Skin problems can happen anywhere on your body—and that includes your butt. From acne to stretch marks and everything in between, see how to treat and prevent these common skin problems down below.
What they are: Small red lesions on your skin. Though you normally see them on your face, “you can get them anywhere you have hair follicles, including your butt,” notes Chicago derm Dr. Carolyn Jacob. Oil and dead skin get clogged in the follicle, causing inflammation and a killer zit.
Rx: Use a benzoyl peroxide cream to destroy acne-causing bacteria. If that doesn’t do the trick, see your dermatologist for prescription topical antibiotics or Retin-A cream. One way to stop pimples from popping up in the first place: Peel off your workout clothes immediately after exercising (all that moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria), then jump into the shower.
What they are: White or red lines caused by your skin stretching from rapid weight changes (say, during pregnancy). The lines form when elastin and collagen fibers just below the surface weaken and tear, leaving streaks of indented skin. Stretch marks tend to run in families, so if your mom has them, you’re more likely to as well.
Rx: Try to stay at a stable weight. Gaining—or gaining and losing—weight quickly will stretch the skin, Jacob said. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about these telltale lines. If they’re still pink, a prescription topical retinoid like Retin-A can fade them (it stimulates collagen growth, which helps plump out skin). If they’ve turned white, a laser treatment at your MD’s office may help—again by stimulating collagen—but the results usually aren’t that great.
What it is: Basically, a fancy name for the dimpled flesh caused by bulging fat cells beneath the skin. It appears bumpy because the fat is pushing against the connective tissues under the skin surface.
“You can notice cellulite as early as your 20s, when the skin starts to get lax,” Jacob said. It may be more noticeable if you’re overweight, though thin women can be plagued too, depending on their genetics (thanks, Mom!). In fact, about 90 percent of all women have cellulite.
Rx: Your best bet is to lose excess weight and exercise regularly.
“The less fat, the less cellulite,” Jacob explained. In the meantime, try applying a cream containing caffeine (such as Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control, $43, amazon.com), which temporarily tightens skin, making your cottage-cheese marks less apparent.
What it is: If a red, itchy rash develops between your butt cheeks, it might be intertrigo, caused by the chafing together of warm, moist skin, commonly after you work out.
Rx: Shower immediately after you exercise, dry yourself thoroughly, and apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream. If the rash doesn’t disappear in a few days, see your doctor to rule out a fungal infection or other skin condition, like psoriasis (the butt crack area is a classic place to see psoriasis).