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How to get rid of butt bumps?

Is a butt bump a pimple? The answer, according to science.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 7 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
Image of women close together
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 7 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
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.

Butt bumps can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but they’re nothing to be embarrassed about. And here’s the good news: Butt acne is very common and often treatable. 

If you’re ready to say ta-ta to tushy acne and banish booty blemishes once and for all, we’re here to help! We’ll explore what butt acne is, what causes it, and potential treatments for keeping your derrière looking fabulous and acne-free.

What is butt acne?

Many people struggle with butt acne (aka “buttne”). But some of the factors that can lead to this common condition may surprise you. Even more surprising? Butt acne often isn’t true acne.

Acne-like bumps on the buttocks are often a type of folliculitis, which can occur when hair follicles (pores) get damaged. Once that damage happens, it’s easier for bacteria or fungus to cause a low-grade infection in the pores.

What are the contributing factors to butt acne?

You might be wondering how it’s even possible to damage the pores on the butt! The answer is pretty simple: Like the skin on your face and certain other parts of the body, the skin on your butt is susceptible to damage. 

These are some of the common contributors to butt pimples:

  • Keratosis pilaris

  • Tight clothing that rubs

  • Frequently touching or rubbing the skin 

  • Shaving

  • Hot tub folliculitis

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 every relaxing soak!¹

Keratosis pilaris (KP for short) is another potential cause of bumps on the rump. KP may present as dry, rough areas and tiny red bumps that often feel like sandpaper. These bumps typically appear on the upper arms and cheeks but can also occur on the buttocks.² KP can’t be cured, but it often improves over time, and you may be able to help control it. More on this below!

Understanding folliculitis and keratosis pilaris

Folliculitis and keratosis pilaris can both cause butt breakouts, but they’re not the same. It’s essential to understand the differences: 

Folliculitis 

Folliculitis is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become infected and inflamed. It often presents as red, itchy, sometimes painful bumps that may develop into pimple-like sores. Folliculitis can occur anywhere on the body where hair grows, but it’s most common on the face, neck, butt, and in areas of the skin that rub and sweat.³

Keratosis pilaris

This common chronic skin condition is thought to be caused by the accumulation of keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails, which blocks the hair follicles, resulting in bumps. KP isn’t painful or harmful, but it can be irritating. It’s associated with conditions like atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis vulgaris, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and malnutrition. It often appears first in early childhood and generally improves over time.⁴ 

How to get rid of butt acne

Now, on to the good stuff. How can you treat and help prevent those bothersome bumps? It may help to simply treat butt bumps as regular body acne. Many topical treatments for body acne contain antibacterial and acne-fungal ingredients, so they should help combat acne-causing bacteria that have made your derrière 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 zits on your rear, a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. Curology’s Acne Body Wash treats and helps prevent breakouts on the back and chest and may also be helpful for the bottom. Designed by dermatologists, it’s formulated with just enough salicylic acid to be tough on acne but kind to all skin types. It’s lightly foaming, gentle enough for everyday use, and doesn’t contain fragrances or pore-clogging ingredients. You might also use an over-the-counter product with lactic acid, such as AmLactin 12%.⁵

If you think folliculitis is the cause of your bumps, there are a few treatment options available:⁶

  • Topical antibiotics: Applying an antibiotic cream or ointment directly to the affected area may help clear the infection. Popular treatments include fusidic acid 2% cream, clindamycin 2% gel, and mupirocin 2% ointment. Topical antibiotics may cause contact dermatitis, dryness, or itching, but these side effects are usually minor.

  • Systemic antibiotics: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe oral antibiotics like dicloxacillin and cephalosporins. 

  • Topical antiseptic agents: Topical antiseptic gels (such as benzoyl peroxide 2% to 10% applied twice daily), creams, soaps, or solutions (such as hypochlorite 3% to 5% solution) may help clear up folliculitis. They can be used alone or in combination with antibiotics. 

  • Hot compresses: Soaking the affected area in hot water for 15 minutes may help.

If you think your bumps are caused by keratosis pilaris, here’s what your dermatologist or dermatology provider might suggest:⁷

  • Moisturizers: Keeping the skin hydrated may help reduce the appearance of bumps and prevent the skin from becoming dry and irritated.

  • Topical creams and lotions: These may contain urea, salicylic acid, or lactic acid, which may help soften and exfoliate the skin, reducing the appearance of KP bumps. Salicylic acid lotion 6% or urea cream 20% are popular choices. 

