How to Get Rid of Pimples on the Butt

Woman wearing a bikini on the beach with sand on her butt

What is butt acne?

These annoying pimples on your buttocks may look (and feel) like pimples but they’re actually a bit different than standard acne, typically found on the face as well as other areas of the body. A better—more accurate—name for butt acne is, “folliculitis”, which is the medical term for inflammation around a hair follicle.

What causes folliculitis on the butt?

The causes and triggers of folliculitis are quite different than for regular acne typically experienced on the face, which is typically related to genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. The main cause of acne on the body—more specifically, pimples on the butt, i.e. folliculitis—is chronic friction on the skin. Often this can be the result of wearing tight, and/or sweaty clothing. Individual folliculitis “pimples” are typically small, reddish bumps, which are frequently itchy or even painful. In more severe cases, folliculitis can develop into larger. cyst-like bumps.

What is the best way to prevent acne on the buttocks?

Woman wearing jeans, which can cause butt acne (i.e. folliculitis) by causing friction on the skin

The best way to avoid any type of acne is start with preventative measures. One of the most effective ways to prevent butt acne is to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing. Yes, it’s sad but true...the sacrifices we make for clear skin! One of the worst offenders of folliculitis is jeans due to the coarse, tight-fitting fabric rubbing against your skin throughout the day. Sweaty exercise clothes can also cause folliculitis pimples to pop up on your behind. Make sure your clothes are fresh and clean and make sure you change out of sweaty sports clothes ASAP.

What’s the best way to cleanse acne on your buttocks?

One of the best ways to treat butt acne is by washing with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid (2% preferred). Regular use of this kind of cleanser will help unclog your skin’s pores and effectively remove dirt and sweat without over-drying your skin. Try not to scrub or use exfoliating tools or products on your butt acne as these can actually make your butt acne worse and ultimately lead to more scars and dark spots (i.e. hyperpigmentation). As some of the cases of butt folliculitis are caused by a fungus (pityrosporum) it’s a good idea to wash your buttocks 2-3 a week with an anti-dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue or Nizoral.

What is the best treatment for acne on the buttocks?

Australian tea tree oil, which can help combat butt acne (i.e. folliculitis) when combined with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

In order to improve your butt acne (folliculitis) faster, it’s also a good idea to add a medical-grade acne treatment cream to your routine that includes either benzoyl peroxide (5%) or a salicylic acid (2%). Look for something that combines both medical grade ingredients and natural boosters to help improve efficacy, soothe the skin, and reduce irritation. For example, Australian tea tree oil is great for treating folliculitis because it helps fight both bacteria and fungal infections. The combination of powerful anti-acne medications and these natural boosters is much more effective than the individual ingredients alone.

What’s the best way to get rid of dark spots (hyperpigmentation) on the butt?

As with all forms of acne, the best way to prevent dark, post-acne spots (hyperpigmentation) and acne scars is to prevent any future breakouts. However, once your folliculitis is under control using the tips above (hooray!), you can use a topical dark spot corrector, preferably one containing hydroquinone (2%) to help fade the dark spots over time. Learn more about hydroquinone and how helps fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots here.

Questions about butt acne? Download the MDacne app and ask a dermatologist on our team!

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