Butt acne. Help me make it stop!
April 25, 2008 2:48 PM   Subscribe

OK, so it's getting warmer and acne is making its annual reappearance. On my butt. How do I get rid of it??

Some background: I'm female, mid-30s, I don't have acne anywhere else on my body or on my face. I have a healthy diet (no sugar or refined foods), I exercise, I bathe daily, change my clothes daily, sleep naked, change the sheets weekly, wear cotton underwear, I am not overweight. I've tried the following with almost no success: exfoliating daily in the shower, over-the-counter acne creams, witch hazel, talcum powder. It appears mostly close to the folds in the skin (i.e. where the butt meets the thighs, or near the, er, crack). It disappears almost entirely in winter, comes back as it gets warmer. It's not really severe (i.e. no whiteheads or blackheads, just . . . bumps), and I will not go to the doctor or take any kind of systemic meds for this. But it is unsightly and annoying and I'd really like to get rid of it.

Has anyone out there dealt with this successfully?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are you sure this is acne? It doesn't sound like it to me but I'm not a doctor and since you won't go to a doctor, you may never know. But I would suggest thinking about this as something other than acne.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:12 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I used to have bacne really, really bad (the large, painful cystic kind) and did a combination of things: 1. flax seed supplements 2. b12 and b6 supplements 3. Use Mario Badescu acne products, specifically the pink drying cream and the acne serum. I have gotten large, cystic, painful bumps that won't come to a head to go completely away without ever even breaking the skin with the serum, and the pink stuff quickly dries out stuff that surfaces. Their acne wash sounds like what would work best for your, em, area... I use it on my body and seldom break out now (but have a back covered in little white scars as evidence of what once was).

The supplements help your body best fight these little breakouts. I've read that they really do help with cystic acne in women on the body in particular because your body gets stressed and reacts this way when your immune system is on the defense and getting rid of toxins (such as excessive sweating during the summer) and when you have hormonal flares during your special time each month.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:12 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

It sounds like heat rash. I get it, too. I use cornstarch (from the baking aisle of the supermarket) since it isn't scented, unlike most powders.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:09 PM on April 25, 2008

If the bumps are small and not particularly zit-like, you might actually have a little fungus. Have you tried an anti-fungal cream on it?
posted by Craig at 4:16 PM on April 25, 2008

Have you tried Gold Bond Powder? Get the Green Can. That stuff works wonders.
posted by andreap at 4:27 PM on April 25, 2008

Are you sure you don't have Keratosis pilaris?

I have a mild case of this and it shows up a little bit on my upper arms, and thighs, but mostly on my butt and love handles.

I googled the images and its a bad example because they mostly show the bad cases.

If you do think you have this, I find that getting some sun exposure helps. Also you said that exfoliating dosen't work, and I didn't think so either, but I tried St. Ives Apricot scrub and it got a little better.
posted by AsRuinsAreToRome at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2008

I just read the AskMefiFaq and I should note I don't have a financial interest in Gold Bond. But I do have "folds" as you put it.
posted by andreap at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2008

Glycolic acid lotion, though spendy ($15 and up), works extremely well on body acne.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:59 PM on April 25, 2008

This totally sounds like keratosis pilaris. There have been a couple threads on this lately.

I have KP (not on my butt, which is actually pretty common, but on my arms and, lucky me, sometimes my face) and while I haven't found a solution, I will say that a topical steroid (Desonide) has helped more than any other remedy I've tried. (Others include Retin-A, salicylic acid, exfoliation, and moisturizers).
posted by chez shoes at 5:31 PM on April 25, 2008

Before you step out of the shower, reach back and make sure all of your shampoo/conditioner/bodywash is completely rinsed off. That stuff is tough; you think that because there's water streaming down your back that you're all clear, but it slips down into the folds of your skin and stays there, causing irritation and red bumps. (Maybe your skin is more sensitive in warm weather?)
posted by junkbox at 10:05 PM on April 25, 2008

Given that you've been tentatively diagnosed (no offense, folks, I know nobody's saying she definitely has anything) with actual acne, a fungal infection, keratosis pilaris and heat rash, and gotten several different suggestions for several of the diagnoses ... really, go see a doctor. I suspect that "butt acne" will be far from the most embarrassing thing your doctor sees that day, and you will have your answer.

Then if you really don't like the proposed treatment (and chances are, with "something that looks like butt acne," there will be several alternatives), you can always come back and say, "Mefi, my doctor says I have ____ and wants to do this treatment ------ but I don't want to do -----. Does anyone know about any other alternate treatments for ____?" And we can tell you.

Good luck!

(I have mild KP inherited from my dad, but exfoliation and lactic acid lotion seems to handle it these days ... sorry that doesn't help much.)
posted by bettafish at 10:06 PM on April 25, 2008

I had acne on my body as a teen, and it cleared right up when I started adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a bath before soaking for a while. Tea tree oil is antifungal and antibacterial as far as I'm aware, so might help even if what you have isn't acne (as some posters above have suggested. Might be worth a try? Cheap and widely available in health food shops / pharmacies etc.
posted by Tapioca at 3:38 AM on April 26, 2008

this doesn't really sound like acne to me, but i could be wrong. why don't you try exfoliating just a couple of times a week? everyday could be too much and is just irritating everything.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:54 AM on April 26, 2008

This acne could also be caused by staph aureus. In that case, it can be treated with topical or oral antibiotics. Altabax is a new topical antibiotic that can get rid of outbreaks but there are lots of others if that isn't covered by your insurance. I'd definitely recommend going to see your GP or a dermatologist. It's embarrassing, yes, but really important to get it taken care of.
posted by kclassic at 10:54 AM on April 26, 2008

« Older Help me learn about NOLA!   |   Please suggest some great house music mixes. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.