Let’s Play a Little Game I Like To Call: ‘Butt Acne or Something Else Entirely’

There are hundreds of different reasons why someone might make a dermatologist's appointment. Acne, skin checks, hair loss—the list goes on and on. But according to board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, one of the most common (and most stress-inducing) reasons her patients come in to see her actually has to do with their butts. 

"One of the most common things that my patients come in for—which can be very distressing—are pimple-like lesions on the butt. Or, 'Buttne,'" she says in the latest episode of Dear Derm. "But in reality, it ain’t buttne at all." While the blemishes on your behind may look like your run-of-the-mill zits (red, angry, and inflamed), they're actually something completely different. "These aren’t true pimples—they’re inflamed hair follicles," explains Dr. Gohara.

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There are a number of different reasons why these sorts of non-pimples might pop up, but the biggest culprit is (I'm sorry to say) your athleisure. "Tight-fitting pants made of lycra creates pressures on the follicle and makes it mad or inflamed," says Dr. Gohara. "So can sitting too long or sweating too much and not changing your clothes."

So what, exactly, are you supposed to do about it? Aside from throwing your favorite leggings in the garbage (which, let's be honest, isn't happening) and showering immediately post-sweat, there are a few topical treatments that can help. "Using a 1.5 or two percent benzoyl peroxide wash in the shower is great... but it may not cut it," says Dr. Gohara, who's a fan of Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash ($9) as an in-shower treatment. "But you may actually have to go to your board-certified dermatologist and get a topical antibiotic." They'll likely prescribe you clindamycin, which comes in lotion, solution, and pad form so you can find an option that fits with your personal preferences. "Or sometimes it requires an oral medication to bring down those pimples, but it may be worth it to keep your athleisure," says Dr. Gohara.

Of course, your derriere isn't the only place that body acne tends to pop up–particularly during the summer months. To find out how to deal with it everywhere (from butt pimples to acne on your chest and back), check out the video above, where Dr. Gohara shares her entire toolkit for keeping your complexion clear from head to toe.

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