Why You Get Pimples on Your Butt and What It Means
Is Your Butt Acne Actually Acne?
The red bumps on your butt are likely caused by folliculitis, a condition that happens when bacteria gets into your hair follicles. The bumps can be itchy and occasionally painful. Most of all, however, they're annoying. How do you get rid of them?
What's Causing It
- Dry skin—The skin on the butt is very sensitive to lack of moisturizing, and pores on dry skin easily clog. Since your bum is in constant contact with clothing, it is easily prone to irritation.
- Tight clothes—Tight clothing that isn't breathable, such as yoga pants or synthetic underwear, can trap sweat and bacteria against the skin and cause irritation.
- Sweat—Staying in your gym clothes keeps the bacteria and sweat right against your skin, allowing it to enter your pores and start causing problems.
How to Get Rid of It
Luckily, many of the common causes of those annoying red pimples are easy to take care of with a few lifestyle changes.
- Wash your bum regularly (daily) with anti-bacterial soap.
- Try using a body wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
- Wear clean clothes to the gym and shower and change right after working out.
- Use an ointment or lotion with tea tree oil, which has been proven to have antibacterial properties. Zinc creams (such as Calamine lotion) can also be helpful.
- Use hypo-allergenic body products and detergents that are more suitable for sensitive skin and don't have harsh chemicals or fragrances.
- Moisturize regularly—try a lotion with lactic acid in it. It doesn't smell great, but will help treat the bacteria causing the bumps.
- Wear clean, cotton loose-fitting clothing on your bum whenever possible.
- Avoid sitting for too long and give your bum a breather every now and then.
- Sitting on a hot, damp towel for 15 - 20 minutes before you shower can help open your pores to scrub away the yuck. You could also take a warm bath.
- Exfoliate your bum gently once or twice a week. You could use a pad treated with salicylic acid for this. Don't overdo it though—irritation can make the bumps worse.
- Stop using heavy lotions or oils on your butt. These could be clogging your pores. Switch up your routine and see if the bumps go away.
- Drink more water to help flush toxins out of your body.
- Whatever you do, don't pop the pimples! This can make them even more inflamed and lead to spreading infection.
Medications That Might Help
What Is It?
How to Use
Topical antiseptic used to treat mild to moderate acne
Buy it as a cleanser, cream, body wash, or lotion. Overuse can cause dry skin
Substance used to treat mild to moderate acne
Buy in exfoliating pads, creams, lotions, or cleansers. Overuse can cause dry skin
Tea Tree Oil
Substance derived from leaves of the tea tree; Can be used to fight acne
Buy in a cleanser, lotion, creams, ointments, or oils
Humectant (something that increases amount of water in the skin)
Buy it in a lotion
Element with beneficial health properties
Buy it in a lotion or cream
Need more information on what's going on with your butt? See below.
The Difference Between Folliculitis and Acne
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles. It usually looks like small red bumps clustered around the follicle. It's caused when dead skin cells and bacteria enter and get trapped in a follicle, causing bumps to form. Often this can be caused by shaving, clogged pores because of heavy lotions or creams, or wearing clothes that rub or irritate the skin. In my other article, you can read more on how to treat folliculitis.
Acne, on the other hand, is a skin affliction caused by sebum, an oily secretion in pores. It most often occurs on the face, neck, chest, and back. Contrary to popular belief, chocolate and greasy foods don't contribute to acne, which is instead caused more by hormone production and genetics.
Dry or irritated skin can lead to folliculitis.
1. Dry Skin
The skin on your butt gets dry easily, which can lead to clogged pores. Your bum is also nearly always in contact with clothing, which can lead to irritation.
2. Tight Clothing
Another cause may be tight clothing that isn't breathable, such as yoga pants or synthetic underwear. In this case, sweat and bacteria is trapped against the skin, causing irritation.
If you hang around in your gym clothes after you work out, you're giving bacteria an excellent environment in which to grow. This is especially true if you wear skin-tight clothes when you work out. If you hang out in your gym clothes, bacteria and sweat can easily get into your pores and cause problems.
4. Other Causes
As with pimples on other body parts, butt pimples can also indicate a health concern, such as problems with the digestive system or hormonal imbalances. It could also be the result of a sedentary lifestyle.
If you try moisturizing your skin and wearing natural and loose clothing, and it still does not help, you may need to see a doctor. Allergies and other skin afflictions could be to blame for your pimples.
