Everything You Need to Know About Butt Pimples (Like, How to Get Rid Of Them)

Kara Wahlgren
·3-min read
Photo credit: Courtney Chavez
Photo credit: Courtney Chavez

From Seventeen

Wtf, universe — butt pimples?! As if dealing with breakouts on your face isn’t bad enough, now you've got irritated red bumps popping up on your butt.

Of course, "buttne" isn't as glaringly obvious as a monster zit on your chin, but it can still make you feel super self conscious and you’d probably prefer to keep your butt pimple-free, especially once swimsuit season rolls around. Here is all the expert advice you need to know about dealing with pimples on your butt – according to dermatologists.

Butt acne isn’t actually acne.

If it makes you feel any better, butt pimples aren’t really pimples at all. Pimples happen when a pore gets clogged with oil, dead skin cells, or bacteria. But the bumps on your butt are actually folliculitis — AKA an inflamed or infected hair follicle. It sounds really gross, but it's actually completely normal.

"Folliculitis is often the result of bacteria, yeast, or fungus infecting the hair follicle," says Dr. Rhonda Klein, MD, MPH, a dermatologist at Connecticut Dermatology Group. "It appears as small shallow bumps that may be itchy or irritated."

Hop in the shower right after you exercise.

Ok, so now that you know what causes buttne, you need to know how to get rid of it. Well, to start, consider hopping into the shower right after you exercise. This can help wash away any bacteria that can upset the hair follicle.

You also might want to consider using a body scrub in the shower to help exfoliate and remove built-up dead skin.

You shouldn’t try to pop them.

If you're tired of everyone telling you not to pop your pimples, I apologize in advance, because that's exactly what I'm about to tell you. It's sooo tempting, I get it, but just assume the "no-popping" rule applies to breakouts anywhere on your body. Sorry, not sorry.

Change out of your sweaty gym clothes immediately.

Damp, sweaty fabrics can be a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria (which is why you keep getting face mask acne), so you should definitely change into dry clothes right after a workout. "Tight clothing can trap sweat and bodily fluids against your skin for long periods of time, causing chronic breakouts on your backside," says Kachiu Lee, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University.

Make sure you wipe down whatever gear you're using at the gym, too — especially anything that might touch your tush, like the seat of a spin bike. "Yoga mats, exercise balls, and communal sports equipment can all harbor bacteria if they’re not cleaned in between each use," Dr. Lee says.

Acne products CAN help.

Folliculitis usually goes away on its own, but it's kind of hard to be chill when you have itchy bumps all over your butt cheeks, ya know? The good news is even if butt pimples aren't legit pimples, your favorite acne products (or body acne products) can still help. Dr. Klein recommends using a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide — it kills the bacteria that can cause standard-issue pimples and butt breakouts. If that doesn't help, make an appointment with a dermatologist and ask them about getting a topical antibiotic.

Wear loose-fitting clothes when you can.

Consider this your official invitation to only wear sweatpants from here on out (you're welcome). Skinny jeans, too-tight undies, and even your beloved Lululemon leggings can all rub against your skin throughout the day and irritate your follicles, especially if your skin is already a little raw from shaving or waxing.

"Chronic rubbing, as a result of tight-fitting clothes, can cause folliculitis," Dr. Klein says. So go ahead and wear sweatpants because, you know, it’s for your health. (You may even want to go commando for a bit if your skin’s been rubbed the wrong way.)

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