9 Natural Treatments for Butt Acne

Acne can be uncomfortable no matter where it forms on your body. And unfortunately, your butt isn’t immune to those troublesome red bumps.

Butt acne is a little bit different from facial acne, both in what causes it and how it’s treated.

When acne forms on the butt, it’s because of folliculitis. Folliculitis is usually caused when the Staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria, infects a hair follicle. Normally staph bacteria live on your skin without causing problems, but when they get inside through a break in the skin, it results in infection. If the infection gets worse, it can lead to a boil, which can be painful.

Folliculitis bumps look very similar to regular acne. They’re red bumps on the top of your skin that are filled with pus and can be itchy and cause discomfort. In most cases they go away on their own with regular at-home care.

Here are nine natural treatments to help folliculitis or butt acne.

1. Wash regularly

One of the most important ways of preventing infection is to bathe regularly with a good antibacterial soap. If you’re prone to butt acne, a first step may be to wash the skin in the morning and evening. This can help get rid of dirt and bacteria buildup from sweat.

Shop for antibacterial soap.

2. Wear loose-fitting clothing

“Normally, bacteria sits on the skin, but tight-fitting clothing can rub the bacteria back down into the pores, causing breakouts,” says Dr. Bank.

You might consider taking a break from spandex or skinny jeans in favor of a looser and more breathable bottom. Choose clothing, especially underwear, made from natural cotton if you can.

3. Sit on a warm washcloth

Wet a washcloth with warm, but not too hot, water. Gently place the damp cloth over the area on your butt that’s having an outbreak of acne. The warmth will be soothing and may help to open pores and draw out some of the bacteria and pus. You could also take a warm bath or use a “sitz bath.”

Find sitz baths online.

4. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a tree in Australia. It’s been used for many years to treat different skin infections and wounds. Studies have shown that it’s effective in killing bacteria and may be almost as effective as benzoyl peroxide for treating acne.

You can find lotions, creams, and cleansers that contain the oil.

Dr. Bank also recommends tea tree oil as an option because it has antibacterial properties.

5. Avoid fabric softeners

Some people’s skin can be sensitive to different fabrics or laundry products. That’s why most brands of laundry detergent have a hypoallergenic version. If you suspect that detergent, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets may be causing you issues, switch to something without dyes or skip certain products altogether.

Shop for hypoallergenic laundry detergents.

“Another remedy is to avoid using fabric softeners in the dryer because the fibers left on your underwear can further irritate the skin,” says Dr. Bank.

6. Use zinc creams

Creams containing the mineral zinc have also been shown to help reduce acne symptoms.

Here’s a selection of zinc creams to try.

7. Shower after a workout

Leaving the sweat and dirt on your skin after a workout can be a big contributor to butt acne. Make sure you hop in the shower as soon as possible after a sweat session. If you’re wearing tight workout pants, it’s especially important. You’ll also want to make sure to wash workout clothes after each use.

8. Exfoliate

Using a luffa, also known as a loofah, or a mild exfoliating wash helps get rid of dead skin cells and dirt that could contribute to clogged follicles and infection.

Shop for loofah sponges.

9. Salt water solution

Salt water can help to treat mild infections. Mayo Clinic recommends mixing 1 teaspoon of table salt with 2 cups of water and applying the solution with a washcloth to areas with butt acne.

When to seek medical attention

Most people will be able to get relief from these natural treatments. However, if folliculitis gets worse, spreads, or turns into a boil, or if your immune system isn’t strong, you may need treatment from a doctor.

“If you have boils, you may have to seek the help of your dermatologist, depending on the severity of the outbreak. If the outbreak is extremely severe, they may have you on an oral antibiotic to fight the infection internally. Your dermatologist may also have to drain the boil so all the pus is safely removed from the infected area,” says Dr. Bank.

How to Deal With Buttocks Breakouts

Having acne does not affect your risk of having either folliculitis or carbuncles. Even having severe acne on your face and torso does not mean you are more likely to have folliculitis or carbuncles on your buttocks. However, both carbuncles and folliculitis can lead to scarring if not handled correctly.

Treatment Options for Pimples on the Buttocks

Your treatment will depend on whether you have folliculitis, carbuncles, or both.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Folliculitis treatment. Most of the time, folliculitis eruptions go away on their own. If not, a dermatologist can prescribe a combination of products to clear up your skin. “Often, ‘butt acne’ can be treated with a topical antibiotic cream or an antibacterial wash such as one that contains benzoyl peroxide,” says MacKelfresh. Rarely, you might need an oral antibiotic or antifungal medication.
  • Carbuncle treatment. Because carbuncles go deeper, treatment is more intensive. You may be given an oral antibiotic to fight the infection. Your healthcare provider may also need to lance, or pierce, the boil to drain the accumulated pus in a safe, sterile setting. The area will then be covered with a bandage. Never try to drain a carbuncle yourself at home.

Can Pimples on the Buttocks Be Prevented?

“You can prevent ‘butt acne’ by staying in good health overall,” says MacKelfresh. Try taking these precautions:

  • Wear loose clothing whenever possible. Tight clothing can cause skin irritation that leads to folliculitis.
  • Work with your doctor to bring any chronic health conditions, like diabetes, under control — if not, your body has a harder time fighting off infection.
  • If you do get folliculitis, make sure you get it promptly under control to avoid carbuncles and the need for more aggressive treatment.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Acne Center.

Let’s just get straight to the point: Butt acne is real, and it’s not comfortable. Breakouts that occur on unlikely parts of your body can be especially distressing because we often have no idea how—or why—they got there.

