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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 zits, 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 hair follicles.

What causes folliculitis on the butt?

The causes and triggers of folliculitis are quite different from regular acne typically experienced on the face, typically related to genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance.

The main cause of acne on the body—specifically, pimples on the butt, i.e., folliculitis—is chronic friction on the skin. Often this can be the result of wearing sweaty tight clothing. Individual folliculitispimples” are typically small, reddish bumps, which are frequently itchy or even painful. In more severe cases, folliculitis can develop into larger—cyst-like bumps.

The butt area's red bumps are frequently caused by a combination of the regular acne bacteria and the staph aureus bacteria.

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

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

Yes, it’s sad but true...the sacrifices we make for clear skin! The best way to avoid any acne is to start with preventative measures. One of the most effective ways to prevent butt acne is to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing.

One of the worst offenders of folliculitis is those skinny jeans. The coarse, tight-fitting fabric rub against your skin throughout the day. Sweaty exercise clothes can also cause folliculitis pimples to pop up on your behind. Ensure 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 medicated body cleanser that contains salicylic acid (2% preferred). Regular use of this 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, 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 as Selsun Blue or Nizoral shampoo that you can easily find on amazon.

Best treatments for pimples on the buttocks infographics

What is the best way to get rid of butt acne?

To get rid of your butt acne (folliculitis) faster, you would need to add a medical-grade acne treatment cream to your body skincare routine.

The best over-the-counter medications for acne on the body, including acne on the buttocks, are benzoyl peroxide (5%) and salicylic acid (2%). For the best results, look for something that combines medical-grade ingredients and natural boosters to improve efficacy, soothe the skin, and reduce irritation. For example, Australian tea tree oil is great for treating folliculitis because it helps fight bacteria and fungal infections. Combining powerful anti-acne medications and these natural boosters are much more effective than the individual ingredients alone.

What are the best natural remedies for butt acne?

Home remedies seem appealing, but unfortunately, these are usually less effective than medical-grade acne medications. Having said that, the combination of pharmaceutical-grade ingredients such as salicylic acid and the antibacterial benzoyl peroxide could be very beneficial for the treatment of bumps or butt and other areas on the body.

When you are looking for body treatment cream with natural plant-based ingredients, look for creams that include Tea tree oil (potent antimicrobial and antifungal), Green tea extract (helps lighten pigmentation and boosts skin's natural healing), Cucumber extract (enhances the natural protective layer and decreases sebum production) and Licorice extract that helps prevent and fade after acne brown spots.

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

As with all acne forms, the best way to prevent dark, post-acne spots (hyperpigmentation) and acne scars is to prevent 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 it helps clear up hyperpigmentation and dark spots here.

Best tips for people with Butt acne (buttne)

Shower and change to clean cloth after immediate sports. Wet, sweaty clothes combined with the dead skin cells form a compact plug that will clog your skin pores and make your body acne and butt acne worse if you can change your clothes and underwear) as soon as you possibly can after you work out.

Do not sit too much!

Rubbing your butt skin against the seat, mixed with some sweat and heat, is one of the leading causes of acne on your buttocks if you can spend more time standing and walking around.

Never wear your underwear past its prime

Same as your sweaty sports clothing. Accumulating dirt, sweat, and oil, rubbing on your skin is a greater promoter of butt acne.

Avoid tight-fitting pants

Tight clothing rub on your skin and trap sweat and oil against your skin. All combined, it can clog your skin pores and cause inflammation around your hair follicle = body acne.

Never use loofahs or harsh scrubbing spas on your skin.

These rough methods of cleansing can cause butt acne flare-ups. Loofahs will damage the protective layer of your skin and frequently cause acne to be worse. The same is true for exfoliating body washes. Trying to remove dead skin cells for the skin on this area will cause more butt breakouts and more red bumps.

Does waxing cause butt acne?

Yes, it does. Waxing can lead to clogging of the hair follicles, more butt acne flare-ups, and, ultimately, skin hyperpigmentation. Better ways to remove hair from these areas are with shaving or sugaring.

Wash your skin with a mild medicated salicylic acid cleanser

Cleanser with salicylic acid 2% is the best cleanser for butt acne. The salicylic acid in these cleansers will remove excess oil from your skin, unclog your skin pores, and reduce the redness associated with acne without over-irritating the skin.

Use micronized Benzoyl Peroxide.

Benzoyl peroxide creams (not gels or lotions ) are the best topical agents for treating body and butt acne. Benzoyl peroxide effectively treats both true acne and folliculitis because it has antimicrobial (a.k.a. bacteria-fighting) properties to help disinfect the area. Beware that benzoyl peroxide can bleach colored fabrics, so be sure to rinse thoroughly and use white towels!).

Always Moisturizer

One of the underrated secrets of ineffective acne treatment is the need to moisturize. With the right oil-free moisturizer, your acne pimples heal faster without clogging your skin pores. The best moisturizers for acne-prone skin and body and butt acne will include plant-based ingredients to help reduce redness and fade post-acne dark spots.

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

To find the right acne treatments for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by clicking here.

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