tend to be itchy or even painful. If they become irritated, they can grow into larger, cyst-like clusters.
Key to preventing that from happening is keeping the area clean by washing it regularly with benzoyl peroxide, which will help stave off the bacteria. However, folliculitis isn’t always due to bacteria alone. It can also be caused by a fungus, in which case you’ll need an anti-fungal medication. That’s the only thing that will clear it up.
How to prevent butt breakouts
What you shouldn’t do is exfoliate the inflamed area with a scrub or loofah. It’s a common reaction, but it worsens the inflammation, which could potentially lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation. That said, moisturizing the irritated area with gentle cream exfoliators with lactic acid or a urea-based cream can help minimize your risk of developing dark spots. They’ll also help prevent buildups.
You’ll want to get into the habit of shedding your sweaty clothes right after you finish a workout, too. Ideally, hop in the shower. If that’s not possible, wipe yourself off before putting on a more breathable outfit.
It’s also a good idea to avoid waxing because it could lead to further obstruction of the hair follicles, which will worsen the inflammation. Invest in a quality razor or look into less invasive forms of hair removal.
If you’re prone to body breakouts, particularly during the summer, keep your tush clean and dry. And if you do develop folliculitis, treat it immediately. If it doesn’t clear up relatively quickly, see your board-certified dermatologist, who will be able to tailor a treatment to your specific needs.