Getting Real About Butt Acne And How To Clear It Up (It Doesn't Have To Be Awkward)

It's always a bummer when you get pimples on your cheeks, but it's even more of a bummer when you get acne on your other pair of cheeks, aka your butt. Yes, butt acne, or butt-ne is real, and it's much more common than you think.

It's bad enough that we get acne on our faces, but it's apparently also normal to incur acne on the rest of our bodies, including our buttocks. And whether you have facial or body acne, or perhaps even both, they're all made of the same stuff. "Butt acne, bacne, and acne on the face are all due to the same thing: oil and dead skin getting trapped in follicles, leading to inflammation and an overgrowth of bacteria," Dr. Jessie Cheung, a board-certified dermatologist, told InStyle.

In a way, it makes total sense. For many of us, our butts are glued to cushions and mattresses nearly all day, and we're quite fond of wearing tight clothing, too. It's no wonder bacteria congregate in our nether regions and decide to form stubborn pimples. Then again, experts note that other factors also contribute to butt-ne, including stress, diet, and hormones.

Getting to the bottom of butt-ne: how do you even get them?

Butt acne may be called as much, but it's actually not even acne in the first place, at least in terms of structure. Acne is what happens when your pores get clogged, whereas butt acne is a form of infection. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City, explained to Women's Health that butt acne is "folliculitis, which is a mild infection of the hair follicle that leads to red bumps and pus pimples."

And while butt-ne isn't acne, it shares more or less the same causes as acne. Stress is one of the leading culprits, according to Dr. Zeichner. "We know that stress promotes oil production and inflammation in the skin," he told Real Simple. Genetics and hormones can also play a part, especially if you're experiencing bodily changes. And if you gravitate towards sweet treats and dairy, that could be the cause, too. "They increase levels of a hormone called IG-1 which triggers oil gland activity," he said.

We hate to break it to you, but your lifestyle can also lead to booty breakouts. If you tend to wear tight bottoms (may it be underwear or yoga pants), sit in your sweaty clothes for too long, and forego showering after working out in the gym, the more likely you will get the dreaded butt-ne.

A case for clearing your booty

Since the skin on your bum is way less delicate than the skin on your face, you would need more than your trusty spot cream to get rid of butt acne. Dermatologist Dr. Carmen Castilla shared with Well + Good that kojic acid may be the wonder ingredient that could help, as not only does it have antimicrobial properties but it also "blocks a certain enzyme that produces pigment allowing it to lighten the skin." Simply put, it can knock butt-ne out and prevent hyperpigmentation from forming.

Acne treatments can also work for butt pimples, including salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, but you may want to opt for a body wash or solid soap containing these ingredients as opposed to creams and gels to really cover the area. If none of those things work, your butt acne may be caused by fungus instead of bacteria, and in that case, your dandruff shampoo may do the trick.

It goes without saying, of course, that prevention is better than cure. To avoid incurring butt-ne moving forward, make it a point to shower immediately after a sweat sesh, wear loose clothing, and swap out your underwear frequently. And if you're the type to sit all day, you may want to stand and walk around more. That way, you can complete your daily step goal much faster, too.