Fellas, I have a humble request from you. Please go to your nearest mirror, drop trou and assess the state of your ass. The cheeks, mainly. When was the last time you took a good look at it? Is it smooth? Is it not?
There’s a solid chance, I think, that you have ass acne that you just haven’t caught a good glimpse of. But fear not, we can fix this — and it’ll probably be easier than treating the type of acne that plagues faces.
“Pimples on your backside are pretty common in my practice, and much more so in men than women,” says Barry Goldman, a dermatologist in New York City. “Like acne, it typically affects younger men, typically in their 20s.”
But often, acne on your butt isn’t actually “acne” as we know it. Facial acne is technically a condition called acne vulgaris, wherein the pores on your face become clogged. Acne vulgaris can extend to the back and chest, and in some cases, onto your butt, too. According to Goldman, though, butt pimples are the result of the hair follicles becoming inflamed and clogged, which is a slightly different thing. The technical term for this is folliculitis.
“Almost anything can irritate the hair follicles there,” Goldman explains. “Sweat from working out, thick, warm sweatpants in the summer that seal in the heat and synthetic underwear that doesn’t breathe can all cause it.” Folliculitis can also be the result of hair follicles becoming clogged by dirt and oil, or from an overgrowth of staph bacteria on the skin.
“Staph bacteria normally live on the skin with no effects,” says Ksenia Sobchak, a dermatologist with Giejo Magazine. “However, when they enter the inner side of the skin, they cause infections leading to butt acne. Repeated friction on the buttocks, especially from tight clothes or pants, can contribute to butt acne, too.”
For all intents and purposes, butt acne and face acne can be pretty similar — in both cases, something’s getting clogged and inflamed. As such, they can be treated similarly. To start, dealing with butt acne is all about prevention. You’ll want to wash the skin daily, particularly right after workouts, and change your clothes regularly, too. Also, please, for the love of god, put on a fresh pair of underwear after each shower. Goldman recommends 100 percent cotton undies, as well as opting for loose-fitting clothing.
Meanwhile, exfoliating regularly, whether that be with a washcloth or an exfoliating product, can help keep those follicles from getting clogged in the first place. You can also use a face scrub on your ass. There are scrubs and products designed specifically for butts, but since your face tends to be more delicate, you won’t want to use an ass scrub on your mug.
Both Goldman and Sobchak recommend trying a product with benzoyl peroxide in it, which you may remember from your teenage acne years. A topical antiseptic, it can help kill off the bad bacteria and loosen whatever might be clogging the follicles. For ease of use, Sobchak likes salicylic acid, another familiar exfoliating acne agent, in the form of medicated pads from brands like Oxy or Stridex. After a shower, swipe one over your cheeks and toss them away. Zinc-based products, like a pyrithione-zinc soap, can also be helpful in remedying butt acne caused by bacteria.
In the event that your ass blemishes simply aren’t going away, are particularly itchy or painful or swell up larger than the size of a pencil eraser, you should consider seeing a dermatologist. They can help ascertain exactly what’s causing it, and potentially prescribe something you can’t get over-the-counter.
But as Goldman mentions, butt acne is super common. It’s truly no big deal. That said, taking the time to treat and prevent it will take that butt far. Soon enough, you’ll be passing your mirror ass inspections with flying colors.