Technically called folliculitis, acne on your butt isn’t quite the same as the flare-ups that happen on your face. It’s often due to clogged hair follicles rather than clogged pores and can occur from a combination of occlusion (i.e., blockage), friction, sweat, and bacteria, according to dermatologist Susan Bard of New York’s Sadick Dermatology. Basically, if you leave your sweaty yoga pants on for hours after class or wear skintight jeans or leather pants when its balmy out, you could be upping your chances of getting butt acne.

For me, it happens every time I “forget” to shower between a Spin class and brunch, or when I want to leave my cute workout outfit on all day instead of putting on real clothes. Needless to say, it makes all subsequent Spin classes seriously awkward, both in front of other women in the locker room (even though I know I shouldn’t care) and on the bike. (Let’s just say it’s not a time you want to do tap backs.)

Determined to put an end to this cycle, and help out anyone else who might need it, I grilled Bard for her best advice on how to get rid of butt acne. Here, the four tips she swears by, because I know we’ve all been there.

1. Give the tight clothes a rest.
In case you needed another excuse to embrace the sweats-and-stilettos trend, loose pants are your best bet for avoiding breakouts. “To prevent folliculitis, I encourage patients not to wear tight, friction-inducing clothing, such as tight jeans, and to change out of your sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible,” says Bard. Opt for cotton underwear over nylon or spandex to give the skin on your butt a chance to breathe.

2. Wash up after workouts.
Not only should you always shower after working out, but it’s important you pay attention to your skin back there while you do it. To cleanse, skip the basic body wash and reach for an antibacterial soap or benzoyl peroxide wash like Neutrogena’s Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser. Some other tips: Make sure you wash your hair first and body last so the dirty suds from your scalp won’t drip down and clog your follicles. And after you shower, steer clear of thick, heavy body lotions that may do more harm than good. A good option to try? Curél’s Fragrance Free Comforting Body Lotion, which goes on light and is formulated for sensitive skin.

Also, when your skin is clear (so before any zits arise), remember to exfoliate regularly to remove dirt and bacteria, the same way you would for your face. You can use a gritty body scrub like one of these editor favorites. Or you can use a product with glycolic acid, like Glycolix 18% Extremity Cream, which will help exfoliat skin more gently.

3. Don’t try to pop or pick at butt acne.
Not that you can reach them easily, anyway. But just in case you have bionically long arms, or have managed to find a way to get a hand on them, it’s important you resist the temptation to squeeze or pick at butt acne, which—according to Bard—will only make it worse. Doing so risks the chance that the spots will become more prone to infection, and it also might cause scarring.

4. Don’t be embarrassed to see a dermatologist.
We know. There’s nothing more cringeworthy than having to lie on your stomach while a doctor examines your bare ass. But keep these two things in mind: Derms have seen it all, and they’re there to help. If you feel your acne isn’t improving, is getting worse, or is too painful to get about your day to day, it’s time to visit a pro. They’ll be able to help custom-tailor a skin care plan that works best for you and perhaps even recommend prescription medication you can take.

Pregnancy & Butt Acne

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    Our History

    The Green Heart Labs brand was launched first. It all started by introducing the first and only product scientifically created for buttocks breakouts, a very common but not talked about problem. We realized that acne products for the face were not effective for treating buttocks breakouts. We also found that not treating those ugly breakouts left the skin in disrepair – discoloration and scarring. After launching Butt Acne Clearing Lotion, the thank-you notes started rolling-in and we knew we struck a chord with thousands of people who have been looking for a solution to this problem for years. We have kept our ears open to our customers and we are launching more product solutions based on loyal customer ideas and input.

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Common Skin Conditions During Pregnancy

Path to improved well being

Most pregnancy-related skin changes are normal. Many have limited treatment options and go away on their own. Common conditions include:

Stretch marks

  • Symptoms: Brown, red, or purple streaks on your stomach, thighs, buttocks, breasts, or arms.
  • Cause: Skin stretching as your body expands to support your growing baby. Most women get them.
  • Treatment: There’s nothing to prevent them or make them go away. Creams and lotions could help itching and keep the skin soft. Most fade over time but may never disappear completely.


  • Symptoms: Breakouts of pimples on your face or other areas. This happens even if you normally have clear skin.
  • Cause: Pregnancy hormones.
  • Treatment: Wash your face every day. Try to avoid picking the pimples so you don’t leave scars. Some over-the-counter treatments are available. Talk to your doctor before trying anything.

Chloasma (melasma, or the “mask of pregnancy”)

  • Symptoms: Brown patches on the cheeks, nose, or forehead.
  • Cause: An increase in melanin. This is the substance in your body that gives color to the skin and hair. It’s more common in darker-skinned women.
  • Treatment: There’s no treatment. Patches usually fade after you’ve had the baby. Being in the sun can make the condition worse. Wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you’re outside.


  • Symptoms: Spots already on your body get darker or bigger. These include freckles, scars, or the area around your nipples. Some women get a line down the center of their belly. This is called the linea nigra.
  • Cause: Pregnancy hormones.
  • Treatment: No treatment is necessary. Discolorations usually fade after the baby is born. Use sunscreen and cover up when you go outside. This could lessen the darkening.

Skin tags

  • Symptoms: Small, flesh-colored growths on the skin. Most often found in folds of the skin, such as the neck or armpits.
  • Cause: It’s unknown why pregnancy increases your chance of getting them.
  • Treatment: No need for treatment. If they bother you, talk to your doctor about removing them.

