How to Get Rid of Body Acne
Our intrepid advice columnist is on maternity leave. Here is a question she answered before her new baby, Ezra’s was born, in preparation for time off with her young ones. Applause, please.
Oh wise Amy, please dear god post this anonymously…
I am 40 years old. I don’t live in a pig sty. I use (on your advice!) Philosophy products on my rather oily skin. I shower daily (sometimes more! like when I work out). I don’t sit in puddles of bacon fat. I don’t spend all day on the couch in sweaty sweatpants (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just don’t do it, because I have to go to work). But I have
wait for it
pimples on my butt. Yes, that’s right, I have butt pimples. And I don’t know what to do. I tell my kids they’ll get “rumpy rash” if they sit around in their wet bathing suits in the summer, and that’s what I call my butt zits, but I know the dirty truth. They are BUTT PIMPLES! The horror!
I have been putting benzoyl peroxide on them because that’s what I do on my face if I break out (my mom, who is 67, will still sometimes ask me if I have any Oxy around when she is staying at my house, just to give you a sense of the genetics I inherited). Actually, I slather it all over my butt in the a.m. and the p.m. but it is not working. I wear cotton undies. See hygiene details above.
Help. HELP. HELP!!!!!
-your butt pimpled and mortified loyal reader
Butt pimples! Dude, it happens to the best of us, believe me. Pimples on your butt, thighs, back, chest…ugh. Just…awesome.
So. A couple things.
1) Find an anti-acne body wash or soap and use it on (ahem) the affected area daily. Twice a day, if you can. Neutrogena makes one with salicylic acid that I’ve used with a lot of success — their Body Clear Body Wash. At 2% salicylic acid, it might not be strong enough to be your personal one-stop solution, but considering it is only $6, it’s worth a try before you move on to more dramatic measures.
2) Purge your existing regimen of artificial fragrance. Soaps, lotions, laundry detergent. Body acne can be a side effect of old-fashioned skin inflammation, so switch to fragrance-free, hypoallergenic skin products (this would not include the Neutrogena wash, by the way, which MADDENINGLY contains fragrance, argh) and a dye- AND fragrance-free laundry detergent for your undies and sheets and anything with any direct butt-contact.
3) See a dermatologist. I was tempted to put this as number one, for you in particular, since your problem sounds terribly persistent and if it’s resisting BENZOYL PEROXIDE that does suggest acne that will simply laugh in the face of an over-the-counter body wash or a new laundry detergent. It may need a prescription-strength acne cream (think 10% glycolic acid or Retin-A or a cortisone treatment). It could also possibly be staph or folliculitis, which require topical medications or antibiotics.
MOST body acne can be treated the same way facial acne is treated — washing the area twice a day with a gentle cleanser and applying some product with one of the common acne-fighting acids (salicylic, glycolic), and keeping a constant look out for irritating ingredients in everything else you use (detergent, unnatural fibers, lotions, etc.). If you’ve done all that and the problem remains, then it’s time to see a doctor, regardless of what body part we’re talking about here. Acne should never be ignored! Butts are people too!