Also, make sure that products you use on your skin do not contain comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients. Often even products marketed "anti-acne" contain ingredients that actually cause acne. So be sure to read the labels and check them with the list of comedogenic ingredients.
How to Get Rid of Butt Acne
Whatever you do, don't pop your zits! This can increase inflammation and even lead to infection.
To get rid of those annoying pimples, you don't need anything super expensive. There are several ways to start seeing healthier skin.
1. Use an Acne-Fighting Body Wash or Treatment
Look for body washes or treatments with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy. Benzoyl peroxide fights bacteria and folliculitis, though it might also dry out your skin. If that happens, use a light moisturizer to balance it out.
The wash that I use and recommend is the one on the right, Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash. It is the strongest 10% benzoyl peroxide wash without a prescription, and it contains no parabens, fragrance, or animal testing. In my case, it helps not only with occasional butt pimples, but with keeping my face clear as well.
When looking for salicylic acid, try to find one with 3% or more acid by volume. You could also try a scrubbing pad that is pre-treated with salicylic acid. Don't overdo it, however. Scrubbing too hard can actually make acne worse.
If you use an ointment, be sure to apply it right after you shower and let it dry before putting on clothes since some can cause bleaching.
Video: Spot Treating Pimples
2. Use a Lotion with Lactic Acid
Lotions with lactic acid can be helpful to moisturize your skin and treat some of the causes of folliculitis. Be consistent with use and apply it at least once a day. It will take a couple of weeks to see results.
In my case, a great follow up to benzoyl peroxide body wash is AmLactin 12 % Moisturizing Lotion. It contains 12% lactic acid and works deep within the skin offering long-lasting moisture retention. I like that it is fragrance free and non-greasy, and I use it every time after the shower.
3. Moisturize with Tea Tree or Coconut Oil
Both of these natural oils not only moisturize your skin, but they also have anti-bacterial properties that can help fight one of the causes of folliculitis, trapped bacteria.
4. Sit on a Hot Towel
Sitting on a hot, damp towel for twenty minutes or so before you shower can help open up your pores so you'll be able to scrub away the yuck.
5. Use Homemade Masks with Acne-Fighting Ingredients
Did you know that garlic, pumpkin, cucumber and potato are great for fighting acne and clear the skin? These products are very effective and are used in a number of acne face mask recipes. You can definitely apply any of those masks to your problem area.
Though it's not hard or expensive to get rid of butt pimples, it's even easier to prevent them.
Be sure to wash your butt well when you shower every day. Use a washcloth or something similar to help exfoliate. Not only will your skin be super clean, but it will be soft as well. Also, wash your body last. This will keep other products (like shampoo and conditioner) from clogging up your pores.
We pay a lot of attention to our face, hands, and legs, but we often forget about our butt. That's why it reminds us to take care of it with irritations and pimples. Moisturize regularly. Try a tea tree moisturizing lotion for irritated and distressed skin, since it is also has natural anti-bacterial properties.
Avoid using heavy lotions that will clog your pores, however. Make sure everything is non-comedogenic.
3. Treat but Don't Pop.
If pimples have already appeared, treat them with iodine but don't pop them!
4. Wear Loose, Breathable Clothing.
Though cotton underwear might not be as sexy, try to wear it more often. It is more breathable and will keep your skin from clogging up.
5. Exfoliate, but Gently.
If the skin on your butt is rough, don't forget about exfoliating. Use body scrubs but remember to moisturize afterwards. Over-exfoliating can actually cause acne to get worse, which is the opposite of what you want (of course).
6. Don't Hang Around in Your Gym Clothes Post Work-Out.
Shower right after you work out to cleanse your skin of the bacteria and sweat that built up while you were getting fit. Staying in your gym clothes increases the chance of clogging your pores with nasty stuff.
7. Drink More Water.
Water naturally moisturizes your body from the inside out and having enough of it allows your body to flush out toxins, helping clear up your skin.
8. Stand Don't Sit.
Try to stand more often during the day and let your butt get a breather. Change up your workstation or take walking breaks.
9. Develop Good Skin Habits.
Remember, if you take care of your skin, pimples won't disturb you. Where possible, use the gentlest skincare products that you can.
If you try everything and your pimples still won't go away, you might want to see a dermatologist to make sure there isn't a bigger issue. You also might have allergies that you don't know about that could be affecting your skin health. If you are keep getting pimples on the same spot over and over, that could mean certain health issue. Read more on what pimples on different parts of your body mean in my next article.