A rash on the butt can have different causes. It may be an allergy, a virus, a fungal or bacterial infection, or another health condition.
A rash is any area of irritated or swollen skin on your body. Rashes are often itchy and painful and can appear differently on different skin tones. While they’re often described as red, on skin of color, they may appear purple, gray, or white. They can also lead to:
- fluid leakage
- scaly, crusty skin
Skin rashes are usually symptoms of underlying conditions, 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 a rash on the butt can include:
- tiny bumps or dots on the buttocks
- blisters in the anal area
- itching that gets worse when you scratch it
- irritated, swollen patches of skin
- blisters or bumps that leak fluid and get crusty
- scaly patches of skin on the buttocks
- irritation between the butt cheeks
- pain and itching around the anus
- acne-like pimples on the buttocks
- sore spots that are tender to the touch
- spots that appear red, skin-colored, or slightly lighter or darker than your skin color
Butt rashes can be caused by irritation, infections, viruses, allergies, or other health conditions. 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 symptoms
There are two types: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Common symptoms of both can include:
- severe itching
- dry, scaly, or cracked skin
- bumps and blisters
- oozing, crusty skin
- pain, burning, or tenderness
Common allergens and irritants can include:
- plants, such as 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)
Atopic dermatitis, which is generally known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, dry skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common
Although eczema can cause rashes on the buttocks, rashes are typically seen:
- on the face
- on the elbows
- on the hands and feet
Atopic dermatitis symptoms
- dry, itchy patches of skin
- skin that weeps clear liquid when scratched
- crusty, scaly skin
- skin that swells and itches more after scratching
- in lighter skin tones, it can appear red, and in darker skin tones, patches of eczema may be red, pink, magenta, or darker than surrounding skin
Heat rash is a common skin irritation that causes rash and stinging. Your skin may feel prickly or itchy, and small bumps may form. Heat rash occurs most often in hot, humid weather. Heat rash can also happen any time you sweat a lot.
Heat rash can appear red on lighter skin tones, and on darker skin tones, it may look like a series of gray or white spots.
When sweat gets trapped under your skin, it can clog up pores and causes small pimples to form. It typically occurs on parts of your body where skin rubs against skin, such as along 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 can include:
- pain or itching in your genital and anal area
- small, discolored bumps that may range in size
- small blisters filled with fluid
- ulcers from ruptured blisters that may ooze and bleed
- scabs that form as ulcers heal
Keratosis pilaris is caused by a
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’re 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
- discoloration, which may appear as redness on light skin tones and the same color as the skin or darker on melanated skin
- 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’s 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. People with psoriasis
Psoriasis tends to appear pink or red on those with light or fair skin tones, and the scales can appear silvery white. On medium skin tones, it can appear salmon-colored with silvery-white scales. On darker skin tones, psoriasis may look violet, and the scales may look gray. Or it can also appear dark brown and be difficult to see.
Psoriasis can cause a rash anywhere on the body, including on the buttocks. You may have patches of raised skin that look cracked, scaly, and rough.
Ringworm (jock itch)
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect the skin of several different parts of the body, including the following:
It can affect people of all ages. 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.
- on lighter skin, the rash can appear red, flaky, or scaly, and on darker skin, the rash might appear gray or brown
- ring-shaped, circular rash
- scaly or cracked skin
- hair loss
Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that most often affects the genital and anal are but can affect other areas too. It’s most common among people who are postmenopausal, but it can affect people of all ages and genders.
- smooth, shiny, white spots
- bruising, scales, or cracking
- skin that’s 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, it may be a symptom of folliculitis, and the bumps may contain bacteria.
These bumps can appear red on lighter skin tones. They may appear similar in color to surrounding skin or may appear brown on skin of color. They may be also itchy and form whiteheads.
Candida (yeast) skin infection
Candida is a fungus that frequently infects the skin, often in warm, moist areas such as the buttocks and groin. Candida is the most common cause of diaper rash in babies and adults.
People who have diabetes, who have obesity, or who are taking antibiotics are at an increased risk. Yeast infections of the skin can occur in people of all ages and genders.
- intense itching
- reddish skin rash that grows
- red small bumps that look like pimples
People who have difficulties with bladder and bowel control may develop butt rashes. This is particularly true of people who wear diapers, who are immobile, or who use 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 can include:
- redness and irritation
- pimply rash
Butt rashes aren’t usually a symptom of anything dangerous. Typically, rashes clear up on their own after a few days or weeks, but sometimes they may require medical treatment. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends consulting a 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. A 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 natural remedies and
- Tea tree oil can have 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 reduce itchiness and inflammation and may 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 typically apply it directly to your rash.
- Oatmeal has natural soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can 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 may 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.
- Hydrocortisone cream is a mild steroid cream that is suitable for many types of rashes. It can reduce redness, itchiness, and inflammation. Common brand names include Cortizone 10.
- Antifungal creams, powders, and sprays can be used to treat fungal infections such as 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 can help fights bacterial infections. A common brand is Neosporin. This treatment works for folliculitis.
- Anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Antihistamines are used to treat allergic reactions and reduce itchiness and irritation. An example of this type of drug is diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
- Steroid cream or ointment can reduce itching and treat inflammation. They can work for most rashes, including lichen sclerosus, contact dermatitis, heat rash, intertrigo, and psoriasis.
- Corticosteroid ointments or creams may be used for lichen sclerosus. You may need to continue using the medication for about
3 monthsto help prevent a recurrence.
- Oral steroids can reduce inflammation in severe cases of rash.
- Oral antibiotics help fight bacterial infection.
- Immunomodulators can 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, a doctor may also prescribe medication to slow skin cell growth, including:
- topical synthetic vitamin D, which may be applied to the skin
Depending on which type of butt rash you’re 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:
- Consider a fragrance-free laundry detergent.
- Opt for a gentle, soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser.
- Avoid wool and other itchy fabrics.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent friction.
- Try using a gentle moisturizer regularly.
- Use a moisture barrier ointment, such as petroleum jelly, to prevent friction.
- Choose antiperspirants to prevent excess moisture. However, deodorants can sometimes cause allergic skin reactions.
- Avoid harsh chemicals or other known irritants.
- Always shower and change into clean clothes after exercising.
- Avoid reusing 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 with a doctor.