Oh, acne. Not only can it pop up on your face, back, chest, and arms, it can also appear on your booty. Yup, we're going there. As we dive into the warmer months, butt pimples can be especially concerning if you want to wear something cheeky to the pool or beach. First off, know that you're not alone. Although it is a pain in the butt—literally—butt acne, or as its affectionately called “buttne,” is common and there are steps you can take to clear it up.
Below, learn what butt acne is (spoiler: it's not really acne), what causes it, and how to treat it so you'll be back rocking short shorts in no time.
What is butt acne?
Butt pimples, although they resemble acne-like bumps, aren't actually acne. The bumps are most likely inflammation of the hair follicle caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. The fancy term for it is folliculitis. The butt blemishes are typically small, shallow lumps. They can be itchy and painful too. And if they get very irritated, they can become cyst-like clusters. Ouch.
What causes butt acne?
There are two main culprits.
- Wearing wet clothes (i.e., bathing suits, sweaty workout clothes)
- Wearing clothes that are too tight (we're looking at you, skinny jeans)
Tight clothes create a lot of friction against your bum, which rubs in bacteria into the pores and triggers butt breakouts. Damp environments encourage bacteria growth. The bacteria can then get trapped in the hair follicles on your tush, and the skin around it gets inflamed and creates the unwelcome bumps.
How to get rid of butt acne
Wash your buns: If you're prone to butt acne, wash your derriere on the reg with an acne wash that contains benzoyl peroxide. It'll help remove dirt, oil, and sweat from the hair follicle, keeping it clean and bacteria-free, which decreases the chances of getting butt pimples.
1. Don't exfoliate
Just like picking at pimples on your face is a big no-no, it's also not a good idea to aggregate butt blemishes. Exfoliating your backside or using an abrasive cleanser can spread the bacteria, make the inflammation worse, and can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation. Be gentle.
2. Keep it dry
Maintaining your bottom dry at all times is key. After a workout, be sure to shower, dry off completely so you won't trap any moisture, and change into fresh, clean clothes. The same goes for bathing suits. Change into dry clothes as soon as possible to avoid creating an environment that promotes bacteria growth.
3. Wear breathable clothes
You may love those skinny jeans and leggings (we do too), but they're not the best for butt acne. Opt for lightweight fabrics like natural cotton that are not too tight and will let your butt breathe.
4. Use a warm compress
If the butt pimples are itchy, applying a warm compress to the area for 15-20 minutes a couple of times per day can offer some relief.
5. Visit your dermatologist
Folliculitis usually goes away on its own without treatment as long as you're practicing the butt-friendly protocols mentioned above. However, if it goes on for more than a few weeks and over-the-counter products aren't helping, chat with your dermatologist about topical prescription medications.