How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

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When the weather starts to heat up, some people may get stressed over showing more skin — especially if one’s prone to body breakouts or pimples on the butt. And well, while it may sound embarrassing, just know that it’s completely normal and you’re far from alone.

Symptoms, treatment options, and personal experiences for various physical, mental, and health conditions and concerns.

So, if you’re looking for a way to avoid the kind of lumps Fergie wasn’t talking about, we’ve got you. We spoke to New York City-based cosmetic dermatologists to learn how to get rid of butt acne once and for all.

Calling all opinionated beauty lovers: We want to know which products you can’t live without! Take our annual poll to pick the top hair, makeup, nail, and skin-care products that deserve our coveted Readers’ Choice seal.

What is butt acne?

Most importantly you should know that, typically, breakouts on your butt aren’t actually acne. “Butt acne is not truly acne — it is, in fact, most often due to inflammation around hair follicles known as folliculitis, or an irritation secondary to chronic rubbing, which can come with wearing tight-fitting clothes or even waxing,” says Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist at the Union Square Laser Dermatology.

An easy way to tell if it’s folliculitis, which is truly an infection of the hair follicle, is how it feels, along with its placement on the body, says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. These bumps usually appear as small, shallow lumps, which tend to be itchy or painful. When irritated, they can develop into larger, cyst-like clusters.

How do you treat butt breakouts?

First and foremost, clean up the area. “Washing regularly with benzoyl peroxide (like the Murad Clarifying Cleanser, which is formulated with salicylic acid and green tea to soothe, helps keep pesky bacteria at bay, decreasing your chances of developing a bacterial folliculitis,” says Idriss. “Folliculitis, however, is not always due to bacteria alone; it can also be caused by a fungus.”

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

So, what should you do if a fungus is the culprit? According to Zeichner]), you’ll need to get your hands on an anti-fungal medication, as folliculitis caused by a fungus will not improve or clear up if you use an acne treatment.

He also has another potentially easy fix for you. “If you suspect fungal folliculitis, you can even try your dandruff shampoo as a liquid cleanser to the affected area,” he says. “Apply, let it sit while you sing the alphabet and then rinse off. It needs enough contact time with the skin for it to exert its job.”

What shouldn’t you do when treating pimples on your butt?

Physically exfoliating the inflamed area is a no-no, says Idriss. “Please stop scrubbing, whether with a scrub or a loofah,” she tells Allure. “People often think they are doing themselves a favor by doing this because it makes their rear end feel — key word — smoother. In reality, they are just worsening the inflammation, which could lead to potential scarring and hyperpigmentation.”

Your SoulCycle sweat sessions aren’t helping either, says Idriss. “A sweaty environment and chronic rubbing due to cycling is a recipe for disaster,” she says. After a workout, be sure to hop out of your drenched duds, wipe yourself off, and change into a more breathable outfit.

“Waxing should also be avoided as it can lead to further obstruction of hair follicles, worsening of inflammation, and subsequent pigmentation,” says Idriss. Instead, consider investing in a more durable razor or consider another form of hair removal, like sugaring.

What can you do to ensure that you don’t get hyperpigmentation on your behind?

Once you stop scrubbing, you reduce the risk of developing dark spots. “Hyperpigmentation can be avoided with less manipulation and more therapeutic treatment,” she says.

That being said, be sure to moisturize your backside with gentle cream exfoliators with lactic acid, such as AmLactin, or a urea-based cream, such as PurSources 40 percent Urea Foot Cream.

How can you prevent a butt breakout?

If you’re prone to irritations, regular use of gentle exfoliators, such as salicylic acid or lactic acid, helps keep your skin surface smooth and avoids buildups. In general, if you are prone to sweating, keep your tush clean and dry — and if you do get folliculitis, don’t wait to get it treated.” (We love the salicylic-acid-spiked Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment Acne).

If all else fails, speak with your dermatologist who can better find a treatment for your specific breakout concern.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Now check out more stories about how to combat breakouts:

Done reading? Watch 100 years of acne treatments:

Listen to The Science of Beauty: Pores episode to learn how to minimize pores, and about the best pore treatments for blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne, and extractions.

Bumps on your bum? No problem.

