Butt Acne and Other Causes of Butt Pimples

Why these breakouts occur and what you can do about them

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If you have pimples on your butt, you might think you have butt acne. While it's possible for acne to affect the skin on your butt, that's not a common site for such breakouts.

Other conditions, like folliculitis or keratosis pilaris are more likely—and can mimic acne. What looks like a pimple on the butt could also be a boil.

This article reviews the causes of butt pimples and lookalikes. You'll also learn how they can be treated with over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as ways to prevent them.

Acne on a female's buttocks

energyy / Getty Images

Butt Pimple Causes

Generally, butt pimples have a specific appearance, depending on the cause. While different forms of acne can cause butt pimples, it's not the most common cause.

Having acne on or in the area around your buttocks isn't as common as having it on other parts of your body, like your face and chest. There are many more non-acne causes of pimples on your butt.


Your butt has pores just like other areas of skin on your body. When pores get blocked, it can lead to pimples.

People with common acne (acne vulgaris) often get it on their face, but it sometimes will pop up on their chest, shoulders, back, and less often, their buttocks. 

If you have widespread acne, see a dermatologist. Body acne often needs to be treated with prescription medications.


If you see something that looks like a pimple on your butt, you might assume it's acne. In fact, an inflamed hair follicle (folliculitis) is the most common cause of red, inflamed pimples on your butt.

You have hair follicles over nearly all areas of your skin, including on your butt. If a hair follicle gets irritated, it will turn red and swell. The inflamed bumps can form a white head that looks like butt acne. The bumps can also be painful or itchy, but not always.

Folliculitis can develop just about anywhere on the skin.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Friction caused by tight-fitting clothing can irritate hair follicles
  • Sweat irritates hair follicles
  • Undergarments made of non-breathable material (like nylon or polyester) can hold moisture against your skin, irritating your hair follicles (even if you're not sweating a lot)
  • Hair follicles can become infected with bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • A specific type of folliculitis (hot tub folliculitis) can happen if you spend time in a hot tub or pool—especially if it isn't well maintained

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin condition that causes small, skin-colored or red bumps. These are usually fine and rough, though you might only notice them when you run your hand over affected skin.

Keratosis pilaris bumps may look like tiny pimples or goosebumps. While butt acne pimples tend to come to a head, keratosis pilaris bumps do not.

Keratosis pilaris bumps develop when the protein that forms a protective layer on the surface of the skin (keratin) builds up around the pore opening. When the keratin builds up, it can form a hard plug, which creates the bump you see and feel.

Although it's annoying, keratosis pilaris is a harmless condition.

Keratosis pilaris commonly develops on the buttocks, the backs of the upper arms, and the fronts of the thighs. Children often get keratosis pilaris on their faces (usually on the cheeks).

There's no specific cause for keratosis pilaris, though it does tend to run in families. The condition tends to be at its worst during childhood and the teen years but fades over time. It can flare during pregnancy for many women.

Boils (Skin Abscesses)

Acne pimples can sometimes be quite large, and that's true whether you're dealing with facial or butt acne.

However, if you have a very large, painful pimple or a cluster of large pimples on your butt, it's more likely that you have a boil (skin abscess).

Boils develop when a hair follicle gets infected. They are small and can quickly grow into large blemishes. They also hurt a lot.

Boils can form anywhere on the body, and the buttocks are a common location.

Staphylococcus bacteria are the most common cause of boils, but bacteria like Streptococcus or Pseudomonas bacteria can also cause them. It's rare, but fungal infections can also cause boils.

Treating Butt Pimples

Depending on what's causing the pimples on your butt, you do have some options for treating and even preventing them.

There are some ways to clear up butt acne and manage the more common conditions that cause butt pimples.

At-Home Treatment

You may be able to treat your butt pimples yourself with self-care and over-the-counter options, including benzoyl peroxide products and exfoliating creams.

Warm Compresses

Warm compresses can help the boils "come to a head" and drain. Once they've drained, they'll be on their way to healing.

Draining also helps with the pain boils cause.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Not all butt pimples are technically acne, but you can often still treat them with over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatment products.

Body washes or bar soaps made with benzoyl peroxide are the best options for butt acne. You can get these products at the drugstore or big box store without a prescription.

Benzoyl peroxide works best for inflamed bumps like folliculitis. To use it, gently soap up all affected areas every time you shower, and then rinse it off.

Exfoliating Skin Creams

Keeping hair follicles from becoming blocked will help your skin stay smooth. Regular exfoliation is key. Exfoliating creams help speed up cell turnover while keeping the skin moisturized, and they're especially helpful for keratosis pilaris.

If your butt acne is mild, OTC creams that contain glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid should help. In more severe cases, prescription creams containing tretinoin (a synthetic form of vitamin A) might be needed.

Prescriptions and Procedures

If your butt blemishes are very red, swollen, and painful and at-home treatments are not helping, call your healthcare provider.

  • If you have a severe infection, you may need topical or oral antibiotics.
  • If your boil is not starting to get better after a few days, your healthcare provider may need to make a small incision to drain the infection (lancing). Never try to lance a boil yourself.

How to Prevent Butt Pimples

Anyone can get a butt breakout. While you can't always prevent butt pimples, there are some things you can do to make them less likely to pop up:

  • Shower after you sweat. Sweat can irritate the hair follicles and make your skin more prone to breakouts. Avoid keeping your sweaty workout clothes on and shower as soon as you can.
  • Switch to cotton underwear. Cotton breathes better than synthetic material.
  • Cleanse skin gently. Scrubbing will irritate already inflamed follicles and make blemishes redder and bigger. Instead, exfoliate with body washes or creams that contain skin-smoothing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Don't pop or pick at blemishes. Picking at and popping pimples can make breakouts worse as well as increase the risk of infection.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes. The friction caused by tight pants can irritate your skin and trigger a breakout.


There are many reasons why you could have butt pimples—and true butt acne is just one of them.

Taking care of your skin, letting it breathe, and keeping your hair follicles clean will help prevent these breakouts.

If you have a pimple that gets really big (dime-sized or larger), you have a pimple that hurts, or you have many inflamed pimples on your butt, talk to your provider. You might need prescription treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a pimple and a boil on your buttocks?

    Pimples are caused by blocked pores. They can get swollen and hurt, but they won’t get as big as boils. Boils are a sign of an infection in a hair follicle. They’re larger than pimples and hurt more.

  • Why do I get pimples on my butt and chest?

    Pimples on your butt and chest can be due to factors like close-fitting clothing and sweat that sits on the skin for too long. These breakouts may also simply be due to genetics.

  • Can I use my facial cleanser to treat acne on my butt?

    If you have mild butt acne, the same over-the-counter acne treatment you use on your face might be enough to clear it up. You can also try body washes with benzoyl peroxides.

  • Will folliculitis go away on its own?

    Mild cases of folliculitis may get better without treatment. However, you should tell your provider if you have pimples that are getting worse or not going away, as you may need a prescription to clear them up.

16 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading
  • Del Rosso JQ, Silverberg N, Zeichner JA. When acne is not acne. Dermatologic Clinics. 2016 Apr;34(2):225-8. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2015.12.002.

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Folliculitis.MedlinePlus. Updated June 9, 2021.

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Boils. Updated June 9, 2021.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.