A rash is any area of irritated or swollen skin on your body. Rashes are often itchy, red, and painful. They can also lead to:
- fluid leakage
- scaly, crusty skin
Skin rashes are usually symptoms of underlying problems, such as viral and fungal infections, or allergies.
Most butt rashes clear up on their own, but some last longer and may require treatment. Read on to learn more about rashes that can develop on your buttocks.
General symptoms of butt rash include:
- tiny red bumps or dots on the buttocks
- blisters in the anal area
- itching that gets worse when you scratch it
- red, irritated, swollen patches of skin
- blisters or bumps that leak fluid and get crusty
- scaly patches of skin on the buttocks
- redness and irritation between the butt cheeks
- pain and itching around the anus
- acne-looking pimples on the buttocks
- sore spots that are tender to the touch
Here are a few of the common causes of rash on your buttocks:
Contact dermatitis is a common type of rash. It appears when your skin comes into contact with a substance that causes irritation to the skin. Some contact dermatitis rashes appear immediately, but most take some time to appear.
There are two types: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Common symptoms of both include:
- redness and swelling
- severe itching
- dry, scaly, or cracked skin
- bumps and blisters
- oozing, crusty skin
- pain, burning, or tenderness
Common allergens and irritants include:
- plants, like poison ivy and poison oak
- medications, such as antibiotics or antihistamines
- chemical additives, including food flavorings, cosmetics, and perfumes
- cleaning products, such as soaps or laundry detergents
- bath or personal care products, including lotions, shampoo, soaps, and sunscreen
- fertilizers and pesticides
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Although eczema can cause rashes on the buttocks, they are typically seen:
- on the face
- on the elbows
- on the hands and feet
- dry, red, itchy patches of skin
- skin that weeps clear liquid when scratched
- crusty, scaly skin
- skin that turns red, swells, and itches more after scratching
Heat rash is a common skin irritation that causes redness and stinging. Your skin may feel prickly or itchy, and small bumps may form. Heat rash occurs most often, as its name implies, in hot, humid weather. Heat rash can also happen any time you sweat a lot.
When sweat gets trapped under your skin, it clogs up pores and causes small pimples to form. It typically occurs on parts of your body where skin rubs against skin, such as your butt crack or inner thighs.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted virus that can cause rash-like symptoms on your buttocks, anus, or thighs. Herpes can be transmitted through any type of sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, or anal contact.
Rash symptoms originate in the place where the infection entered your body, but can spread when you scratch them. Symptoms include:
- pain or itching in your genital and anal area
- small red bumps
- small white blisters
- ulcers from oozing and bleeding
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin on the skin. Keratin is a protein that protects your skin from harmful irritants and infections.
In people with keratosis, keratin forms a plug that blocks the openings of hair follicles. This causes rough, sandpaper-like skin. Tiny red bumps may form on the buttocks, though they are typically painless.
Shingles is an infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the inactive virus remains in your body for years and can reactivate in adulthood. It typically appears as a painful rash on one side of the body. The rash may include:
- numbness, burning, pain, or tingling
- tenderness to touch
- blisters that break, causing crusty skin
You may also experience fatigue, general feelings of malaise, and fever.
Intertrigo is a rash that forms in the folds of the skin. When skin rubs against skin, it causes friction and creates a warm, moist environment that is ideal for fungal and bacterial growth.
Intertrigo is common in the skin between the buttocks (butt crack), which can become very raw, itchy, and painful. It may appear red or reddish-brown, and in severe cases the skin can crack, bleed, and produce a foul odor.
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune skin condition. When you have psoriasis, your immune system mistakenly attacks your skin cells, causing them to grow rapidly and swell. The skin cell overgrowth forms a rash characterized by raised red marks and scaly white patches.
Psoriasis can cause a rash anywhere on the body, including the buttocks. Look for red or pink patches of raised skin that look cracked, scaly, and rough.
Ringworm (jock itch)
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect skin in several different parts of the body, including the following:
It can affect men, women, and children. Ringworm, which gets its name from the circular rash it produces on the skin, is often called jock itch or athlete’s foot, depending on its location.
- itchy red spots
- ring-shaped, circular rash
- scaly or cracked skin
- hair loss
Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that most often affects the genital and anal area, but can affect other areas too. It’s most common among women who are postmenopausal, but it can affect men and children too.
- smooth, shiny, white spots
- redness, bruising, scales, or cracking
- skin that is thin and wrinkled or easy to tear
- bleeding and blistering
- itchiness and pain
- pain during urination, sex, or bowel movements
Folliculitis (butt acne)
People often mistake butt acne for regular acne. Pimples on your butt don’t form in clogged pores like facial acne. Instead, they form in clogged hair follicles.
In people with folliculitis, hair follicles become infected after being irritated, usually by friction or shaving. If you notice small, painful pimples on your butt or groin, they are probably infected with bacteria. These red bumps can be itchy and form whiteheads.