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

ICYMI: Booty beauty is a thing. But not everyone’s bum is a perfectly round peach — most of us have cellulite, scarring, and even a little thing called butt acne, also known as buttne, which is totally normal!

What Causes Butt Acne?

“[Butt acne is] probably more triggered by tight clothing which leads to irritation of hair follicles, and clogging of pores just like acne in other more common areas such as the face and the back and the chest,” says Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, celebrity dermatologist and founder of SLMD Skincare. “It’s not your fault — you’re not unclean. Some people just get it, you’re not alone!”

But, if the going gets tough on your rump, Dr. Lee has good news for you: In most cases, butt acne can be treatable!

“Acne can be treated on the buttock area, similarly to how you treat other areas of the body such as the face or trunk area,” she says. “In fact, you can probably be a little more aggressive, use higher-strength anti-acne products, since dryness, redness, and irritation from acne medications is usually more tolerable in that area. Also, the skin is ‘tougher’ in this area and can tolerate higher-strength products.”

For your gluteus maximus, Dr. Lee recommends using acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.

Now that you’ve got the low-down on this cheeky subject, take a look at these booty-boosting butt acne treatments below:

The Best Butt Acne Treatments

  • Best Overall:Green Heart Labs Brilliant Booty Kit With Butt Acne Clearing Lotion
  • Most Intensive Treatment:Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body Wash
  • Best Cleanser:Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap
  • Best Sheet Mask:BAWDY Bite It Plant-Based Collagen Butt Mask
  • Best Body Scrub:Neutrogena Body Clear Oil-Free Acne Body Scrub
  • Best Mud Mask:Anese Down With the Thickness Collagen Booty Mask
  • Best Moisturizer:AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion
  • Best Body Spray:SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Body Spray
  • Best Exfoliating Pads:Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads
  • Best Cleansing Wipes:Obagi Acne Cleansing Wipes
  • Best Spot Treatment:Glossier Zit Stick

How We Chose

I will be the first to admit that I get the occasional booty blemish that needs some extra TLC. So, when the going gets rough on my bum, these tried-and-true products are the ones that seem to work the best on my booty acne. But don’t just take my word for it: These cheeky products for your tuchus have rave reviews on Amazon, Ulta, Sephora, and more.

Experts explain what’s causing your butt acne—and how to clear up the bumps for good.

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

In a perfect world, your butt would be baby smooth. In reality, butt acne happens to pretty much everyone.

Butt acne (or buttne, as it’s sometimes called) is simply a “collection of pimples” on your backside, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “These lesions usually appear as red and inflamed whiteheads,” he says.

More common, though, is a condition known as folliculitis, a superficial infection of the hair follicles that often show up as red spots on the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

So what’s behind those pesky spots forming on your butt, and what can you do to make them go away ASAP? (Asking for a friend.) Here, everything you need to know about what causes butt acne and and how to get rid of it.

What causes pimples on your butt, exactly?

Whether you’re dealing with actual zits or folliculitis, you can usually blame the bumps on a range of factors, including lots of moisture (think: hanging out in a wet swimsuit or sweaty workout leggings), excess friction from tight-fitting clothing, sitting for prolonged periods of time, and improper showering and cleansing of your backside, says Dr. Goldenberg says.

Wait, what does folliculitis look like compared to actual pimples?

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Your average pimple presents as a singular red, swollen whitehead. Folliculitis, on the other hand, typically develops in a cluster of small red or white-headed bumps around your hair follicles (like the image above). They can sometimes fill with pus, feel itchy or tender, break open and crust over, or become a bit swollen.

Can “pimples” on your butt ever be a sign of something more serious?

It’s easy to assume that bumps on your butt are

butt acne, but it’s also easy to mistake them for bug bites, says Dr. Goldenberg. While butt acne is usually harmless, in some extreme cases, the infection can spread to the underlying tissue and cause you to develop a staph infection, he says, which can be life-threatening if left untreated for too long. Staph infections from butt acne are rare, but if you notice extreme pain at the site and you have a fever, call your doctor ASAP.

How to get rid of pimples on your butt

There are a few ways to tackle butt acne—and picking at it is not one of them. If you notice a pimple or folliculitis flare up, Dr. Goldenberg recommends using an acne wash with salicylic acid on the area to remove excess oil on the skin to help dry out the pimples.

