How To Take Care Of The Skin On Your Bum

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If you’ve ever suffered with under-the-skin bumps or inflammation on your bottom, you’ll know they can be difficult to shift – especially when it’s not clear what’s behind them in the first place. From the importance of chemical exfoliants to using the right body wash, we asked two experts how to keep this delicate area looking good.
Photography YAKOBCHUK OLENA/ISTOCK

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Understand The Issue

“Think about it – our bottoms are no different to anywhere else on our body. They still sweat but unlike other areas, it’s a part of our body that tends to be covered up for most the day. The result is sweat, irritants and sometimes allergans – caused by detergents – all of which can get trapped in and against the skin for long periods of time. Add to that minimal breathability and it’s no wonder rashes, breakouts and under-the-skin-bumps are all common complaints. All skin needs to be taken care of, but your bottom might need a bit more, especially if you’re suffering with ‘buttne’. Wherever you have pores, you can also have breakouts and different skin conditions. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” – Dr Salome Dharamshi, dermatologist & founder of Sky Clinic

Switch Up Your Clothing

“Tight clothing is a key cause of skin issues on your bottom. Jeans can exacerbate skin conditions as they push bacteria into the pores, causing things like folliculitis and butt acne. I recommend wearing loose, cotton-based clothes, especially when you go to the gym or are active. Certain fabrics can also irritate the skin, especially if you’re prone to sensitivities, so keep an eye on this.” – Dr Usman Qureshi, aesthetic doctor, skin expert & founder of Lux Skin

Know The Difference

“It’s important to understand that breakouts on your bum aren’t actually acne – despite the ‘buttne’ terminology. More often than not it’s a skin irritation called folliculitis. This happens when the hair follicles are irritated and you end up with red bumps that closely resemble acne lesions. Actual acne here is rare, so it’s worth paying attention to the problem and treating it accordingly.” – Dr Usman

Exfoliate At Least Once A Week

“If you’re experience any skin issues on your bottom, exfoliation is essential. It will remove dead skin cells, bacteria and oil build-up, keeping your follicles clear and boosting circulation in this area. The skin here is thicker than on your face, so it can take heavy-duty scrubs with a thicker consistency – just be careful not to apply too much pressure.” – Dr Salome

“Without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells can block your pores and cause inflammation, and sometimes even infections. I love a good salt scrub. You can use different ingredients depending on your specific skin concerns, but charcoal, salicylic acid and dead sea salts are brilliant at refining rough, bumpy textures.” – Dr Usman

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Understand The Other Causes

“It’s not just breakouts and folliculitis that can cause inflammation on your bottom – there are several rashes that you may experience. From contact dermatitis – caused by ingredients that irritate the skin – to breakouts caused by autoimmunity issues or fungal infections, there’s plenty to look out for. Some common causes are as follows:

  • Heat rash (also known as miliaria) – This is common during the summer or in humid environments. Heat rash is triggered when the sweat glands in your skin become blocked, which then manifests into pimples and itchy bumps.
  • Contact dermatitis – This is caused by prolonged contact with an allergen or irritant. Common causes include laundry detergents, tight clothing or fragrances in body washes, soaps and skincare. It presents as blistered lumps that can be red, dark brown or purple.
  • Keratosis Pilaris – This often comes up as bumpy skin on your bum cheeks and is caused by a build-up of keratin in the hair follicles, which causes blockages that manifest in small, goosebump-esque bumps.
  • Eczema – This is a common, chronic skin condition that can affect people anywhere on their bodies, including their bottoms. It typically takes the form of dry, red, hard patches of skin rather than an itchy rash or pimples. It can be managed with prescribed antihistamines and creams. Psoriasis (which is a chronic, autoimmune disease) can also crop up on your bum.
  • Pimples – Although we’re most used to talking about spots and pimples on our faces, oil and dead skin cells can clog up skin follicles anywhere on the body, meaning your bum is not immune to pimples and breakouts. Butt pimples are commonly caused by sweat and oil build-up post exercise. They will often have a whitehead or be red and swollen.
  • Intertrigo – This is an irritating rash caused by sweaty or moist skin rubbing together, often following a workout, but can also be a sign of a fungal infection. It will look crusty and inflamed and often feel uncomfortable.” – Dr Salome

Always Wash Post-Workout

“It sounds obvious, but you should always shower after a workout – whether you’re at home or the gym. If you leave dirt and sweat sitting on your skin, you’re just contributing to issues down the line. Wash regularly and follow up with loose-fitting clothing. Avoid fabric softeners too, as these can irritate all skin types – even those who aren’t prone to sensitivities.” – Dr Usman

Invest In Good Ingredients

“We’ve covered exfoliation, but it’s worth looking out for some key ingredients across your body care. Use a cleansing wash that contains benzoyl peroxide – it’s a great way to get rid of the breakout-causing bacteria. Aloe vera is another great ingredient. It gently moisturises the skin without drying it out and it’s also worth looking for products that contain antioxidants – like vitamin C – to further decongest the skin, while shea butter and vitamin E will soothe and nourish. If you are prone to breakouts, make sure any lotions you use are non-comedogenic. You don’t want to clog up your pores even more, so use lightweight formulas and avoid overly greasy or emolient ingredients like coconut oil.” – Dr Salome

Don’t Neglect Body Brushing

“Dry brushing is an effective way to remove dead skin cells. Done regularly, you’ll find it exfoliates skin and promotes better blood flow. If you do it correctly and pair it with healthier lifestyle habits and self-care, you can easily create smoother skin on your bottom – and anywhere else you’re using it. I also recommend dry brushing just once or twice a week as exfoliating may cause further redness, irritation and other skin issues. It’s common sense, but a gentle approach is key.” – Dr Salome


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