Hyperpigmentation on the Buttocks: What It Is and How to Get Rid of It

Hyperpigmentation (the darkening of skin, usually in patches) is often associated with the face—but this phenomenon can occur anywhere on the body, including the cheeks down below. Hyperpigmentation of the buttocks is common and usually nothing to be concerned about.

Learn more about what causes skin discoloration on the buttocks and what you can do about it if you choose to.

Rear view of group of women with different body types in underwear standing together on white background.

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What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Skin tone is determined by a brown pigment called melanin that is made by the body. People with darker skin tones have more melanin; people with pale skin tones have less.

When the body produces excess melanin deposits, the skin in that area becomes darker than the skin around it. This is known as hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation is common and usually harmless.

Common causes of hyperpigmentation include:

Sun Spots

  • Also called age spots or liver spots
  • Small, darkened patches
  • Found on the face, hands, and other areas commonly exposed to the sun
  • Caused by sun damage

Melasma

  • Also called chloasma
  • Usually occurs on the face
  • More common in people with female hormones
  • More common in people with darker skin types
  • Associated with hormonal changes such as with pregnancy or birth control medication

Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation

  • Dark spots or patches left after inflammation or injury such as acne
  • Can occur anywhere on the body
  • More common in people with darker skin tones

Less commonly, hyperpigmentation can be due to more serious conditions such as:

Hyperpigmentation of the buttocks is usually not something to be concerned about. Unless there is an underlying health condition, treatment is not needed. Some people with hyperpigmentation choose to seek treatment if they are bothered by it.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you are experiencing symptoms beyond discoloration such as itching, pain, or any other bothersome symptoms, visit your healthcare provider for an examination.

If the dark spots show any warning signs of skin cancer, such as irregular borders or raised spots, have them checked.

What Causes Skin Discoloration Between Buttocks? 

Is it normal to have a dark "butt crack"? The short answer is yes. Skin is not a uniform tone all over the body. It is common for some areas—such as the butt crack—to be darker than other areas.

Discoloration around the buttocks area can be caused by a number of factors but is usually harmless.

A common cause of hyperpigmentation in the buttocks area is irritation or inflammation. Trauma or irritation to the skin can cause postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and create dark spots or areas on the butt cheeks or between the buttocks.

This is commonly caused by:

  • Folliculitis (butt "acne"): Infection of the hair follicles resembling acne
  • Friction: Rubbing from clothing, or skin against skin
  • Irritation from products or procedures: Products used on the skin such as some cleansers, or skin treatments or procedures, can irritate the skin and lead to hyperpigmentation.

To help reduce irritation:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Change and wash clothing after use, particularly swimsuits.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Use well-maintained hot tubs or avoid hot tubs (a common cause of folliculitis).
  • Use gentle products that don't irritate the skin.
  • Use sunscreen on areas exposed to the sun.

Other factors that can contribute to hyperpigmentation include:

  • Hormones (pregnancy, hormone medications such as birth control, or other hormonal factors)
  • Heredity
  • Certain medications

Treatments for Hyperpigmentation 

Treatment for hyperpigmentation is rarely necessary. It is common to have darker skin in the buttocks and public areas.

Dark spots caused by factors such as cleared folliculitis or other underlying factors that are no longer at play can often go away on their own with time.

Spots that are a few shades darker than the natural skin color generally fade in six to 12 months. Discoloration that is deep within the skin or much darker may take years to fade on its own.

Options are available for people who want to try to even out pigmentation for cosmetic purposes.

Skin Products That Fade or Even Out Hyperpigmentation

Look for an over-the-counter skin-lightening product that contains one of the following ingredients:

  • Azelaic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Kojic acid
  • Retinoid (retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene)
  • Vitamin C

It's important to consult your healthcare provider before trying anything on this sensitive area. Discontinue the use of products if there's any burning or other side effects.

Prescription Skin Lighteners

Hydroquinone, the active ingredient in most prescription skin-lightening creams, reduces melanin production.

This medication should be used short-term, as there are risks associated with long-term use.

Cosmetic Procedures

  • Laser treatment: Removes layers of skin using focused light energy
  • Chemical peel: Removes top layer of skin using a treatment containing the chemicals salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid
  • Microdermabrasion: Removes cells from skin surface using either a machine that sprays fine crystals through a wand that rubs against the skin or the abrasive end of a wand
  • Cryosurgery: Liquid nitrogen solution freezes, destroys extra pigment

Should I Get Skin-Lightening Treatments?

Treatment for hyperpigmentation can come with significant side effects. Sometimes treatment can make hyperpigmentation worse. It can also be time-consuming and costly.

Before beginning any treatment for hyperpigmentation, discuss all your options and the pros and cons of each with your healthcare provider or dermatologist.

Home Remedies for Hyperpigmentation on Buttocks

More research is needed, but research suggests some natural treatments show promise in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, including:

  • Green tea
  • Mulberry
  • Licorice extract
  • Vitamin C
  • Soy extract

Use Caution With Home Remedies

Some skin-lightening products have been found to contain potentially harmful ingredients that aren't listed on the label.

Home remedies for hyperpigmentation can sometimes worsen the discoloration or cause other unwanted or hazardous effects.

Don't try to treat hyperpigmentation at home without first speaking to your healthcare provider or dermatologist.

A Word From Verywell

Hyperpigmentation in the buttocks area is common and usually harmless. While treatments are available, they can be timely and costly and have side effects.

If you are bothered by the look of hyperpigmentation, speak with your healthcare provider or dermatologist about the benefits and risks of the available treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can skin on my inner thighs and buttocks be lightened naturally?

    Natural home remedies for skin lightening have less evidence supporting their efficacy than medicinal ones, but some show promise, including soy extract, licorice extract, and mulberry.

    Some home remedies can cause more harm than good. Always consult your healthcare provider before trying any treatment to lighten skin.

  • Is it normal to have skin discoloration between the buttocks?

    Yes. Skin discoloration between the buttocks is common and usually harmless.

  • How long do natural remedies for hyperpigmentation of the skin take to work?

    Natural remedies for hyperpigmentation are still being researched, but some do show promise.

    How long it takes for any treatment for hyperpigmentation to show results depends on several factors such as where the pigment deposits are in the skin and how dark the spots are compared to the natural skin color.

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14 Sources
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