A face wash is great and “can be used on your other set of cheeks as well,” Dr. Zeichner says. Medicated pads containing salicylic acid are also a “great option,” he adds, or you can use a gentle exfoliating lotion that contains the ingredient.

If you’re not seeing results, you can also try a wash or pad that contains benzoyl peroxide (which kills bacteria), as well as glycolic or lactic acids (which have similar exfoliating properties as salicylic acid).

Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology and works as a practicing dermatologist and clinical professor.

If you have what looks like butt acne—pimple-like bumps on your rear end—rest assured such breakouts are not the same as the acne vulgaris that appears on the face and upper body. What you’re dealing with is likely one of three common skin conditions:

  • Folliculitis, an inflammation of hair follicles that may or may not be uncomfortable, but that can become infected by organisms that live on the skin, such as the Staphylococcusaureus bacterium, yeasts, or fungi
  • Contact dermatitis, an allergic skin rash that may be a reaction to an irritant such as scented laundry supplies or preservatives in flushable wipes.  
  • Keratosis pilaris, caused by a buildup of keratin around the pore opening

Regardless of the cause, there are multiple effective ways to deal with “butt acne” at home.

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Verywell / Ellen Lindner

Loosen Your Clothing

Yoga pants, jeggings, skin-tight jeans, and other close-fitting bottoms can trap moisture against the skin and trigger folliculitis. Limit how often you wear tight bottoms or for how long you wear them—for example, change out of sweaty yoga pants as soon as you can after your hot yoga class.

Polyester, nylon, and silk underwear also can contribute to a buildup of moisture, so even if you’re wearing a skirt or loose shorts made of cotton you may be setting yourself up for folliculitis in hot, humid conditions. Opt for cotton or moisture-wicking athletic underwear instead.

Shower ASAP After Exercise

Sweat that gets trapped against the skin and then dries can be highly irritating to hair follicles and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Try to schedule workouts and other physical activities so that you can get in a shower immediately after. Don’t stop by the grocery store or the library until you’ve lathered up and changed clothes.

Biking, rowing, spin classes, and other activities that are performed while sitting can create friction on the skin of the buttocks that may exacerbate butt acne. In these cases, it may be best to switch to an alternative activity until the breakout heals.

Experts explain what’s causing your butt acne—and how to clear up the bumps for good.

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

In a perfect world, your butt would be baby smooth. In reality, butt acne happens to pretty much everyone.

Butt acne (or buttne, as it’s sometimes called) is simply a “collection of pimples” on your backside, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “These lesions usually appear as red and inflamed whiteheads,” he says.

More common, though, is a condition known as folliculitis, a superficial infection of the hair follicles that often show up as red spots on the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

So what’s behind those pesky spots forming on your butt, and what can you do to make them go away ASAP? (Asking for a friend.) Here, everything you need to know about what causes butt acne and and how to get rid of it.

What causes pimples on your butt, exactly?

Whether you’re dealing with actual zits or folliculitis, you can usually blame the bumps on a range of factors, including lots of moisture (think: hanging out in a wet swimsuit or sweaty workout leggings), excess friction from tight-fitting clothing, sitting for prolonged periods of time, and improper showering and cleansing of your backside, says Dr. Goldenberg says.

Wait, what does folliculitis look like compared to actual pimples?

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Your average pimple presents as a singular red, swollen whitehead. Folliculitis, on the other hand, typically develops in a cluster of small red or white-headed bumps around your hair follicles (like the image above). They can sometimes fill with pus, feel itchy or tender, break open and crust over, or become a bit swollen.

Can “pimples” on your butt ever be a sign of something more serious?

It’s easy to assume that bumps on your butt are

butt acne, but it’s also easy to mistake them for bug bites, says Dr. Goldenberg. While butt acne is usually harmless, in some extreme cases, the infection can spread to the underlying tissue and cause you to develop a staph infection, he says, which can be life-threatening if left untreated for too long. Staph infections from butt acne are rare, but if you notice extreme pain at the site and you have a fever, call your doctor ASAP.

How to get rid of pimples on your butt

There are a few ways to tackle butt acne—and picking at it is not one of them. If you notice a pimple or folliculitis flare up, Dr. Goldenberg recommends using an acne wash with salicylic acid on the area to remove excess oil on the skin to help dry out the pimples.

