Oct 28, 2020 · 4 min read
Welcome to Ask Curology, penned by one of our in-house medical providers in response to your questions about all things skincare. This week, it’s all about booty breakouts. What causes them? And what can we do about them? The answer might surprise you.
This is super embarrassing, but I could really use your help. My butt is covered in pimples! Thankfully, you’re the only one who knows my secret. But it’s super uncomfortable, and I don’t know what to do. Do you know of any good treatments for butt acne?
Sorry to blast your secret on the blog, BUT (pun intended) I think that many fellow readers will feel your pain. Butt bumps are super common, even among us medical professionals, so please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed! That said, I understand that pesky butt bumps can be uber uncomfortable. So, let’s dive in to understand what really causes these bumps, and what can be done to help.
Butt acne often isn’t true acne. Acne-like bumps on the buttocks are often a type of folliculitis (say that 10 times fast!). Folliculitis can occur when our hair follicles (pores) are damaged. Once damaged, it’s easier for bacteria or fungus to cause a low-grade infection in the pores. You might be wondering, how might one damage the pores on the butt!? Potential causes include tight clothing that rubs, frequently touching or rubbing the skin, and shaving. Ever heard of hot tub folliculitis? Yep, it’s a real thing. Certain bacteria can live in the water and infect your pores. So, make sure to thoroughly clean your skin after enjoying a relaxing soak in a whirlpool!¹
Another cause of bumps on your behind is a common condition called keratosis pilaris (KP for short!). KP results in dry, rough patches and tiny red bumps. It often feels like sandpaper! These bumps are typically seen on the upper arms and cheeks, but they can also occur on the buttocks.² KP cannot be cured, but it often improves over time, and you may be able to help control it. More on this in just a sec!
Now on to the good stuff. How can we treat and help prevent those bothersome bumps? It may help to simply treat butt bumps as regular body acne. Many of the topical treatments for body acne contain anti-bacterial and acne-fungal ingredients, so they should help combat microbes who’ve made your derriere their home. You might also consider using Hibiclens soap (an antibacterial soap commonly used in healthcare settings) to help wash away those backside bumps.
If you have KP on your rear, a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. You might also use an over-the-counter product with lactic acid such as AmLactin 12%.³
In addition to treating with topicals, you can also test out some lifestyle changes:⁴
Change out of tight sweaty clothes and rinse off immediately after you work out.
Wear light and loose clothing, especially when it’s hot and humid!
Consider avoiding hot tubs that aren’t properly maintained.
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If these tips don’t help and the bumps remain stubborn, get worse, spread to a larger area, or cause symptoms like fever or chills, make sure to see an in-person medical provider or dermatologist for further treatment.
I hope that helps! Feel free to sound off in the comments if you have more questions, or get in touch with your Curology medical provider. If you’re not a member yet, you can sign up for a free month of Curology (just pay $4.95 + tax to cover shipping and handling). Members get paired with an in-house medical provider (like me!) for a custom skincare experience.
All my best,
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
We did our research so you don’t have to.
American Academy of Dermatology. Acne-like breakouts could be folliculitis. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/folliculitis
Mayo Clinic. Keratosis Pilaris — Symptoms & Causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/keratosis-pilaris/symptoms-causes/syc-20351149
Mayo Clinic. Keratosis Pilaris — Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/keratosis-pilaris/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351152
American Academy of Dermatology. 12 summer skin problems you can prevent. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/prevent-summer-skin-problems