Varicose and spider veins

  • Symptoms: Spider veins are small patches of veins that can appear. Varicose veins are swollen veins that often stick out above the skin. They can be twisted or bulging, and are blue or purple. They can be painful.
  • Cause: Increased hormones and blood flowing through the veins. Pressure from your growing uterus can decrease blood flow from your lower body. This can cause varicose veins.
  • Treatment: Spider veins don’t need treatment and go away after birth. There are things you can do to relieve discomfort from varicose veins. Take walks, put your feet up, and use compression socks. Ask your doctor what you can do to ease your symptoms.

Pregnancy can affect any skin conditions you normally have. These include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and acne. For some women, symptoms get worse. For others, the condition improves while they’re pregnant.

Home remedies for pimples on the buttocks

The bacteria that cause folliculitis thrive in specific conditions. Ways to prevent bacteria from developing and causing folliculitis include:

1. Washing regularly

Share on PinterestClogged and infected hair follicles cause folliculitis.

Regular washing helps keep the follicles clean by removing dirt, oil, and sweat. This may reduce the levels of bacteria on the skin and decrease the risk of developing folliculitis.

People who are more prone to folliculitis should consider washing in the morning and evening. Use antibacterial soap to prevent bacterial growth.

Washing at least twice a day is especially important for people who exercise regularly. It may not always be convenient to wash after every bike ride or yoga class, but the extra sweat from exercise may provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

2. Avoiding abrasive exfoliation

Exfoliation is the best way to keep dead skin cells from clogging the pores and follicles. However, using a regular loofah or scrub may be too harsh, especially for those with inflamed or tender skin.

Using a regular soft washcloth or nylon shower scrubber to wash and exfoliate will help prevent irritation and inflammation.

3. Using natural alternatives

For people who do not want to use over-the-counter (OTC) medicated creams, some natural alternatives include.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a popular natural treatment for the skin. The essential oil appears to have antimicrobial properties that might help keep the skin clear and kill the bacteria that cause folliculitis.


Some people suggest that turmeric may also help prevent folliculitis. As one review indicates, a compound in turmeric called curcumin is active against Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can lead to folliculitis.

Applying a paste of turmeric and water to the area each day may be a helpful natural remedy. Turmeric may temporarily dye the skin yellow, however.

It is worth noting, however, that most research into curcumin’s antibacterial properties has looked specifically at curcumin rather than turmeric.


Acetic acid, found in apple cider vinegar or household vinegar, is another natural antibacterial that may also help balance the skin. In one study, researchers reported that acetic acid reduced bacteria growth on burn wounds. They also found that the acid decreased bacterial growth in laboratory samples.

Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath may help fight the bacteria that cause folliculitis and keep the skin on the buttocks clear. It is worth noting that the research looked specifically at acetic acid and not at vinegar.

4. Using the right moisturizer

It is essential to keep the skin moist, but some moisturizers may do more harm than good by clogging the follicles and making pimples worse.

Non-greasy moisturizers that contain compounds, such as lactic acid, may prevent folliculitis in some people.

Lactic acid is a similar compound to salicylic acid, which is present in some acne treatments. It may help keep the skin moist while loosening and getting rid of dead skin cells.

Coconut oil may also make a good natural moisturizer to help soothe irritated skin.

5. Wearing loose, natural clothing

Gym clothing may help wick away sweat while a person works out, but it may also promote bacterial growth in all the wrong areas.

Tight gym clothing may also create more heat and friction, which could lead to clogged follicles or inflame the irritated area.

Aim instead for loose, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, or linen.

6. Applying a warm compress

Applying a warm washcloth may help open the follicles, allowing some pus and bacteria to drain away without popping any sores. Be sure to wash the area well after using a warm compress.

The warmth may also soothe sensitive, inflamed, or irritated skin.

7. Trying saltwater treatment

Salt water may help sterilize the area and treat minor infections.

Having a warm saltwater sitz bath is an excellent way to relieve, soothe, and clear the skin naturally.

Are Your Workouts Causing Butt Zits? You’re Not Alone

Oh, did you just assume acne was something you would kiss goodbye after your teenage years? Think again: Many adults experience breakouts on places other than their face, including their chest, back, and yep, even their butt—especially if they work out frequently. If you fall into this camp, the good news is you’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to treat and prevent breakouts on your backside (without giving up your fitness routine).

Board-certified dermatologist Deidre Hooper, M.D., sees patients with these pesky blemishes all the time. “Many patients often won’t mention them until I find them during a full-body skin check because they’re too embarrassed,” she says.

Why, oh why must they exist?

According to Hooper, one of the biggest causes of butt breakouts is staying in sweaty activewear long after you’ve finished your workout. Since sweat is warm and wet, it promotes the growth of bacteria and yeast on your clothes, which, combined with the tightness of the garment, causes friction to irritate the root of hair covering parts of your body such as your backside. (Gross.)

The combination of an irritated hair follicle with friction often leads to it becoming more inflamed, ultimately resulting in breakouts. This condition is called folliculitis, and it’s actually very common on body parts like the buttocks and back.

“Many people love to live in their workout clothes and get errands done immediately after exercising,” Hooper says. “But the best thing to do to prevent these breakouts is to shower right away to rinse off excess bacteria and then change into clean clothes immediately after working out.”

There’s also hope for treating existing booty bumps.

Believe it or not, most over-the-counter products aimed at treating breakouts on your face are just as safe to use on other parts of your body, Hooper says.

