All of us know or knew someone who is or was afflicted by acne, the curse of our teenage years. We are all familiar with the concept and sight of a spotty faced youth, skin a pockmarked mess of scabs and bumps and pale milkiness. We are less familiar though, with the idea that this disease can affect other regions of our bodies.
While it may sound amusing, butt acne is a prevalent issue amongst adults. Almost everyone has had one of these little blemishes appear at some point in their life. So, in order to save you, dear reader, from the horrors of a pimply behind, let us examine the causes of this most terrible of diseases.
What is Butt acne
Pimples in the buttocks area or “butt-ne” or butt acne usually refer to a medical condition known as folliculitis. This is caused by inflammation of the hair follicle. Typically, they look like multiple white head pimples surrounded by reddening of the skin and can sometimes be pierced in the center by a single hair. Most cases these bothersome zits will go away on their own or just with simple home treatment.
What causes folliculitis?
Acne, regardless of its location is caused by a root problem. Literally, Acne is the result of a blocked follicle. A follicle, for those of you who didn’t pay attention in biology, is the organ that is responsible for the formation of hair. The human body is coated in thousands of follicles, primarily upon the head and groin but also scattered along the arms, legs, chest and back, depending upon your ethnicity and genetic disposition. Close to each follicle is a sebaceous gland which has its own separate function – the secretion of sebum; an oily, waxy substance made up of fats, wax and the remnants of cells. A pimple is formed when the sebum oozing out of one of the trillions of sebaceous glands blocks the follicle. In such an instance, the sebum is prevented from trickling out at its normal pace and begins to form a blockage otherwise known as a zit.
In most cases, folliculitis is caused by infection of the hair follicle by bacteria, especially Staphylococcus, but they can also be caused by fungus, viruses and skin irritation by make-up, soaps and other perfumed products.
Treating butt acne at home
When having an outbreak of folliculitis, follow these simple steps:
1- Wash the affected area with antibacterial soap at least twice a day.
2- Applying wet, warm compresses to the affected area is a very effective solution to the pain and itching. You may do this as many times as you desire. It is critical that you do this only after washing your hands.
3- Use oat based creams to moisturize your skin after your daily bath.
4- Whatever you do, do not try to squeeze the pimples! This can not only make the infection spread creating more and more pimples but can leave scars and dark spots.
5- Stay away from the sun. Sun exposure especially between 11 am and 4 pm can aggravate folliculitis. Before purchasing sunblock make sure it says it is non-comedogenic. These products are specifically designed to avoid obstructing the hair pores.
Preventing butt acne
The key to dealing with butt acne is to care of your skin avoiding irritation and preventing infections.
1- Wash your hands and brush your nails thoroughly every time you get work or home. Staphylococcus can survive for long periods of time in the environment and if the skin is irritated or damaged it can infect the hair follicle.
2- Shower daily with antibacterial soap and right after working out: sweat can block the hair follicles making it easier for bacteria to grow in the area.
3- Bathe with warm water. Very hot showering water can damage and dry your skin.
4- Exfoliate every day with a clean wash cloth or a mild exfoliating cream. This will help removing dead epidermal cells from your skin and keeping your pores clear.
5- Do not share clothes or towels with other people.
6- Use loose fitting clothes and choose natural fibers such as linen and cotton. Synthetic fabric’s friction with the skin cause damage and increase sweat production making them a big no-no in these cases.
7- Try to stay away of scented beauty products. The chemicals used for the manufacture of these products cause strong irritation of the skin. Use hypoallergenic products instead.
8- When doing laundry do not use bleach or perfumed soap.
9- Control your body weight: People that are overweight are more prone to developing this condition.
10- Eat healthy: A balanced diet with at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day will provide you with the vitamins and minerals to help boost your immune system!
When to get a doctor’s appointment
Watch for signs that indicate your butt-pimples may be something else. If the pimples are growing in size, skin gets hot and red and deeper in the skin go see your doctor, it might be a case of furuncle which may require specific medical treatment with antibiotics. You may also need to take antibiotics if the breakouts recur often, many family members are affected or if you have any other chronic medical conditions that weaken the immune system like diabetes.
Hormones, can also contribute to the appearance of this skin problem. If you are a young woman, experiencing excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles or difficulties trying to conceive it is advisable to get an appointment with your gynecologist for a hormone screening test.
In conclusion, there are many ways of acquiring a pimple upon your posterior and just as many ways of removing them, but in parting I would like to state that most doctors would advise you to leave them alone if they are not causing serious pain or disruption to lifestyle. The average pimple or random spattering of acne will resolve itself and recede as the body takes in new nutrients and flushes out old toxins.