Candida (yeast) skin infection
Candida is a fungus that frequently infects the skin, often in warm, moist areas like the buttocks and groin. Candida is the most common cause of diaper rash in babies and adults.
- intense itching
- red skin rash that grows
- small red bumps that look like pimples
People who have problems with bladder and bowel control often develop butt rashes. This is particularly true of adults who wear diapers, are bedridden, or are confined to a wheelchair for long periods of time.
Excess moisture between the buttocks and in the groin area provides an ideal environment for bacterial and fungal growth. Symptoms of incontinence-associated dermatitis include:
- redness and irritation
- pimply rash
Butt rashes aren’t usually a sign of anything dangerous. Typically, rashes clear up on their own after a few days or weeks, but sometimes they require medical treatment. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeing your doctor about a rash when:
- the rash is sudden and spreads quickly
- the rash covers your entire body
- you have a fever with your rash
- you have blisters on your genitals or anus
- the rash is painful
- the rash starts to look infected, which may include yellow or green fluid, red streaks, or painful swelling
Dermatologists can often identify a rash on sight. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin health. Your doctor will do a physical exam and look at the rash. They might also:
- take a tissue sample or culture
- take a sample of your blood
- ask about your medical history and allergies
- perform a patch test to see how your skin reacts to various irritants
There are some things you may be able to do to find immediate relief, and, in some cases, treat your rash.
- Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal effects when applied directly to a rash. You can try it for yeast infections and folliculitis.
- German chamomile tea can be ingested or applied as a compress to treat dermatitis. It can significantly reduce itchiness and inflammation, and it can speed up healing.
- Any gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer can be applied liberally to itchy, dry skin.
- Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer with antimicrobial (infection fighting) properties. You can apply it directly to your rash.
- Oatmeal has natural soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Try mixing ground oatmeal into a cool bath, or mix it into a paste and apply it directly to your rash.
- Aloe vera can sooth, moisturize, and decrease itchiness.
- Witch hazel can be applied directly to your rash to sooth irritated skin, speed up healing, reduce itchiness, and even help prevent infection.
- Menthol is an essential oil derived from Japanese mint. It has soothing, anti-itch properties.
- Honey can help fight infection in open sores.
Treatments for butt rash vary depending on the underlying condition. In some cases, you might be able to use over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For other conditions, you may need a prescription from a doctor.
There are several OTC medications your doctor may recommend:
- Hydrocortisone cream. This mild steroid cream is suitable for many types of rash. It can reduce redness, itchiness, and inflammation. Common brand names include Cortizone 10.
- Antifungal creams, powder, and sprays. These can be used to treat fungal infections like ringworm, intertrigo, and yeast infections. They can help reduce itchiness, burning, and cracking skin. Medications include clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Cruex, Desenex) and miconazole nitrate (Monistat).
- Antibiotic creams and ointments. These can help fights bacterial infections. A common brand is Neosporin. This treatment works for folliculitis and lichen sclerosus.
- Anti-inflammatory painkillers. Medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Antihistamines. These are used to treat allergic reactions, and reduce itchiness and irritation. An example of this type of drug is diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe the following medications to help manage and treat your rash:
- Steroid cream or ointment can reduce itching and treat inflammation. They work for most rashes, including lichen sclerosus, contact dermatitis, heat rash, intertrigo, and psoriasis.
- Oral steroids reduce inflammation in severe cases of rash.
- Oral antibiotics fight bacterial infection.
- Immunomodulators keep your immune system from overacting to allergens. They can be used to treat severe cases of allergen contact dermatitis.
- Antibiotic cream can fight bacterial infection. This may be prescribed for intertrigo, folliculitis, and incontinence
- Antifungal cream can help with fungal infection. This can be used to treat intertrigo, yeast infection, and ringworm.
- Oral antivirals can be used for shingles to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. They may also be prescribed for herpes to help sores heal sooner, minimize the chance of spreading the virus, and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
- Retinoid creams can decrease inflammation and may be used to treat psoriasis and lichen sclerosus.
- Drugs that alter the immune system are used for severe psoriasis.
If you have psoriasis, your doctor may also prescribe medication to slow skin cell growth, including:
- vitamin D analogues
Depending on which type of butt rash you are experiencing, there may or may not be steps you can take to prevent future outbreaks. Here are a few tips to prevent problems before they arise:
- Use fragrance-free laundry detergent.
- Use a gentle, soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser.
- Avoid wool and other itchy fabrics.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent friction.
- Use a gentle moisturizer regularly.
- Use a moisture barrier ointment, like petroleum jelly, to prevent friction.
- Use antiperspirants to prevent excess moisture.
- Avoid harsh chemicals or other known irritants.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Always shower and change into clean clothes after exercising.
- Don’t reuse sweaty clothes left in a gym bag.
There are many conditions that can lead to butt rash. However, many natural and OTC treatments are available that you can use to find relief. If your rash doesn’t go away, talk to your doctor.