A face wash is great and “can be used on your other set of cheeks as well,” Dr. Zeichner says. Medicated pads containing salicylic acid are also a “great option,” he adds, or you can use a gentle exfoliating lotion that contains the ingredient.

If you’re not seeing results, you can also try a wash or pad that contains benzoyl peroxide (which kills bacteria), as well as glycolic or lactic acids (which have similar exfoliating properties as salicylic acid).

And the best products for the job.

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Look: Butt pimples happen. Even though no one else will see the zits on that part of your body (unless you’re wearing a cheeky swimsuit), they’re annoying — your bum is supposed to have untouched-by-the-sun, soft AF skin. And so: Want to know how to get rid of pimples on your butt? Dermatologists are sharing all the intel you need.

What’s interesting about butt breakouts is that they’re not actually considered acne. “They usually represent a condition called folliculitis rather than true acne,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. The pesky zit appearance comes from inflammation of the hair follicle, he explains, and can show up for all sorts of reasons. “Friction, sweat, and humidity disrupt the outer skin layer, allowing bacteria to enter into the follicles and cause a superficial infection,” says Zeichner.

While these pimply bumps are certainly not desirable, the silver lining is that they’re extremely common and often harmless. “It’s nothing to be panicked about, but it can cause a lot of discomfort and can frankly be embarrassing for people,” says Dr. Seemal Desai, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Plano, Texas. The only time to be concerned? “If you’re getting a lot of very painful lesions on the buttocks — the ones that almost resemble small boils — they can sometimes get really big and cause larger infections like a pilonidal abscess,” says Desai. “In that case, it’s really important to see a board-certified dermatologist to get evaluated.

As for how to quash them so your butt is smooth and healthy? Read on for the star ingredients to look for, along with editor-approved products that do the caboose zit-zapping job.

How To Treat Butt Pimples

The most important thing in your butt pimple treatment is to keep your pores clean, which means ridding the area of any bacteria that can exacerbate your inflamed follicles or lead to even more zits. Both Zeichner and Desai highly recommend using products that contain benzoyl peroxide, a potent acne fighter that targets inflammation.

“Benzoyl peroxide treats not only acne-causing bacteria, but will also lower other bacteria on the skin like Staph, which is the bug most often responsible for folliculitis on the buttocks,” says Zeichner, who recommends applying it all over the bum before bed (just note it can bleach dark fabrics, so stick to pajamas you’re not a big fan of). You could also just use a BP-based cleanser for less of a mess — Desai says there are plenty of body washes and bar soaps that contain the active ingredient and have the same zit-quashing effect.

Also key? Exfoliate. “I recommend a gentle exfoliating cleanser to remove dead cells and keep the pores clear,” says Zeichner. These can contain ingredients like salicylic acid or fruit-based chemical exfoliants (think glycolic or malic acids). Desai is a fan of salicylic as it breaks down oil and debris in your hair follicles. If you’re going this route, be sure to use this type of treatment a few days a week, depending on your skin type.

When moisturizing, steer clear of any comedogenic (read: pore-clogging) ingredients. “Be careful with moisturizers,” says Desai. “When you’re putting them on the buttocks, you don’t want them to be occlusive, so avoid anything heavy like petrolatum jelly-based products.” These can plug your follicles and lead to even more breakouts.

As for what to buy, these are the top butt pimple treatments I’ve personally tried that do the trick (and have expert-approved ingredients). Read on to shop.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

You’ll be in short-shorts in no time!

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Ask any pubescent teen or stressed out working adult: Facial acne is one of life’s greatest nuisances. Now imagine how much more annoying it is when you develop acne all over your body, including your derrière, especially when the season of wearing less and going out more is almost upon us. While butt acne is as uncomfortable to discuss as facial acne, it’s also very common and can be treated and prevented with a few tips and tricks from the pros. No need to panic, dermatologist Dr. Deanne Robinson has all the answers.

What is butt acne?

First things first, butt acne is a common skin condition with its own fancy medical name called folliculitis. It looks a lot similar to the regular acne that appears on your face or chest, but it’s an entirely different condition. Folliculitis is “an inflammation of the hair follicle caused by a fungal or bacterial infection (most commonly the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria) or irritation,” Dr. Robinson explains. It’s easy to spot these bumps, as they appear as shallow red bumps at the skin’s surface, which can either show up as a single bump or a cluster. “They may be itchy, and if the bacteria spreads, it may form a deeper boil or cluster of boils which can be painful,” she adds.