“A topical antibiotic prescription or an over-the-counter salicylic acid leave-on cream can help to soothe the skin, prevent overgrowth and calm inflammation,” she says. “Similarly, a benzoyl peroxide wash, such as PanOxyl or Proactiv, can limit bacteria already present on the body.

“Gentle versions of acne-fighting cleansers are a good option to avoid irritating and drying out the skin. Some people even have success with anti-dandruff shampoo because of its anti-yeast ingredients.”

But the same can’t be said for all prescription products.

Clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the USC Keck School of Medicine Nada Elbuluk, M.D., adds that while many over-the-counter products can effectively treat mild cases of acne on your backside, the same is not necessarily the case for all prescription products you may be using on your face.

“Retinoid treatments are one example of a product you wouldn’t want to use on other areas of your body because it would likely be way too harsh and irritating,” she says.

And scrubbing with that shower loofah is definitely not a good idea.

You may have also considered exfoliating your butt with a scrub, but experts say to proceed with caution with existing breakouts, as doing this can cause pigmentation and further irritation.

“Gentle exfoliation with a product containing salicylic acid can help to prevent acne, but once the acne is actually there, exfoliating can just make the skin more irritated and inflamed,” Elbuluk says.

“Physical exfoliants and scrubs can help smooth bumpy skin, but if you’re prone to hyperpigmentation or if you notice worse redness after exfoliating, switch to a skin-smoothing chemical exfoliant containing hydroxy acids, such as AmLactin,” Hooper says.

In some cases, what you wear is what matters.

Other possible causes of body breakouts could be an irritating fabric or a chemical or dye in the clothing. Although cotton is often recommended for everyday clothing, when it comes to working out, Hooper recommends sticking to sweat-wicking and dry-fit fabrics, including underwear, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate. These fabrics can help to release and evaporate sweat so it’s not sitting on your skin as long as it otherwise might.

“Keep in mind that this won’t solve the problem of friction promoting the growth and trapping of bacteria and yeast, so you should still be sure to change out of them immediately after working out,” Hooper says.

Another potential breakout trigger could be a fragrance or preservative in the laundry detergent you’re using. If you have sensitive skin, Hooper advises switching to a fragrance- or allergen-free version. Some gym-clothes-specific detergents like this one from Vapor Fresh are free of dyes, fragrances, brighteners, and softeners, which can help avoid irritation.

Still can’t seem to beat this literal pain in the butt?

Know that the golden rule of blemishes applies to your derriere too. “Don’t ever pick at your bumps. These scars tend to last longer than those on the face because the skin on your backside doesn’t heal as quickly, experience as much blood flow, or have as many hair follicles to act as sources for new skin cells,” Hooper says.

And if you’re already doing all of the right things but still feel like your bum is blemish-y, it might be time to wave the white flag and get some help.

“Some people are just more acne-prone than others and may be better off seeking expert advice right away,” Elbuluk says. “If you can tell your breakouts are more severe and you’re already experiencing scarring, visit a dermatologist as soon as possible to ensure you begin an appropriate regimen using an antibiotic cream or ointment in combination with the wash. If your case proves to be more severe, a dermatologist will likely have you start a regimen of oral antibiotics.”

Emilia Benton is a freelance writer and editor based in Houston, TX. An avid runner, she has finished nine marathons (and a couple dozen half-marathons). She also enjoys country music, baking, and traveling.

Why Do I Have Pimples on My Butt?

Many adults and babies have pimples on their butts—but don’t mistake those tiny bumps for acne. Instead, butt pimples are almost always a condition known as folliculitis, which occurs when hair follicles become inflamed and produce harmless, acne-like bumps on your derriere.

“Folliculitis can be caused by an infection from bacteria, yeast, or fungus, irritation of hair follicles, or a blockage of hair follicles,” board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Cruise told Fatherly. “It looks like a red, bumpy rash on the skin and is more likely to be itchy or irritating than painful. ”


Folliculitis is most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which is typically harmless and present on everyone’s skin. However, damp conditions can cause this bacteria to grow and infect hair follicles. Because staph bacteria and hair follicles are all over your body, folliculitis is not confined to the butt. At the same time, your behind is particularly vulnerable to irritation from fabrics and just warm, damp, dark, and sweaty enough to provide the perfect petri dish for staph.

There’s no particular reason to go to war against your butt pimples, but if you’re determined to get rid of them Cruise recommends a topical antibiotic cream, antibacterial body wash, and benzoyl peroxide (a lot of the same things used to tackle traditional acne). And showering after your workout or anytime you sweat, and wearing breathable, cotton clothing can help to prevent butt breakouts in the future.

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Butt acne is not a favorite topic of conversation, but hey, we all get it from time to time—or at least, we think we do. Whenever you experience bumpy texture or spots on your backside, you’re probably quick to assume it’s acne, right? I mean, after all, we get acne on our chests, on our scalps, and on our backs, so why would our butts be any different? But as it turns out, the butt acne you’re experiencing likely isn’t acne at all.

We turned to two board-certified dermatologists, Morgan Rabach, MD, and Shereene Idriss, MD, to explain to us this phenomenon and quite literally save our asses. Keep scrolling to find out what we learned, because it’s time to put your breakouts behind you.

Why am I getting pimples on my butt?

Dr. Rabach says “butt acne” is super common, but if you want to get technical (and we do), what you’re experiencing is likely folliculitis—not the same kind of acne you’d get on your face. “It’s an inflammation of the hair follicles,” says Dr.Idriss. So how can you tell if what you’re dealing with is folliculitis or acne? That leads us to the next question…

What does folliculitis look like?

