Clearing Up Butt Acne: Treatment, Prevention and More

Published June 25th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Camille Freking
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera

Red bumps that appear like acne on the buttocks can occur in both men and women and is a common skin condition. Continue reading as we discuss what butt acne is, treatment, prevention, and more to help you get the answers you need.

What is butt acne?

It’s commonly called butt acne, but the spots on your backside aren’t actually acne but inflammation around hair follicles called folliculitis. This skin condition usually appears on the lower back, upper buttocks, outer thighs, and close to the anus. The butt area is prone to acne because of the many sweat glands in this region. Sweating leads to a moist environment that favors bacteria and fungal growth in your pores, leading to butt acne symptoms.

Folliculitis, the main butt acne trigger, is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles. It appears as a collection of small, red bumps which can be itchy and painful. The bumps may turn red and become inflamed with pus. You may also notice nodules (bumps under the skin), pustules, or pimples on top of these bumps.

Who can get butt acne?

Buttock acne affects males and females equally—both young people and adults alike are vulnerable to developing butt acne. If you are prone to acne elsewhere on your body, you are more likely to see acne on your butt as well.

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There are several reasons why you may experience butt acne, and the triggers can vary. These include:

  • Irritation from wearing tight clothing. If your clothes are fitted and rubbing against your skin for an extended period of time, inflammation can occur.
  • Allergic reactions like eczema can form red patches and bumps where skin rubs against itself or another material.
  • Folliculitis or ingrown hairs caused by shaving using an old razor blade. Bumps from razor irritation or waxing are common.
  • Frequent sweating due to exercise or hot weather, especially in humid conditions without any sweat protection (e.g. clothing that doesn't absorb moisture).
  • Bacteria found in hot tubs or heated pools.
  • Acne vulgaris that moves down the buttock's crease.
  • External reasons; you should see a doctor first, especially if butt acne leads to fever or swelling or is associated with other symptoms like weight loss and diarrhea.

These are some of the most common reasons you can develop butt acne, although they are not the only ones. Due to its ability to affect everyone, you should take care to watch for the symptoms and learn more about effective treatments for it.

How do you treat butt acne?

To treat butt acne you need to first identify what type it is. Is there a particular area where butt acne occurs more often than other spots or can acne be found all over your buttocks? If acne has only occurred in one general location then treatment will depend on whether folliculitis (a bacterial infection) is present. If butt acne affects different areas at once then an antibiotic topical ointment may help clear up skin redness and bumps caused by pimples filled with pus.

If your buttock acne is not severe, it may be cleared up with over-the-counter creams or ointments. Be sure to read the labels on these products and choose one that's designed for buttock acne before applying topically. You can also use a medicated cream if your buttock acne has spread–there are many different types available including benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin (Retin-A), azelaic acid, and salicylic acid, among others. Ask your dermatologist about which product will work best for you based on the severity of your butt acne.

Two of the most common over-the-counter treatments are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which should be applied to the skin one time daily after washing the area with soap and water first. They are typically found in gel-based or cream form, as well as in acne washes for more difficult cases. These products have been shown to keep bacterial levels down while also drying out pimples, on top of helping acne heal faster than it would without medication.

Prescription medications like Accutane™ which reduces oil production and acne severity may be an option, but it is important to talk to your dermatologist about the potential side effects before starting this treatment.

Tetracycline is another prescribed form of treatment for butt acne, which can be taken in the form of a pill or liquid. It should not be given to kids younger than 8 years old. It’s usually taken on an empty stomach, and works best when taken regularly, so skipping doses is not advised.

Another treatment option includes clindamycin lotion, which is often used by people who have chronic butt acne due to bacteria. Use the cream after shaking the bottle and gently applying a thin layer onto cleansed skin. Improvement of your skin can be visible in as little as six weeks.

Topical medications containing erythromycin or clindamycin may be a better alternative to other acne treatments like tetracycline. They can treat both acute and chronic acne infections, but all antibiotics come with some side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Treatment for butt acne depends on severity. We suggest treating it for at least one month to six months to see significant results. If butt acne reappears after treatment has completed, benzoyl peroxide may need to continue being used in order to keep acne under control.

Be sure that acne treatments are applied only on your buttocks. Do not apply creams near or around the anus as this can lead to irritation of sensitive tissues.

Consult a dermatologist to determine the right treatment for you.

How to prevent butt acne? 

Following these steps, you may have a greater reduced risk of butt acne. To help prevent outbreaks you should:

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes.
  • Wash your hands before touching the area to reduce bacteria spread.
  • Use an over-the-counter topical cream like hydrocortisone or benzoyl peroxide once or twice a day for two weeks if you are experiencing breakouts.
  • Take a shower twice a day to remove sweat, dirt, and excessive oil.
  • Shower after a workout to wash off sweat.
  • Exfoliate the area with a gentle exfoliator.

The best way to combat butt acne is prevention rather than treatment. However, should you experience a breakout talk to your doctor or dermatologist for your best option as a treatment.

Where can I buy treatments for butt acne?

If you are experiencing acne on your butt, the best thing to do is visit your doctor or dermatologist for a prescription medication or a discussion about trying over-the-counter medicines. Most of the over-the-counter treatments, like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, are available at national pharmacy chains such as Walgreens, CVS, Riteaid, and Walmart. In addition, you can visit online health companies such as the following for skin and acne treatment:

Hims.com

Hers.com

NavaMD.com

Summary 

Butt acne can be difficult to deal with at any age for both men and women. We hope we helped narrow down some of the most common causes for it and some easy solutions should you have a breakout. Once the breakout is cleared up we recommend following the above prevention steps to help eliminate further symptoms. Remember to always ask your doctor, pharmacist, or dermatologist if you have any further questions.

Sources:

Folliculitis 

Tetracycline 

Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Lotion 

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