Spots - wherever they pop up - are a major hindrance. Look, we've all been there: whether it be waking up with a bright, red, shiny molehill on our chin the night before a first date, or dealing with painful hormonal breakouts in the run-up to our TOTM, in a nutshell, they're just bloomin' annoying.
And as my spot-prone friends everywhere will know, it's not just the face that welcomes them back like old friends - they can also commonly be found on the back, chest, shoulders, upper arms, upper back, scalp and neck. And in some circumstances - which we're about to get right into - the bum. Ouch.
Interestingly, bum spots aren't considered acne, like the above, which is generally defined as clogged pores, pimples, and cysts. Instead, they're often caused by external factors - and we spoke to an expert to find out the reasons why they, quite literally, keep popping up. Enter aesthetics doctor and skin expert Dr Lucy Glancey of Glancey Clinics who has all the answers, from what they mean to what treatments are available.
So, if you're experiencing a pesky bum spot (or more than one) that has decided to park up on your booty uninvited and rent-free, chances are, you're going to want to evict it pronto. Especially if you're suffering from those extra painful ones...
What could your bum spots mean?
Your hair follicles are blocked
According to Dr Glancey, there are a number of reasons why some people suffer from spots on the bum. However, she says the main one is a "common condition called folliculitis, whereby hair follicles become blocked, often leading to inflammation and infection."
Folliculitis tends to be on the skin surface and presents itself as shallow little bumps, with Dr Glancey explaining that the spots are more likely to be itchy or irritating than painful. But thankfully, she reassures that they typically fade within a couple of days without the need for medication.
You’ve been sweating a lot
Exercising more than normal? While it's great that you're looking after your bod - it is your temple after all - your extra pumps in the gym could actually be the reason for your new addition of bum spots.
"Excess sweating from exercise, wearing skinny jeans and non-breathable activewear can all contribute to spots in this area," says Dr Glancey.
So, always be sure to wash your leggings and trousers after sweating a lot in them, and shower quickly after a workout to avoid sitting in that bacteria. What's more, your pick of gym gear can also help to avoid this - when shopping for your next sports bra, make sure you choose a material that factors in breathability so it can properly regulate your body temperature while simultaneously preventing sweating.
You don’t care for the skin on your bum as much
This is normal, of course! While you spend £££ on pricey products for your face and even chest, it's unlikely you do the same for the skin on your bum.
As Dr Glancey says, "we tend to take much greater care of our faces compared to the bum in terms of applying skin care, cleansing, etc." And as skin care routines are "commonplace - whilst I hope we all clean our bums - we don't give any other body part the same care and attention that we do our face," she adds.
You’re wearing the wrong underwear
"Wearing certain types of underwear can cause local irritation or accumulation of sweat," Dr Glancey explains. For example, wearing nylon underwear as opposed to cotton underwear.
So, if you were looking for a solid reason to splurge on some new undies, it seems like now's the perfect time to treat your tush – and luckily for you, we've got a great pick of underwear suitable for all skin types and all occasions. From the best postpartum undies to the best exercise underwear to the best period pants, we've also curated our best pick of crotchless panties, too.
Essentially, whatever underwear is your go-to, just make sure that the material and breathability are suitable for your body. Cotton is your friend here.
How can I stop bum spots appearing?
Now we know the reasons for bum spots, does that mean we have the power to stop them from appearing altogether? Um, sadly not, says Dr Glancey, who breaks the news that just like spots on our face, there's "no way of completely preventing their occurrence."
But before all hope is lost, she does provide some tried and tested ways that can *limit* the chances of bum spots. Stressing that shaving your bum hair is a major no-no, Dr Glancey also adds that "reducing friction is key."
As was mentioned before, wearing breathable fabrics is also recommended, as is "always wearing 100% cotton underwear, showering immediately after exercise and removing any friction-inducing or wet/sweaty items of clothing as soon as you can."
What treatments are there for bum spots?
Let's start with the most obvious, but also the most habitual. DON'T. SQUEEZE. THEM. OK?! Even if you can contort yourself to reach down there, you're going to make it worse by doing so. Did those face spot-squeezing sessions where you end up looking all puffy and red for hours afterwards not teach you anything?
Instead, if you want to get rid of your irritating bum spots the way a professional recommends, listen up: "The best way to treat spots on the bum is not too dissimilar from the face," Dr Glancey schools.
She advises to "gently exfoliate the area ideally using a glycolic-based product, then an antiseptic wash to remove any bacteria followed by a topical over-the-counter acne treatment containing salicylic acid." And under no circumstances should you scrub.
(It also goes without saying that you should be careful applying anything in that area. If applicable, get a partner to do it for you. Romantic.)
Dr Glancey adds: "If you are really self-conscious and have a bum flare-up, then there is an emergency treatment for getting rid of spots that we use for high-profile patients who are about to go to a major event like a performance or a wedding."
She reveals that a "tiny injection of steroids" is used to help the spots disappear almost within hours. "So the patient is ready to show off their spot-free face, or backside, in all its glory!"
And if that's a little too extreme? Embrace your bum spots and be rest assured in the knowledge that we all get them.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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