The reason folliculitis and acne are easily confused for each other is because they look very similar, but there are a few key differences. As Dr. Rabach explains it, “Acne is defined by having comedones, which are blackheads and whiteheads. On the buttocks, you see folliculitis, which has a hair in the center of a red pimple, and the white material associated with the bump is often dead skin and white blood cells.” Yum. That said, there are instances where patients do get actual zits on their bums, which is why both Dr. Idriss and Dr. Rabach urge people to see a derm so you can find out exactly what’s going on.

What causes “acne” (aka folliculitis) on your butt?

In short, anything that causes friction can cause these butt bumps. And if you feel like your butt acne is more prevalent in the summer—exactly when you want to be showing off your bum—you’re not crazy. Wet clothes, like a bathing suit or sweaty workout leggings, are two main offenders that lead to folliculitis.

How do you get rid of pimples on your butt?

Dr. Idriss recommends cleansing with an acne wash that contains a high percentage of benzoyl peroxide, like PanOxyl, to kill any bacteria on the skin that could lead to bacterial folliculitis. And while you may be tempted to exfoliate the hell out of your bumpy butt, leave the grainy physical scrubs alone (and no picking, obvs). Instead, Dr. Idriss recommends wiping the area with a gentle chemical exfoliator, like an glycolic or salicylic acid pad, or an exfoliating lotion, like AmLactin, which helps keep dead skin cells from clogging your pores.

Clear Butt Breakouts With These 4 Products

Acne Wash PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash 10% Benzoyl Peroxide $22.13 Glycolic Acid Pads Cane and Austin Retexture Pad 10% $60.00 Salicylic Acid Pads Neutrogena Rapid Clear Treatment Pads with Salicylic Acid $7.38 Exfoliating Lotion AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion $15.99

However, Dr. Rabach says the best treatments for butt acne are available at your dermatologist’s office. She recommends Clindamycin lotion (an antibiotic that’s non-greasy and won’t stain clothes), and for the fastest results, a heavy-duty chemical peel.

How do I stop getting spots on my butt?

Now, let’s talk prevention. Dr. Rabach suggests switching to cotton underwear, which wicks away moisture better than nylon fabrics do. You should also wear moisture-wicking clothes whenever you work out and take them off as soon as you get home (same goes for your swimsuits), and if you can, shower right after the gym. Oh, and if a pair of pants rub you the wrong way, maybe chill on wearing them for a bit until you get everything under control.

Related Story Brooke Shunatona Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for Carly Cardellino Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan.

Unlike your face, which is on full display 365 days a year, your butt gets to go into hiding — until it’s time to wear a bathing suit..

Butt acne (or any acne on your body, for that matter) is uncomfortable. Just because you can more easily hide it, doesn’t make it any less frustrating or embarrassing. So what causes pimples to flare up down there? Surprisingly, butt acne is more common than you’d think, but the reasons it happens aren’t what you think.

Is butt acne like facial acne?

The short answer: No

To begin with, butt acne isn’t really acne, per se. While facial acne forms due to blocked pores, the zits that take up residence on your behind develop because of folliculitis, which typically results from irritation or blockage of hair follicles, staph bacteria, fungus, or yeast infecting your hair follicles. These pesky red bumps typically occur on the skin’s surface, and can be rather itchy. Now, here’s where it gets a little dicey: If left untreated, an infected hair follicle can swell to a large, painful, puss-filled carbuncle (boil) — and since that boil’s on your behind, it can be a literal pain in the you-know-what.

Why do butt breakouts happen and how do I treat them

In a nutshell, butt acne results from a multitude of factors — namely, bad hygiene, sweat, and tight-fitting clothes. The good news? These are all easily preventable causes!

Start giving the skin on your backside the same cleansing attention you give your face. Use a medicated body wash formulated with ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. The SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Wash, is formulated with one of our favorite BHA’s and gently exfoliates and unclogs pores, by clearing away oil, dead skin cells, and debris responsible for initially forming breakouts in the form of blackheads and whiteheads. The SLMD BP Body Wash is an anti-bacterial, acne fighting staple, that dives deep into pores to attack Propionibacterium acnes, the invaders that cause inflammatory breakouts. Stick to these ingredients, rather than going overboard using harsh scrubs and loofahs. You may think over-scrubbing will smooth your backside, but this can actually exacerbate the problem, increasing irritation and inflammation that could lead to hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and scarring.

Not surprisingly, sweat can play a large role in butt acne, so be sure to change out of your sweat-soaked clothing post-workout and if you can, take a shower right away. If you aren’t able to shower right away, a medicated body spray like SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Spray is great to have on hand to cleanse the surface of your skin, before you’re able to shower.

Tight clothing often exacerbates the butt acne problem (ie. skinny jeans and yoga pants); the tighter the clothing, the more it can push the bacteria that resides on top of your skin into any pores or breaks in the skin. Then, voila!, folliculitis. Even your underwear (think: skin-tight thongs) can be the culprit. Go with more breathable undergarments if bumps begin to appear.

Last, but not least: be weary that waxing can lead to folliculitis as well, so upon the first sight of bumps, take a break from hair removal until you’re all cleared up.

As you can see, body acne can have a multitude of culprits, but it IS treatable. If these bumps don’t clear up after trying the ingredients we recommended, it’s always a smart move to consult with your dermatologist to see if they have any other recommendations or prescriptions for you.

