What Causes Butt Pimples and How to Get Rid of Them

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Nearly everyone will get pimples on the butt at some point. They can happen at any age and occur equally in all sexes. You may just get a butt pimple here and there. Or you may have rough, red bumps across the entirety of your bum. They may hurt or itch, or you may not feel them at all.

Knowing what may be causing your butt pimples and how to treat them can bring relief. This article will give you some tips.

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Acne on a female's buttocks
energyy / Getty Images

Blocked Pores

Pimples on the butt can be the result of blocked pores. Yes, your bum has pores too. And they can become clogged—just like pores anywhere else on your body—and cause acne.

People who have acne in other areas often get booty breakouts as well. Acne vulgaris, or what we call common acne, can sometimes pop up on body areas including the chest, shoulders, back, and buttocks. 

For widespread acne, it's a wise idea to see a dermatologist. Body acne can be difficult to treat and responds best to prescription acne treatments.

Non-Acne Causes

Actually, the vast majority of butt blemishes are not truly acne at all. While we tend to call any collection of red bumps on the skin "acne," it's quite likely those spots across your derriere are caused by something different than a clogged pore.

Folliculitis

The most common cause of red, inflamed pimples on your backside is folliculitis. That's just a fancy way of saying inflamed hair follicle. You have hair follicles over nearly all areas of your skin, including your booty.

When a hair follicle gets irritated, it becomes red and swollen. The bumps can develop a white head and look like acne pimples. These bumps are sometimes painful or itchy, but not always.

Folliculitis can happen just about anywhere on the body. Dermatologists say that it is becoming much more common, probably because of our clothing choices and what's now in style. The friction caused by tight-fitting clothing can be enough to irritate your hair follicles.

Sweat also irritates hair follicles. Even if you're not sweating a lot, undergarments made of non-breathable material, like nylon or polyester, can hold moisture against your skin. Again, this can irritate hair follicles.

Folliculitis can also be caused when the hair follicle becomes infected with bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. A specific type of folliculitis, called hot tub folliculitis, can happen if you spend time in an improperly maintained hot tub or pool.

Keratosis Pilaris

What if, instead of red, inflamed blemishes, you have fine, rough bumps across your booty? You most likely have keratosis pilaris. You may have had this condition your entire life and never knew those bumps had a name.

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin condition. It causes small skin-colored or red bumps across the surface of the skin. The bumps may look rather like tiny pimples or goosebumps. You might not really notice them except when you run your hand over them.

These bumps develop when there is a buildup of keratin, a protein that forms a protective layer on the surface of the skin, around the pore opening. For unknown reasons, the keratin can build up and form a hard plug, which creates the bump you see and feel.

Keratosis pilaris commonly develops on the buttocks, backs of the upper arms, and fronts of the thighs. Children often get it on their cheeks (of the face, not the bum).

There's no specific cause for keratosis pilaris, though it does tend to run in families. It's often at its worst during childhood and the teen years, and fades over time. Although it's annoying, the good news is that keratosis pilaris is completely harmless.

Boils (Skin Abscesses)

If you have a very large, painful pimple (or a cluster of large pimples) on your derriere, you may have a boil, also called a skin abscess. Boils can develop when the hair follicle gets infected. 

Staphylococcus bacteria are the most common culprits that cause boils. But other bacteria like Streptococcus or Pseudomonas can also be to blame. Although rare, fungal infections cause boils as well.

Boils start off small, but quickly grow into large blemishes. And boils hurt! They can happen anywhere on the body, but are often on the buttocks.

Treating Butt Pimples

If you have pimples on your behind, don't worry. You're not doomed to simply live with them. There are steps you can take to clear up butt acne, no matter the cause.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Even though not all butt pimples are technically acne, you can still treat them with over-the-counter acne treatment products. Benzoyl peroxide body wash or bar soap is the best option. You can get it at any drugstore or big box store over the counter; you won't need a prescription.

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

Exfoliating Skin Creams

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

Look for over-the-counter creams that contain glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid. Prescription creams containing tretinoin (a synthetic form of vitamin A) can be used in more severe cases.

Topical or Oral Antibiotics

If you have a severe infection, you may need topical or oral antibiotics. If your blemishes are very red, swollen, and painful—and if home treatments aren't helping—you may want to visit your healthcare provider to find out whether this treatment is right for you.

Lancing and Draining

You can often heal boils with good home treatment. Warm compresses can help them come to a head and drain. This sets them on the way to healing. and helps with pain.

But if your boil isn't starting to get better after seven days or so, see a healthcare provider. They may lance your boil (making a small incision to drain the infection), or recommend another treatment option. Never try to lance a boil yourself.

Recap

Regardless of what is causing your butt acne, there are treatments available. Though some bumps may require prescription medications or other medical treatment, many can be managed with over-the-counter acne products or exfoliating skin creams. Talk to your healthcare provider about what will work best for you.

Prevention and Management

Everyone gets a breakout on their backsides every now and again. It's not possible to completely prevent them, but there are some things you can do to minimize butt pimples.

  • Shower after you sweat. Sweat can irritate the hair follicles and make your skin more prone to breakouts. So no hanging out in your yoga pants after workouts.
  • Switch to cotton underwear. Cotton breathes better than synthetic material.
  • Don't scrub. Scrubbing will irritate already inflamed follicles and make blemishes redder and more obvious. Instead, exfoliate with body washes or creams that contain skin-smoothing ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Don't pop or pick at blemishes. This can make breakouts worse.
  • Stay away from tight-fitting clothes. The friction caused by tight pants can irritate your skin and trigger a breakout on your buns.

Summary

There are multiple reasons why you can develop acne on your bottom, but fortunately butt pimples can be managed. Taking care of your skin, letting it breathe, and keeping your hair follicles clear and clean can make a big difference and help you stay comfortable.

A Word From Verywell

An occasional pimple on your backside isn't a big deal. Even a bum full of tiny, fine, red bumps isn't anything to worry about, so long as they aren't painful, super itchy, or getting worse.

If you have a pimple that gets really big (dime-sized or larger) or one that hurts badly, it's a good idea to have a physician check it out. The same thing applies if you have many very inflamed pimples across your derriere.

In most cases though, just a few changes to your body care routine will help improve your butt breakouts.

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Article Sources
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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.

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