Way back in 2017, Madonna famously touted the benefits of butt masks. “Don’t you want soft skin on your butt? Don’t other people look at your butt? Your butt has an audience! I encourage it,” the iconic singer exclaimed to the New York Post as the world collectively raised an eyebrow. But this is Madonna we’re talking about — of course she was ahead of her time. Today, butt masks are trending with the masses, making it easier than ever to pamper yourself like the Queen of Pop.
Even if your derriere doesn’t have the audience of, say, a butt-baring superstar, it can’t be denied that all women deal with fun issues in this area every once in a while. “The most common problems for the buttocks area are acne and hyperpigmentation,” Dr. Aanand Geria, a dermatologist with Geria Dermatology in New Jersey, tells TZR. Sure, you probably have a few sheet masks in your collection designed to treat these same exact concerns — but it turns out, the skin on your backside is not the same as the skin on your face.
“Think about the difference between the skin on the neck or around the eyes and skin in the armpits or groin area,” adds board-certified dermatologist and founder of SkinTour.com, Dr. Brandith Irwin. “Skin is thicker on the booty than around the eyes, for example. In addition, glands are paired with hair follicles and the amount of hair makes a difference. And what about jeans and pants rubbing, and all the sitting we do? Booty acne or irritations needs a different approach.”
“The skin on the body, in general, is much less forgiving than the face because there are fewer pores (hair follicles) which contain stem cells,” Dr. Geria explains. “The latter is important for our skin in terms of repairing damage — this is why wounds on the face heal so much better than those on the body.” He says that pimples and scarring on the butt will stick around longer than blemishes on the face. Unless, of course, you treat your tush to its very own skincare regimen.
Booty-specific products typically contain active ingredients at higher concentrations than you would normally use, or stronger exfoliators to penetrate thicker skin. For example, the ground walnut shell in Anese’s That Booty Tho scrub is likely too rough for the face but works wonders on your other set of cheeks. The same can be said for the exfoliating orange peel extract in Bawdy’s Slap It mask — it’s strong, so it’s not something you’d necessarily find in facial skin care.
“I have had butt cryotherapy, butt facials, and I have been taking care of my butt daily,” Sylwia Wiesenberg, the founder of Bawdy Beauty, a brand that specializes in sheet masks for (you guessed it) the butt, tells TZR. “I don’t know what my butt would look like today without all of this — I should have done one cheek only [when I started] — but at 40, I feel fabulass!” If that’s not a glowing endorsement for a regular back-end routine, I don’t know what is.
Jokes aside, Bawdy is serious about butt care. For starters, the brand’s sheet masks are perfectly shaped. “I tried regular face sheet masks on my butt and they left me with visible outlines of a mouth, nose, and eyes,” Wiesenberg laughs. “Plus, I needed two of them — so the economics don’t work, especially when you focus on quality masks.” Bawdy also only uses clean, natural ingredients that address common backside problems: Aloe leaf fights acne, orange peel exfoliates, and chamomile has antibacterial properties to fight butt breakouts.
“Since the buttocks is particularly prone to acne, because the pores are blocked all day long due to sitting, scrubs can be helpful,” Dr. Geria says. Reach for Anese That Booty Tho scrub to gently buff away dead skin cells and help eliminate any behind blemishes. “Be careful not to scrub more than once or twice a week, as this can cause irritation,” he warns.
The dermatologist also recommends looking for a booty mask with sulfur or clay to absorb excess oil and buildup (like Anese Down With the Thickness), as well as inflammation-fighting and skin-brightening ingredients (like the goji berry and caffeine in Bawdy’s Slap It mask) to ensure even tone and texture.
For a post-shower treatment, Dr. Irwin recommends an acne gel with 10%+ benzoyl peroxide. “I like Topix’s Glycolix Facial Cream (it works well on the body, too). You can purchase other benzoyl peroxide treatments at most drugstores, no prescription is needed.” She also notes that these products can sometimes stain your clothes, so apply them at night and consider skipping the pajamas.
If a firmer, plumper rump is what you’re after, Dr. Geria says to be wary of masks that claim collagen will help. “Unfortunately, collagen in a skin care regimen is useless, since the molecule is too large to penetrate through the skin into the dermis,” he explains. However, you may see results from "plant-based collagen," a substance made from plant matter that mimics the real thing and helps your body replenish its own collagen stores. High doses of hyaluronic acid (found in Nannette de Gaspé Uplift Revealed Tush Mask) can make the skin in this area look plumper, too.
While the butt mask craze may seem like it’s putting more pressure on women to look perfect in every way, Wiesenberg sees it as a celebration, instead. “The butt, to me, is the most beautiful muscle in your body, the most powerful one too — the stronger it gets, the faster you run, spin, and squat,” she says. “So I decided to make butt beauty matter; to make women [love] the part of their body they criticize the most.”
As far as the logistics of applying and removing these sensitively-placed masks? Follow Madonna’s lead: “Put it on, you lay down… Maybe you can ask your significant other to remove it for you.”
Ahead, the must-have masks, oils, and lotions that are making #bootybeauty happen.
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