Polite conversation often excludes discussion one of summer’s most humbling skin-care woes. We’re talking about butt acne (or buttne). Yup, plain old pimples on your tush.

Because uncomfortable things happen to good people who exercise regularly, sweat often, and even shower with fabulous organic products, we offer a behind the scenes investigation on how this unsightly malady can happen anyway, and what to do about it.

The causes of butt acne

Summer temperatures
Non-wicking fabrics
Wearing thongs or going commando
Your bike seat
Perspiration left to dry on skin

1. Wash right after a work out with a mild salicylic-acid cleanser.

This helps prevent your posterior pores from clogging and becoming inflamed. According to Alexis Granite MD, a dermatologist at Tribeca Skin Center, the tush is more sensitive than the face (who knew?), and a bout of buttne yields best to a script for clindamycin.

2. Wear workout fabrics that wick—and granny panties or boy shorts.

Dr. Granite says these better buffer butt cheeks than thongs. “Another layer can help absorb sweat and protect the inflamed area.” (Even if it aggravates your case of visible panty line.)

3. Keep a pack of acne wipes in your bag.

Use them if there’s any significant lag time between, say, yoga class and your shower. These from Yes To (about $8) have salicylic acid in them.

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Talk about a (literal) pain in the you-know-what—butt acne is anything but cute and can seriously get in the way of your summertime activities.

Even more annoying: “Buttne” isn’t the same as the pimples that pop up on your face, making this type of acne tough to treat, even if you’ve figured out how to deal with your normal breakouts.

“Butt acne is usually not true acne, but rather folliculitis, which is a mild infection of the hair follicle that leads to red bumps and pus pimples,” explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York City.

But if it’s not a regular pimple, what causes butt acne?

Buttne is usually caused by a combination of your hair follicles getting blocked and a bacterial infection. But most of the time, you can blame your booty bumps on blocked hair follicles, says Gary Goldenberg, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. Here are a few reasons you might end up with clogged hair follicles—and they can range from the gross to the “wait, seriously?”

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1. Keeping your wet, sweaty clothes on after you’ve hit the gym: Your sweat can dry over your pores and leave bumps in their wake. Change your clothes (and your underwear) and hop in the shower ASAP after you work out. If you don’t have time for a full shower, do a quick cleanse with a wipe, like Degree Deodorant Wipes.

2. Sitting too much: Those inflamed hair follicles, a.k.a. folliculitis, are caused by friction or irritation. So too much booty-to-chair time can make things worse. “If your job requires a lot of sitting, make an effort to stand up more frequently,” says Mona Gohara, MD, dermatologist and a member of the Women’s Health advisory board.

3. Wearing undies past their prime: Changing your underwear regularly is crucial, since old underwear puts acne-promoting dirt, sweat, and oil up close and personal with your skin. Make sure to put on a fresh pair every day.

4. Wearing tight-fitting clothes: Yup, your go-to skinny jeans and leggings can actually influence whether you get butt acne. Tight-fitting clothes not only causes friction against your skin, but it also traps sweat and oil against your backside and makes it more likely to block those hair follicles, leading to bumps on your butt.

So you’ve got buttne—no biggie! Here are 7 ways to deal.

1. Hop in the shower right after exercising.

“Showering immediately after a workout can help remove sweat, oil, and dirt that accumulate on the surface of the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner.

2. Suds up with benzoyl peroxide.

Try targeting your booty with a benzoyl peroxide body wash or cleanser. The ingredient is effective in treating both acne and folliculitis because of its antimicrobial (a.k.a. bacteria-fighting) properties. “Sing the full alphabet once you’ve applied the product so it can sit on the skin long enough to do its job, then rinse it off,” advises Dr. Zeichner. (FYI: BP can bleach colored fabrics, so be sure to rinse thoroughly and use white towels!)

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser $7.99

3. Unclog pores with salicylic acid.

You can also combat your butt breakouts with a salicylic acid acne treatment. This form of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) can help remove excess oils and exfoliate dead skin cells so they don’t get trapped in your pores and follicles (which is how buttne starts).

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4. Brighten dark marks with glycolic acid.

This is another buttne-fighting ingredient. “It has the benefit of brightening dark spots, which may develop after pimples or folliculitis go away,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Skinfix Resurface+ Glycolic Renewing Scrub $30.00

5. Moisturize that peach.

You might assume using body lotion will clog your pores, but that’s not the case if you use a lactic-acid option. “Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps hydrate the skin and exfoliate dead cells,” Dr. Zeichner says. And when you get rid of dry skin cells, that helps prevent those bumps. (That’s why it also works for preventing keratosis pilaris, a.k.a. chicken skin.)

AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion $14.42

6. Shave the right way.

Yes, some people shave their butt. “If you shave, use at least a one- to two-blade razor and go with the grain of the hair instead of against it,” says Dr. Gohara. “And use ample shaving cream as well as a lubricant.”

7. Check in with a dermatologist.

If at-home solutions aren’t doing the trick, it might be time to make an appointment with a professional. “Your derm may suggest a topical or oral antibiotic,” says Dr. Gohara. “These can help decrease your skin’s inflammation and clear the folliculitis up.”

Celia Shatzman Celia Shatzman is a Brooklyn-based writer who has penned stories on topics ranging from fashion to travel to celebrities, entertainment, beauty, finance, health, and fitness. Maddie Aberman Beauty Editor Maddie Aberman is the beauty editor at Women’s Health and has been covering skincare, makeup, hair, and wellness for more than five years.