What actually causes pimples on your bum?

When bacteria gets trapped in the little tiny hairs on your bum, the skin around the hair becomes inflamed and causes bumps. “A breakout is usually triggered by friction, and environments that foster bacteria—damp, suffocating fabrics—which is why it’s more common to see flares in the summer months or for those who work out and don’t shower immediately afterward,” Dr. Robinson says. A common culprit? Workout leggings, as its the closet to the body and often trap in sweat.

How can you prevent butt acne?

Dr. Robinson suggests keeping your skin clean and dry as much as you can. “Change out of damp clothes as soon as possible and wash your body,” she says. Of course, using the right body wash can help keep the area clean and breakout free. Once your body is cleansed, Dr. Robinson advises using a noncomedogenic lotion “and let it fully dry before getting dressed to not trap moisture.”

For those who work out often, Arm & Hammer Invisible Body Powder Spray will be the star of your gym bag. “It contains baking soda and odor neutralizing ingredients to absorb moisture and sweat,” Dr. Robinson explains. “Spray it on before putting on workout leggings, shorts, etc.”

What should you avoid using when treating it?

Never, ever pick at the bumps. Also, using physical exfoliants can make your condition even worse. “Don’t scrub and exfoliate with a physical exfoliator that contains microbeads because it can cause bacteria to spread, as well as further inflammation and irritation and well as long term scarring.”

What types of products can you use to treat folliculitis?

The same way you’d treat your facial acne is the same approach you should have for your butt. “Look for the same active ingredients as you would for fighting acne on the face, including the skin heroes salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide,” Dr. Robinson says.

Experts explain what’s causing your butt acne—and how to clear up the bumps for good.

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

In a perfect world, your butt would be baby smooth. In reality, butt acne happens to pretty much everyone.

Butt acne (or buttne, as it’s sometimes called) is simply a “collection of pimples” on your backside, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. “These lesions usually appear as red and inflamed whiteheads,” he says.

More common, though, is a condition known as folliculitis, a superficial infection of the hair follicles that often show up as red spots on the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

So what’s behind those pesky spots forming on your butt, and what can you do to make them go away ASAP? (Asking for a friend.) Here, everything you need to know about what causes butt acne and and how to get rid of it.

What causes pimples on your butt, exactly?

Whether you’re dealing with actual zits or folliculitis, you can usually blame the bumps on a range of factors, including lots of moisture (think: hanging out in a wet swimsuit or sweaty workout leggings), excess friction from tight-fitting clothing, sitting for prolonged periods of time, and improper showering and cleansing of your backside, says Dr. Goldenberg says.

Wait, what does folliculitis look like compared to actual pimples?

How to get rid of acne on the buttocks

Your average pimple presents as a singular red, swollen whitehead. Folliculitis, on the other hand, typically develops in a cluster of small red or white-headed bumps around your hair follicles (like the image above). They can sometimes fill with pus, feel itchy or tender, break open and crust over, or become a bit swollen.

Can “pimples” on your butt ever be a sign of something more serious?

It’s easy to assume that bumps on your butt are

butt acne, but it’s also easy to mistake them for bug bites, says Dr. Goldenberg. While butt acne is usually harmless, in some extreme cases, the infection can spread to the underlying tissue and cause you to develop a staph infection, he says, which can be life-threatening if left untreated for too long. Staph infections from butt acne are rare, but if you notice extreme pain at the site and you have a fever, call your doctor ASAP.

How to get rid of pimples on your butt

There are a few ways to tackle butt acne—and picking at it is not one of them. If you notice a pimple or folliculitis flare up, Dr. Goldenberg recommends using an acne wash with salicylic acid on the area to remove excess oil on the skin to help dry out the pimples.

A face wash is great and “can be used on your other set of cheeks as well,” Dr. Zeichner says. Medicated pads containing salicylic acid are also a “great option,” he adds, or you can use a gentle exfoliating lotion that contains the ingredient.

If you’re not seeing results, you can also try a wash or pad that contains benzoyl peroxide (which kills bacteria), as well as glycolic or lactic acids (which have similar exfoliating properties as salicylic acid).