How To Get Rid of Butt Acne

Butt acne shows up as pimple-like bumps on your rear end. If you have what looks like butt acne, 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 is an inflammation of hair follicles that may or may not be uncomfortable. The follicles can become infected by organisms that live on the skin, such as Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, yeasts, or fungi.
  • Contact dermatitis is an allergic skin rash that may be a reaction to an irritant such as scented laundry supplies or preservatives in flushable wipes.
  • Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin around the pore opening. Keratin is a protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails.

Regardless of the cause, there are many ways to deal with "butt acne" at home. This article discusses what you can do to get rid of butt acne. It also explains when you should go see a doctor about it.

5 tips for getting rid of butt acne

Verywell / Ellen Lindner

1

Loosen Your Clothing

Yoga pants, leggings, skin-tight jeans, and other close-fitting pants can trap moisture against the skin and trigger folliculitis. Limit how often you wear tight pants 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 cause moisture to build up. 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. Choose cotton or moisture-wicking athletic underwear instead.

2

Shower ASAP After Exercise

Sweat that gets trapped against the skin and then dries can be highly irritating to hair follicles. It can create the perfect place for bacteria to grow.

Try to schedule workouts and other physical activities so that you can take 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 you perform while sitting can create friction on the skin of the buttocks. This may irritate butt acne. In these cases, it may be best to switch to an alternative activity until the breakout heals.

3

Steer Clear of Allergens

For people who are sensitive or allergic to them, certain perfumes and other chemicals in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and flushable wipes can trigger a rash on the buttocks.

For example, studies have found that a common preservative in cosmetics used in flushable wipes called methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) is associated with allergic contact dermatitis. If you suspect your laundry or personal hygiene product has caused your butt acne, switch to a hypoallergenic version.

4

Be Gentle on Your Skin

Just as acne can't be scrubbed away, folliculitis needs to be treated gently. But it can be helpful to gently exfoliate affected skin as long as it isn't inflamed or painful. Do not use:

  • Loofahs
  • Stiff-bristled body brushes
  • Other abrasive products

Choose a soft cloth or nylon body pouf.

Never pop or pick at pimples. If butt acne spreads to areas you typically remove hair from, avoid waxing or shaving until your skin heals.

5

Apply a Warm Compress

Warm moisture can soothe irritation and help release pus from whiteheads. Press a warm washcloth to your bottom or sit on one for 15 minutes at a time at least three times a day.

Dipping the washcloth in a saltwater solution may be especially soothing. You can make one by adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of water. Soaking in a warm bath or a saltwater sitz bath can be helpful too.

Research suggests apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties. Add a few drops to your washcloth or a cup to your bath. This can help reduce staph bacteria that can cause infections and worsen breakouts. Thoroughly towel or air dry before you get dressed.

Soaking in a warm saltwater bath may be soothing to inflamed skin. On the other hand, hanging out in a hot tub could lead to a type of folliculitis called hot tub folliculitis. This can arise from spending time in a hot tub or pool that's not maintained properly.

6

Use a Benzoyl Peroxide Wash or Gel

Although "butt acne" isn't typical acne vulgaris, some treatments for facial acne also work on mild butt breakouts. This includes small, fine bumps or a small number of inflamed pimples.

Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne medications. It's an antimicrobial that helps clean pores. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe mild swelling.

Look for a body wash, bar soap, cream, or gel spot treatment made with 5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide. Because it can bleach out fabrics, use white towels and wear white underwear when using benzoyl peroxide products on the skin.

7

Try Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil comes from a tree native to Australia. Some studies suggest it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These studies found out that tea tree oil may be as effective in treating breakouts as benzoyl peroxide. But it may not work as quickly.

One study that compared benzoyl peroxide lotion with tea tree oil gel to treat acne found that each greatly reduced the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions.

Look for a 5% to 10% tea tree oil wash or gel spot treatment. You can also put a couple drops of the essential oil into a body wash or oil-free moisturizer.

8

Use Salicylic Acid Medicated Pads

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that helps the skin shed cells more effectively. Pre-treated salicylic acid pads are ideal for dabbing this medication onto affected areas. Make sure you keep the medicine well away from your genitals.

It's okay to use products formulated for the face on other areas of the body, such as:

  • Stridex
  • Oxy
  • Neutrogena

For treating butt acne, you'll get better results with a 2% salicylic acid than you would with a lower percentage.

Salicylic acid pads can be used along with benzoyl peroxide. If skin becomes irritated or overly dry, scale back use to either one or the other.

9

Apply a Lactic Acid Lotion

Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid. Just like salicylic acid, it helps to loosen and get rid of dead skin cells. It can be found in body lotions such as U-Lactin and AmLactin.

If you apply it each day, it can help smooth rough, bumpy skin on all parts of the body. You can use it along with:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Tea tree oil
  • Salicylic acid

Apply the lotion after the salicylic acid medication has completely dried. A more effective method is to use a salicylic acid or tea tree oil product in the morning and lactic acid at night.

10

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

You should be able to take care of mild breakouts and occasional inflamed pimples yourself. But if you don't see an improvement after 10 to 12 weeks of good home treatment, have your dermatologist take a look.

Call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • Your butt acne is very inflamed or severe
  • The bumps are large, pus-filled, or very tender

If the above situations occur, your hair follicles may be infected. And if this happens, you'll need a stronger prescription treatment.

Summary

Butt acne looks like pimples on your rear end. Simple methods such as avoiding tight-fitting pants and shorts can help treat butt acne. You can also clear up the problem by making sure you shower immediately after exercise.

Tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide are two treatments that can clear up butt acne. Salicylic acid medicated pads or lactic acid lotions are other smart options.

Some people find relief by soaking in a saltwater solution to help ease acne. If you try home treatments and you see no improvement after 10 to 12 weeks, set up an appointment with a dermatologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I worry about pimples on my butt that won’t go away?

    If the area is very inflamed or extremely sore, you should see a healthcare provider since you might have an infection. It’s also possible that recurrent breakouts are not due to pimples. If the bumps are painful, boil-like bumps filled with pus, you may have a condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa. See a dermatologist to be sure.

  • Can I use my facial acne medication on butt acne?

    The same product ingredients can be effective on facial and body acne, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. However, it may be better to get body washes with these ingredients. Also, since the skin on your butt is thicker, you may need a prescription medication. Always be careful to avoid using medication near the anus, penis, urinary opening, and vaginal area.

  • Are there all-natural remedies for body acne?

    Proper cleaning and avoiding friction can help prevent or clear up acne. Studies have also shown that tea tree oil, an essential oil made from the leaves of an Australian plant, can treat acne as effectively as benzoyl peroxide.

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