  • Exfoliation: Exfoliating regularly may help remove the buildup of dead skin cells and clear up clogged pores. 

  • Retinoids: A recent study showed that, when applied nightly, the topical retinoid tazarotene faded keratosis pilaris in two weeks and resolved it after four to eight weeks.

  • Laser treatment: Some clinicians have found success with pulsed dye laser, alexandrite laser, Nd: YAG laser, and fractional CO2 laser treatments.

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice when treating folliculitis and keratosis pilaris, as self-treating with over-the-counter products may not be effective and can even make the condition worse.

5 lifestyle changes to help treat butt bumps

When it comes to preventing butt acne, sometimes all it takes is a few simple tweaks to your daily routine. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting any drastic changes—just a few minor adjustments that may make a big difference in your skin’s health. Here are a few changes that may help keep your behind blemish-free:⁸ 

  • Change out of tight, sweaty workout clothes and rinse off immediately after exercising.

  • Avoid frequently touching or rubbing the skin.

  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing that rubs on the skin.

  • Wear light, loose clothing, especially when it’s hot and humid!

  • Consider avoiding hot tubs that aren’t properly maintained.

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 for further treatment.

Curology’s on your side 

Curology was founded in 2014 by a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. David Lortscher, MD, with the mission to offer accessible and effective skincare. We’re a full-service skincare company offering products made with proven effective ingredients, including those that treat acne, fine lines, wrinkles, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Our products are dermatologist-designed, vegan, and cruelty-free. 

Curology helps take the guesswork out of your skincare routine. Our in-house licensed dermatology providers work with you to examine your skin, assess your goals, and create a customized treatment plan, complete with a personalized prescription formula to address your skin concerns. Our formulas contain mixes of active ingredients like tretinoin, azelaic acid, and niacinamide, which are clinically researched to offer the efficacy your skin needs.

Signing up is easy. Just answer a few questions and snap some selfies to help us get to know your skin better. If Curology is right for you, we’ll pair you with one of our in-house medical providers. They’ll guide you on your skincare journey and answer any questions you may have.

FAQs

What is butt acne?

Many people struggle with butt acne (aka “buttne”). But some of the factors that can lead to this common condition may surprise you. Even more surprising? Butt acne often isn’t true acne.

Acne-like bumps on the buttocks are often a type of folliculitis, which can occur when hair follicles (pores) get damaged. Once that damage happens, it’s easier for bacteria or fungus to cause a low-grade infection in the pores.

What are the contributing factors to butt acne?

Like the skin on your face and certain other parts of the body, the skin on your butt is susceptible to damage. 

These are some of the common contributors to butt pimples:

  • Keratosis pilaris

  • Tight clothing that rubs

  • Frequently touching or rubbing the skin 

  • Shaving

  • Hot tub folliculitis

How to get rid of butt acne?

If you have zits on your rear, a cleanser with salicylic acid may help. Curology’s Acne Body Wash treats and helps prevent breakouts on the back and chest and may also be helpful for the bottom. Designed by dermatologists, it’s formulated with just enough salicylic acid to be tough on acne but kind to all skin types. It’s lightly foaming, gentle enough for everyday use, and doesn’t contain fragrances or pore-clogging ingredients. You might also use an over-the-counter product with lactic acid, such as AmLactin 12%.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Acne-like breakouts could be folliculitis.American Academy of Dermatology.

  2. Pennycook, K.B., McCready, T.A. Keratosis Pilaris. StatPearls. (2022).

  3. Lin, S., et al. Interventions for bacterial folliculitis and boils (furuncles and carbuncles). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (2018).

  4. Pennycook, K.B., McCready, T.A. Keratosis Pilaris. StatPearls. Ibid.

  5. Keratosis Pilaris — Diagnosis & Treatment.Mayo Clinic. Nd.

  6. Lin, S., et al. Interventions for bacterial folliculitis and boils (furuncles and carbuncles). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Ibid.

  7. Pennycook, K.B., McCready, T.A. Keratosis Pilaris. StatPearls. Ibid.

  8. 12 summer skin problems you can prevent.American Academy of Dermatology.

Meredith Hartle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Curology. She earned her medical degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary. 

This article was originally published on October 28, 2020, and updated on March 29, 2023.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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