11 Signs Bumps & Blemishes Around Your Butt Are Normal Or Not

It may seem like an issue of out-of-sight-out-of-mind, but there are plenty of reasons to pay attention to your bum. This is especially true if you have bumps and blemishes on your butt, since these pimply issues can become painful and itchy. And on occasion, they might even be a sign of a more serious health condition.

That’s why, if anything happens to be bothering you in the buttocks region, you’ll want to let your doctor know. But don’t freak out — more than likely, these bumps won’t be anything worth worrying about. It’s pretty common to experience pimples on your butt cheeks, all thanks to sweat and friction that occurs in the area due to your clothes. If you have pimples, you can either ignore them, or treat them like you would regular acne on any other part of your body.

“I recommend topical medications in pad form because it makes it a little easier to reach places on your back and butt,” Dr. Neal Schultz, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. “Over-the-counter exfoliants like glycolic or salicylic are readily available in pad forms, as are topical antibiotics available by prescription.”

These treatments, whether they’re OTC or provided by your dermatologist, can help clear up the blemishes and make you feel way better. With that in mind, read on for a few more bumps that are totally normal, as well as ones you might need to pay more attention to.

1. Normal: A Red Rash After Using Cleansing Wipes

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If you just got back from the gym, you might freshen up your whole body (butt included) with a cleansing wipe. And while that’s fine, don’t be surprised if your skin gets abit bumpy and red as a result. “Wipes are super convenient, but because the chemicals are left behind on your skin, they can cause or allergic contact dermatitis,” Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle.

While contact dermatitis is usually nothing to worry about, it is worth preventing this itchy red rash whenever possible by switching up your post-gym cleansing methods. Shainhouse recommends avoiding products containing methylchloroisothiazolinone. And if you have the time, you should also rinse your skin with water so the chemicals don’t stick around.

2. Normal: Pimples On Your Butt

If you have little bumps on your cheeks, it could be due to a condition called folliculitis. “These pimple-like lesions can develop from friction, sweating and/or bacteria, and can be managed similar to acne,” Shainhouse says. These are the bumps you might notice cropping up on your skin if you walk a lot, sweat a lot, or exercise.

They may not be ideal, but the good thing is they’re usually easy to manage. “Prevent them by changing out of sweaty pants/underwear after working out and changing into a dry bathing suit after a dip in the pool,” Shainhouse says.

You can also use an antibacterial body wash in the shower, Shainhouse says, or treat them with an OTC benzoyl peroxide acne cream.

3. Normal: Red Bumps If You Have Acne-Prone Skin

If you have pimples on your face, shoulders, or back, chances are you’ll have them on your butt, too. And this is especially true since acne tends to crop up in areas that rub against clothing, which is highly likely in these areas.

“In someone prone to acne, anything that rubs against the acne-prone area of the body will induce breakouts in the affected areas,” Schultz says. Not only do clothes trap dirt and oil against your skin, but the friction does the added work of rubbing it all in, and causing inflammation.

While it’s nothing to worry about, it can be annoying or painful, and may even warrant a trip to your dermatologist. They can help clear up an acne issues in this area, and help you feel better.

4. Not Normal: A Purple Lump That Makes It Difficult To Sit Down

If it hurts to sit down, your butt is itchy, or you notice a purple lump protruding from your butt region, you might have a case of hemorrhoids. And that’s not something you should ignore.

“These are dilated blood vessels in the anus and rectum,” Shainhouse says. “These vessels can enlarge and engorge and often protrude from the anus (hard, purple lumps).”

If you’re pregnant or constipated, it can increase your chances of developing hemorrhoids. Other risk factors include sitting for long periods of time, eating a low-fiber diet, and having chronic diarrhea. While hemorrhoids will often go away on their own, especially if you use an OTC cream, Shainhouse says some do require surgery.

5. Not Normal: An Extremely Itchy Rash

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If you have extreme itchiness on your butt cheeks, it may be time to get checked for something called scabies. As Shainhouse says, scabies is caused by mites that burrow under the skin leading to a horrible case of itchiness — sometimes to the point you’ll have trouble sleeping at night.

“The itch will last until you treat the mites with a prescription cream, so see your dermatologist ASAP,” she says. And remember that it’s incredibly contagious, so tell your partner to get checked and treated, too. A doctor will have to diagnose the issue, and treatments include applying medication lotions, and washing all your clothes, towels, and bedsheets.

6. Not Normal: A Herpes-Like Bump On Your Buttocks

When you think of herpes, you might imagine the classic signs, such as a lip sore or bumps on the vulva or penis. And while those are signs of the virus, it’s important to remember it can crop up in other areas, too, such as the buttocks, anus, and thighs.

“If you have a painful ‘pimple’ that keeps popping up in the same place every once in a while, it may not be a ‘pimple,'” Shainhouse says. While there are other possible explanations, consider getting checked for this sexually transmitted infection, and if you have it, letting all partner(s) know.

While there is no cure for herpes, there are ways to manage your symptoms with antiviral medications, so go ahead and ask your doctor.

7. Not Normal: A Large, Tender Lesion

WAYHOME studio/

While it’s common to get pimples on your butt, you certainly don’t want to sit idly by while one grows to epic proportions. In fact, if you do have a large sore, it could be an abscess.

“This super-sized acne-like lesion often starts as a tender, pink bump on or under the skin, but rapidly becomes a large, painful, swollen lump,” Shainhouse says. And this is yet another skin issue you won’t want to ignore.

