But there's a (rather large) part of my body that I happened to have forgotten: my behind. I run and do squats and leg raises to keep my glutes strong and healthy, so why do I neglect the skin on that area that gets so much devotion in the gym? Not only that, but I sit on my rumpus for hours upon hours at a time at my desk job, depriving it of the level of self-care that I devote to the rest of my body.
"Buttock skin is no different than skin on other parts of the body, but it is put under stresses not experienced elsewhere. The skin in this area is continually exposed to sweat, creating an environment that allows for overgrowth of bacteria and fungi," explains Joshua Zeichner, MD a New York City dermatologist. "Plus chaffing is common on buttock skin because of exercise and clothes rubbing. All of this explains why it's common to develop pimples, dryness, and rashes, so it's also important to apply moisturizers to buttock skin just as you would your arms and legs."
I only started to think about this when butt masks—yes, sheet masks for your cheeks—appeared on my desk. Made by the brand Bawdy Beauty, these skin-care darlings are meant to hydrate, illuminate, re-texturize, and brighten, depending on which of the four targeted options you use. You could say I was intrigued—and also a bit ashamed for not having done a single thing to my butt topically since I came into existence.
"The skin on your butt gets blemishes, ages, sags, and loses its elasticity and firmness as much as your face skin, so why not to take care of it?"
"The skin on your butt gets blemishes, ages, sags, and loses its elasticity and firmness as much as your face skin, so why not to take care of it?" says Sylwia Wiesenberg, founder of Bawdy Beauty. "The butt gives you power, keeps your body strong, and needs attention too. I believe butt skin care is necessary—your butt deserves a break from tight jeans and sweaty leggings." Well, that's true—I don't like to admit how much time I spend in my sweat-soaked Lululemons, and I've definitely gotten a blemish on my rear before (buttne is a thing).
It's important to note that the backside is the most frequently covered body part, meaning that it's protected from sun (public enemy number one) and other environmental factors that could cause it to age. Often times, when patients go in for skin checks, dermatologists share that, because of this, the butt skin is nicely preserved, so while the mask isn't totally necessary, I figure it can't help to make a good situation even better.
Armed with butt masks, I head home eager to smother my behind with skin-care love. As I tear open the packaging, I notice that the masks are divided into two—one for each cheek (cute). They're pretty sizable too, and wind up covering my entire caboose. I tap them on and my buns are immediately very cold. Now, you'd think that having a butt mask on would mean you have to lie immobile on your stomach for 10 minutes as it does its thing. I decide to put underwear on over them (which may not have been necessary, because they were pretty firmly on) and stay vertical, going about my business. The only issue with this is that it felt like I was wearing a wet bathing suit, or a damp diaper. Oh well—beauty can be weird sometimes.
Despite my butt mask being loaded with nourishing ingredients like plant-based collagen, chamomile and aloe, blue algae (an antioxidant), kelp, and oat extract (I went with "Shake It," Bawdy's illuminating option), I have a skeptical outlook on how my cheeks will turn out upon removing the product. Since it hasn't seen the light of day, my bum skin appears smooth and baby-like before I ever start the process. Regardless, I peel off the masks and peer into the mirror. Nothing super noticeable happens, however, my skin does feel hydrated there, which it never has before.
Though I imagine that the effects are more apparent with more frequent use—just as with your regular skin-care routine—I think what butt masks teach me most is that you should give love to more of your body—so that nothing gets left behind. Full stop.
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