When it comes to skin care and exercise, don't let your behind get left behind.

By Mary Anderson and Erin Reimel
July 24, 2020
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Your booty is the body’s powerhouse, propelling and supporting you throughout your active days, but you might not give it all that much attention. Between novel beauty treatments and science-proven sculpting and strengthening techniques, here’s how to give yours the love it deserves.

To Clear Up Butt Acne (aka Buttne)

Whether you constantly hit the gym or you sweat the moment your body hits summertime heat, chances are, you've dealt with butt acne before. The condition is caused when you you create a nice warm and wet environment a la sweat, which allows bacteria and yeast to thrive on top of the skin, Deirdre Hooper, M.D., a dermatologist in New Orleans, previously told Shape. When friction gets involved (think: chaffing or squatting), tiny abrasions are created in the hair follicles, where bacteria and yeast can make there way inot the body and cause inflammation, she explained.

But you don't have to put up with those red bumps permanently. To treat buttne (butt acne), apply an exfoliating mask, like Megababe Le Tush Clarifying Butt Mask (Buy It, $22, ulta.com), which combines glycolic, malic, and azelaic acids to eradicate blemishes and clogged pores.

Plus, ingredients once reserved for your face are being tapped to smooth, clear up, and tighten your bum. “Look for caffeine, which can temporarily shrink fat cells, and retinol, which helps build collagen to firm skin,” says dermatologist Anne Chapas, M.D. Try StriVectin Crepe Control Tightening Body Cream (Buy It, $59, amazon.com) and Paula’s Choice Skin-Smoothing Retinol Body Treatment (Buy It, $29, dermstore.com).

To Smooth Skin

Reminder: Cellulite is perfectly natural and 100 percent OK to have. Though the causes aren't super clear, this type of uneven or bumpy skin can develop due to hormonal factors, weight and muscle tone (though super fit people can still have it), and genetics that determine your skin structure and texture, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But if you're uncomfortable with your cellulite, there are a few techniques that could help reduce the appearance of it. Medicated creams, like a 0.3 percent retinol cream, may help reduce the dimpling by thickening the skin, though you might not see the effects for at least six months, per the Mayo Clinic. Physical activities that tone muscles–like swimming, biking, or Pilates–could also help reduce the appearance of cellulite, according to the Clinic.

And if are willing to shell out a bit more cash, an injectable called Qwo will be available at dermatologist offices in the spring of 2021. Qwo uses the enzyme collagenase clostridium histolyticum to break the rigid bands within your fat that pull down on the skin, forming a puckered appearance on your buttocks, says Dr. Chapas. It takes about four weeks to notice a more even skin texture, but then the results are long-lasting, possibly even permanent. Dr. Chapas recommends pairing the injections with a radiofrequency microneedling treatment like the Inmode Morpheus8, which heats the fat cells to eliminate them and prompt collagen production (about $1,000 per session). (Related: What Really Helps Get Rid of Cellulite)

To Achieve that Sun-Kissed Glow

With this secret makeup hack, your booty is sure to shine in that swimsuit. “Applying self-tanner strategically can make your butt look rounder and more lifted,” says tanning artist Kristyn Pradas. “First, smooth on a base layer of self-tanner.” She likes her own Pradas Glow Sol Solution Sunless Tanning Mousse (Buy It, $25, pradasglow.com).

Once it’s dry, add a second layer of self-tanner on the top part of your butt in two half-moon shapes. “Use a dense, synthetic makeup brush to blend it in circular motions. Then smooth some along the outer sides and underside of your butt,” she says. Makeup artist Scott Barnes (the man often behind Jennifer Lopez’s body glow) layers a shimmering lotion, like his Body Bling (Buy It, $42, amazon.com), with a mist of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray SPF 45 (Buy It, $19, amazon.com). “It creates a beautiful, natural sheen while protecting you from the sun,” he says.

To Build Muscle Mass

What factors into your booty’s appearance goes beyond skin deep. At its foundation is the body’s biggest muscle group, the glutes, made up of the maximus, medius, and minimus. The maximus is the outermost and largest of the three, and it’s what you really want to engage to net serious strength. We can thank squats for doing just that. But you have options: single-leg squats, leg lifts on all fours, step-ups, lunges, and standing hip extensions (leg sweeps with a cable machine or a resistance band) all target your maximus pretty equally, according to research from the American Council on Exercise. (By the way, squats and those five alternative exercises will also work the medius.)

To get the most from your squats, make sure the weight is in your heels by sitting back into the move. “Lower to a depth near or below parallel to activate the glutes. Knee squatting works the quads more,” says Glenn Wright, Ph.D., a professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. There’s even a boom in butt-sculpting gadgets, like The DB Method and Coba Board Glute Trainer, designed to improve your form. If you want a bonus benefit, add jumps at the top of your squats. This generates more power, which in turn can make you more of an overall fitness machine, says Wright. (Related: The Best Butt Workout Moves of All Time, According to Trainers)

Plus, there's a treatment to get behind if you have the time and cash: new noninvasive body-sculpting devices can build more muscle in your rear. “Electrical muscle stimulation contracts your butt muscles so quickly that it’s as if you did thousands of squats in a 30-minute session,” says Dr. Chapas. TruSculpt Flex targets both the large and small muscles to help strengthen and firm.

Shape Magazine, August 2020 issue