“The best treatment is to have it opened and drained by your doctor.” But until then, Shainhouse suggests using ice packs or warm compresses to soothe it at home. And whatever you do, don’t try to pop it.

8. Not Normal: Any Bumps That Are Warm Or Sore

If you have a bump on your butt (or anywhere, for that matter) that is warm to the touch, it’s definitely time to see your dermatologist so they can take a closer look and determine the cause.

“Any bump which is warm, swollen, painful, or leaks pus may be a severe deeper infection that needs oral antibiotics,” Dr. Sonam Yadav, a physician and medical director of Juverne Clinic, tells Bustle. So go get that checked right away.

It could be an infected pimple, or a more serious condition, such as cellulitis, which will need to be treated by a doctor. This is a skin infection caused by bacteria entering through a scratch other other wound, and typically affects the legs, buttocks, or head.

9. Not Normal: Moles That Are Changing Shape

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Even though your butt is covered most of the time, and thus protected from the sun’s damaging UV rays, it’s still an area you need to check for skin cancer. And this is especially true if a bump or mole in that area has started bothering you, changing shape, or otherwise feeling different.

“Any new moles/pigmented patches or a mole which is changing color/shape/size, oozing blood, newly itchy needs to be assessed,” Yadav says. “Skin cancer — especially melanoma — can appear anywhere, including the butt. A regular skin exam helps screen suspicious spots.”

From there, your doctor will have you come back for regular assessments, and let you know your best course of action.

10. Not Normal: Red Rashes Or Bite Marks

The butt area is a prime location for bites from ticks and bedbugs, Yadav says. If you’ve been outside, you’ll want to give yourself a once over (and take a shower) especially during tick season. And if you happen to notice the telltale signs of bedbugs, you’ll definitely want to investigate further.

These tiny parasites can live in your furniture and tend to bite while you’re asleep. You might not see them, but you’ll likely spot the aftermath, which can include red and itchy bite marks that often go in a line. If you’re allergic, you might even break out in blisters or hives.

This will obviously require a trip to the doctor, and you will need to do thorough a bedbug treatment for your apartment to get rid of them.

11. Not Normal: A Rash That Is Spreading

Ashley Batz/Bustle

Again, it can be tough to see what, exactly, is going on with your butt. But if you have annoying symptoms going on down below, it’ll be obvious when you need to take a peek in the mirror, and assess what’s going on.

If you spot an itchy arsh, Yadav says it could be a sign of a fungal infection, or even psoriasis. Whatever the case may be, your doctor will be able to provide treatment and get things feelin’ right again.

The last thing you want is to have pains (or blemishes) on your butt, especially since you need to sit on it. So do pay attention, and talk with a doctor, if any of these symptoms are bothering you.


Dr. Neal Schultz, a board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Sonam Yadav, physician and medical director of Juverne Clinic

Pimples on the butt can be a real pain in the a**. They are usually big, inflamed and are uncomfortable to sit on. But what causes butt acne and do you have to do the 10-step Korean skincare regime on your butt to make sure you don’t break out there?

We asked Dr Kevin Chua from Dr. Kevin Chua Medical & Aesthetics.

What causes butt acne or buttne?

According to Dr Chua, it’s caused by a skin condition known as folliculitis, which is “caused by irritation or infection by bacteria, yeast and fungus and can appear like rashes on the skin.” He adds, “The reason why it happens on the butt often at times is because the butt is typically hairier than the face and is more prone to pressure because you sit on it.”

Sweat is also another cause of buttne. Trapped sweat can irritate the follicles which, in turn, might result in pimples. He suggests using underwear made of Dry-Fit fabric or moisture-wicking cotton so sweat can evaporate quickly.

So… do you have to do that 10-step K-Beauty regime?

Good news: you don’t have to. In fact, don’t even exfoliate the area if you’re having a breakout. Dr Chua said that doing so can irritate the follicles and aggravate your condition. He said, “Over-the -counter creams or ointments that contain Benzoyl Peroxide or Lactic Acid solutions like U-Lactin and Am-Lactin may be good enough to help with inflammation.”

But only use those if your blemish is a blackhead, whitehead or zit. “Nodules (the large inflamed bumps that feel almost rock-solid) and cyst inflammations on the other hand, might require a dermatologist because removing them yourself will likely cause scarring or make them worse and result in an abscess.”

So you’ve put the cream and it looks ripe. Should you squeeze the pimple?

“No. Resist the urge! Squeezing them results in swelling and an increase in blood flow, which potentially may make it worse. Exercise patience and a clean diet with lots of water and visit a doctor for an antibiotic ointment.”

And to avoid aggravating your condition, avoid putting direct pressure on the pimple as far as possible and if you find yourself getting a lot of pimples often on your butt area, consult a doctor, as oral medication can help control the breakout and reduce the swelling.

Once you’ve tackled the problem, all that’s left is to minimise the marks left by the blemishes.

Dr Chua suggests eating foods that are rich in Vitamins A, C and E, such as eggs, citrus fruits and dark greens to promote cell turnover and collagen production.

If your acne scarring is more severe, you might need laser procedures, such as PicoWay. “PicoWay uses high-power concentration of energy to shatter the smallest amount of pigmentation and stimulate collagen production that will help to heal, repair and rebuild new cells and rid scars for good.”

More from CLEO:
Surprising Things That May Cause The Shape Of Your Breasts To Change
Serum For Your Vulva: Is It Safe For Use, And Will It Work?
Ask A Doctor: What Does It Mean When My A**hole Is Itchy?

How to prevent bumps on buttocks

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