Acne isn’t particularly common on your stomach because your skin there produces very little oil. It also doesn’t contain nearly as many oil glands as your face and upper torso. When there’s less oil to combine with dead skin cells, your pores are less likely to clog.
If you see something that looks like a pimple on your stomach, it may be an ingrown hair. This occurs when your pore grows over a new hair or the hair grows sideways remaining under the skin. An ingrown hair can turn into cyst, which looks very similar to a pimple.
A condition called folliculitis is also similar to acne and causes similar looking pimples. Folliculitis is a common problem in which your hair follicles become inflamed. Typically, it’s the result of a viral or fungal infection. Folliculitis usually begins as a small red bump or whitehead, but it can spread or become an open sore.
If you have folliculitis on your stomach, you may notice:
- a single red bump or pustule
- a patch of many bumps and pustules
- pain and tenderness
- blisters that break open and crust over
- a large bump or mass
Treatment for stomach pimples depends on the cause. When treating a stomach pimple at home, never attempt to pop it. This can make an infection much worse.
These home remedies for stomach pimples may help:
- Apply a warm compress. Wet a washcloth or paper towel with a warm salt-water solution. This will help the pimple drain and clean it of bacteria.
- Apply an anti-itch cream. If your pimple is itchy, use a hydrocortisone anti-itch lotion.
- Avoid friction. While your pimple is healing, avoid tight clothing that rubs up against your stomach.
- Avoid shaving. Shaving can cause and irritate folliculitis, so if you must shave, do so carefully.
Treating stomach acne
If acne is the cause, you can use over-the-counter (OTC) products like acne creams or washes containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You can also wipe the area with a cotton ball soaked with an astringent like witch hazel.
To help prevent clogged pores on your stomach, you can regularly and gently exfoliate the area to remove dead skin.
Treating folliculitis or ingrown hairs on your abdomen
You can treat most cases of ingrown hairs and folliculitis at home without much difficulty. Keeping the area clean is extremely important. You’ll want to disinfect the area to clear away bacteria and fungus. Clean with soap and warm water at least twice per day. After cleansing, apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the lesion.
If your folliculitis doesn’t improve, it may be because your infection is fungal and not bacterial. In that case, an OTC antifungal cream like miconazole (Monistat) may help.
Lichen planus is a condition that causes inflammation in your skin and mucus membranes. On skin, it typically appears as a group of itchy, flat, purplish bumps. It’s most common on wrists and ankles but it can appear anywhere. You can treat lichen planus at home with anti-itch creams.
Keratosis pilaris causes patches of dry, rough skin with tiny red bumps. These bumps may look like red goosebumps or tiny pimples. Keratosis pilaris is a common, harmless condition that typically disappears by age 30.
A cherry angioma is a benign, harmless skin growth made from blood cells. Cherry angiomas are common, particularly after age 30. They are typically small, smooth, bright red bumps.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common form of skin cancer in the United States. BCCs typically look like open sores, pink growths, red patches, or shiny bumps. They are most common in areas of your body that have been exposed to intense sun. BCCs are treatable and rarely spread.
If you suspect you have a BCC, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
You can treat most stomach pimples at home. The most important thing is not to pop them.
Occasionally, a case of folliculitis won’t clear up on its own. If your stomach pimple doesn’t clear up within two to three weeks, make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist.
You can always ask your doctor questions about skin issues. If you’re having chronic stomach pimples or they interfere with your normal life, your doctor or dermatologist can help diagnose and treat your symptoms.