Bumne sounds like it should be added to the list of “body acne” alongside chestne and bacne. However, bumne isn’t actually acne despite what its name leads you to believe. Lumpy, bumpy skin and dry, red rashes on your butt are most likely the result of folliculitis or keratosis pilaris – two skin conditions that stem from inflammation or blockages within our hair follicles (read: pores).
I can see where the “bum acne” confusion comes from – especially since keratosis pilaris is classed as an acneiform disorder, which means it mimics acne but is nothing of the sort.
So, let’s chat about these skin conditions that are affecting our peaches. As I mentioned, folliculitis is the inflammation of your hair follicles. You can develop folliculitis anywhere you grow hair – it's not just reserved for your butt. It appears on the skin as a rash of shallow red bumps which can blister, develop a whitehead and be sore, itchy or tender as well. The main cause of folliculitis is a fungal or bacterial infection in the upper part of the hair follicle, but shaving, wearing restrictive clothing and excessive sweating can also trigger the skin condition.
Or perhaps your bumne stems from keratosis pilaris, otherwise known as “chicken skin”. The patches of teeny hard bumps slightly resemble the rough-textured skin of chicken, hence the name, and can crop on your arms and thighs as well as your butt. It can feel dry or itchy and the colour of the bumps can vary, so don’t worry if yours are white, red, skin-toned or darker.
To get nerdie, keratosis pilaris occurs when our hair follicles get clogged with a build-up of keratin, a structural protein that’s found in our hair, skin and nails. This creates a “keratin plug” which blocks the opening of the hair follicle which looks like a hardened lump on the skin.
I would give you the same advice whether you’re suffering from keratosis pilaris or folliculitis: try to wear loose clothing and breathable cotton underwear. To prevent a build-up of bacteria, clean the affected area with an anti-bacterial body wash immediately after working out or if you’ve been sweating a lot.
Mild cases of folliculitis should clear up naturally, whereas keratosis pilaris can take its time – luckily there are steps you can take to speed up the process. You can use skincare products that’ll gently exfoliate, regulate and hydrate the areas affected by keratosis pilaris or folliculitis. Start by using a body wash like the ASAP Skincare Clear Skin Body Gel (€48, theskinnerd.com) 2 to 3 times a week. It contains a blend of AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate the skin and remove the keratin that’s clogging the hair follicles.
On the nights you’re not using the body wash, apply a vitamin A product to help the skin regulate itself – it'll encourage proliferation and increase cell turnover rate. A mask might sound extravagant but the IMAGE Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Masque (€74, theskinnerd.com) is a lovely choice.
Then use the Avene Thermal Water Spray (€15, theskinnerd.com) to hydrate, calm and soothe the affected area. You can also get an over-the-counter bacterial cream to apply directly onto the skin to help heal the affected area.
In all honesty, bum spots are nothing to be embarrassed about – it's surprisingly common and completely hooman. Most cases of folliculitis and keratosis pilaris will clear up naturally but if it’s an area of concern or feels sore and irritated, book an appointment with your GP. So long as you’re not scrubbing the affected area with an abrasive chemical exfoliant you’re golden.
If there was a skincare hall of fame, the Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic would undoubtedly be inducted. It contains lactic acid, which is an alpha-hydroxy acid, and is gentle enough to use on all skin types – including mamas-to-be and sensitive skin. Lactic acid gently exfoliates to reveal brighter, more refined skin but also works as a humectant to attract and retain moisture.
The Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic also has willow bark extract to lessen the appearance of pores and azelaic acid precursors to lighten hyperpigmentation for even-toned skin. It’s designed to be used every day and I adore it!
REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic (€32, theskinnerd.com)