Derms Say Kojic Acid Is the Secret Ingredient Your Butt-ne Fighting Routine Is Missing

Photo: Stocksy/Treasures & Travels
While all breakouts are annoying, pimples on your butt are in a different category of frustration. Not only can they be very painful (if you’ve ever tried to sit down with a deeply-rooted blemish on your derriere, you know what I mean), but they’re often tricky to treat. And even if you’ve figured out how to get rid of the pimples themselves, you’re often left with discoloration and scarring long after they’re gone.

Thankfully, that’s where kojic acid comes in.

“Kojic is a gentle acid with some antimicrobial properties that can help acne,” says Carmen Castilla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital. While its gentle nature makes it a great option for treating butt-ne without irritation (especially for those with sensitive skin), it’s worth noting that its antimicrobial properties are on the weaker side—which means it will work better combined with other acne-fighting ingredients as opposed to as a standalone treatment.

The real reason to add kojic acid into your routine, though, is to help with the post-pimple pigmentation that can appear after a butt breakout has cleared up. "Kojic acid is often used to treat pigmentary issues such as melasma,” says Dr. Castilla. “It blocks a certain enzyme that produces pigment allowing it to lighten the skin.” Additionally, she says that kojic acid has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals, so it helps to protect the skin overall.

For best results, Kaia Naturals founder Mary Futher (AKA Madame Sweat), recommends supplementing your usual butt-ne fighting routine with a lather-and-rinse using kojic acid soap. Simply scrub your cheeks for 20 seconds in the shower, rinse, and repeat regularly until things clear up.

Kaia Naturals, The Takesumi Bright Brightening Bar With Kojic Acid for Underarm and Body Dark Spots — $25.00

Designed to brighten skin on the body (including the butt, underarms, and more), this kojic acid-infused bar is the perfect addition to any butt-ne fighting routine.

As mentioned, this process should be done in addition to,  not instead of, the rest of your butt-ne fighting regimen. Because butt acne isn’t one size fits all—it has a number of different causes, including clogged hair follicles, friction, and keratosis pilaris—it tends to require a multi-pronged treatment approach.

“Generally, most dermatologists will recommend benzoyl peroxide wash or a salicylic acid wash as first-line treatments,” says Dr. Castilla (you can use these on the days you aren’t using your kojic acid soap). From there, you can follow up with an exfoliating moisturizer, and your pimples—and the discoloration that comes along with them—will be on their way out.

Cetaphil, Acne Relief Body Wash — $10.00

Salicylic acid is known for its ability to get deep into pores and clear out dirt and debris from way beneath the surface, and this body wash is chock-full of the stuff.

Humane, Maximum-Strength Acne Wash - 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment — $23.00

With benzoyl peroxide as its star ingredient, acne-causing bacteria are no match for this breakout-banishing body wash. What’s more? It can be used on your body and face, which is a pretty good deal for $23 a pop.

First Aid Beauty, KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub Exfoliant for Keratosis Pilaris with 10% AHA — $19.00

Lauded on TikTok as a butt-ne savior, this bump-erasing body scrub “can be helpful as an additive exfoliator,” says Dr. Castilla. It’s got both chemical and physical exfoliating ingredients, so consider it a one-two punch for clearing away pore-clogging buildup.

AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin — $14.00

This dry-skin-friendly lotion contains lactic acid, another gentle AHA (from the same family as kojic acid) that will melt away dead skin cells without causing irritation.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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