Most people can get rid of butt acne with the right hygiene practices and certain home remedies. But if your symptoms get worse, spread, turn into a boil, or if your immune system isn’t strong, you may need treatment from a doctor.
Acne can be uncomfortable no matter where it forms on your body. And unfortunately, your butt isn’t immune to those troublesome red bumps.
Butt acne is slightly different from facial acne, both in what causes it and how it’s treated.
Here are nine natural treatments to help folliculitis or butt acne.
One of the best ways to prevent butt acne is to bathe regularly with a high quality antibacterial soap. If you’re prone to acne on your behind, you may find washing your skin once in the morning and once in the evening helps reduce pimples by clearing away dirt and bacteria buildup from sweat.
“Normally, bacteria sits on the skin, but tight-fitting clothing can rub the bacteria back down into the pores, causing breakouts,” said Dr. David E. Bank, a board certified dermatologist, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and founder and director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, New York.
You might consider taking a break from spandex or skinny jeans in favor of looser and more breathable bottoms. Choose clothing, especially underwear, made from natural cotton if you can. Underwear made from bamboo is also absorbent.
Sitting on a warm washcloth may be soothing, help open pores, and draw out some of the bacteria and pus.
Wet a washcloth with water that’s warm but not too hot. Gently place the damp cloth over the area on your butt that’s having an outbreak of pimples. You could also take a warm bath or use a sitz bath.
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of an Australian tree. It’s been used to treat different skin infections and wounds for many years. Dr. Bank recommends tea tree oil as an option because it has antibacterial properties.
Studies have found that tea tree oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat acne. A small
No studies have specifically measured the effectiveness of tea tree oil for butt pimples.
Some people’s skin can be sensitive to different fabrics or laundry products. That’s why most brands of laundry detergent have a hypoallergenic version.
If you suspect that a detergent, fabric softener, or type of dryer sheet may be causing you issues, you may benefit from switching to something without dyes or skipping certain products altogether.
“Another remedy is to avoid using fabric softeners in the dryer because the fibers left on your underwear can further irritate the skin,” Dr. Bank said.
The researchers found that people with low zinc levels treated with zinc showed improvements in inflammatory papule count. Oral zinc is more effective in treating acne, as is niacinamide. Taking a daily probiotic helps, too.
Leaving the sweat and dirt on your skin after a workout can be a big contributor to butt acne and pimples. Make sure you hop in the shower as soon as possible after a sweat session. If you’re wearing tight workout pants, showering is especially important.
You’ll also want to make sure to wash workout clothes after each use. If you can’t get to a shower right away, use a body wipe or facial cleansing cloth.
Using a luffa, also known as a loofah, or a mild exfoliating wash helps get rid of dead skin cells and dirt that could contribute to clogged follicles and infection. Don’t overdo it, as over-exfoliating can cause abrasions on the skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends treating a type of skin condition that causes rough bumps called keratosis pilaris by gently exfoliating with a loofah, buff puff, or rough washcloth.
Pimples develop when a skin pore becomes infected, leading to redness and pus. Salt water has antimicrobial properties, so in theory, treating your skin with salt water may reduce the development of pimples.
Some people anecdotally report salt water helps treat their butt pimples, although there’s no research examining this yet.
If you want to use salt water, you can try mixing about 1 teaspoon of table salt with 2 cups of water and applying the solution with a washcloth to your acne.
It’s important to avoid popping pimples. Popping pimples can lead to scarring. It can also allow bacteria into the wound, which puts you at risk of developing an infection. Likewise, it’s also a good idea to avoid irritating pimples by picking at them.
If you exfoliate the skin on your butt, it’s best to avoid the temptation to scrub your skin. Scrubbing can lead to increased irritation.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using medications designed to treat acne on your face unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Many medications for facial acne aren’t effective at treating pimples on your butt because they have different underlying causes.
If pimples don’t go away on their own, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments like creams, body wash, or lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide might help. If OTC treatments aren’t effective, a doctor can prescribe:
A breakout in your face is usually caused by the condition acne vulgaris. But pimples on your butt are often caused by infected hair follicles — a condition called folliculitis.
Folliculitis is usually caused when the Staphylococcus aureus, or staph bacteria, infects a hair follicle. Normally staph bacteria live on your skin without causing problems, but when they get inside through a break in the skin, it results in infection. Folliculitis leads to red bumps and pus.
Sweating and chafing from your underwear and clothes can contribute to the development of folliculitis, especially if you wear tight clothing. Folliculitis can also be caused by shaving.
Boils and carbuncles
A boil is a pus-filled infection of your hair follicle in the deep layers of your skin that tends to be swollen and tender. They commonly occur around your:
- under your arms
Boils that drain are a sign of a more serious condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, which can lead to scarring, so seek a dermatologist sooner than later.
Carbuncles are clusters of boils that can cause more severe infections. They can also cause fever, chills, or other general feelings of unwellness.
Keratosis pilaris is a common condition that causes rough bumps due to dead skin cells clogging your hair follicles. It’s also called “chicken skin” because affected skin can mimic the skin of a plucked chicken.
The exact cause isn’t known, but it’s associated with some conditions like atopic dermatitis.It’s also associated with very dry skin. It can be treated with exfoliants to make the skin smooth and approve its appearance, but there’s no cure.
Contact dermatitis is an irritation that occurs when your skin comes into an irritating substance. It can cause redness, itchiness, or blisters. Substances that may cause contact dermatitis on your butt include:
- soaps and gels
- certain fabrics
Most people will be able to get relief from these natural treatments. But if folliculitis gets worse, spreads, or turns into a boil, or if your immune system isn’t strong, you may need treatment from a doctor.
“If you have boils, you may have to seek the help of your dermatologist, depending on the severity of the outbreak,” Dr. Bank says.
“If the outbreak is extremely severe, they may have you on an oral antibiotic to fight the infection internally. Your dermatologist may also have to drain the boil, so all the pus is safely removed from the infected area.”