What Causes Butt Pimples and How to Get Rid of Them

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Pimples on Your Butt Are Normal

No one wants to admit to them, but nearly everyone will get pimples on the butt at some point. It’s common and generally is not a big deal. Butt acne can happen at any age, and it occurs equally in both men and women.

You may just get a butt pimple here and there. Or you may have rough, red bumps across the entirety of your bum. They may hurt, or itch, or not. All is normal.

You’ve Got Blocked Pores

Pimples on the butt can be the result of blocked pores.1 Yes, your bum has pores too. And they can become clogged just like pores anywhere else on your body.

People who have acne in other areas often get booty breakouts as well. Acne vulgaris, or what we call common acne, can sometimes creep down from the chest, shoulders and back to the buttocks.1

For widespread acne, it’s a wise idea to see a dermatologist. Body acne can be difficult to treat and responds best to prescription acne treatments.

Your Butt “Acne” May Not Be Acne at All

Actually, the vast majority of butt acne is not truly acne at all. While we tend to call any collection of red bumps on the skin “acne,” it’s quite likely those blemishes across your derriere are actually caused by something entirely different.

Folliculitis

The most common cause of red, inflamed pimples on your backside is folliculitis. That’s just a fancy way of saying inflamed hair follicle.2

You have hair over nearly all areas of your skin, including your booty. When a hair follicle gets irritated, it becomes red and swollen. The bumps can develop a white head and look rather like acne pimples. These bumps are sometimes painful or itchy, but not always.

Folliculitis can happen most anywhere on the body, by the way. It’s not limited to the butt. Dermatologists say that butt acne is becoming much more common,3 probably because of our clothing choices and what’s now in style. The friction caused by tight-fitting clothing can be enough to irritate your hair follicles. So, if you live in yoga pants or spandex running shorts, or if tight jeans and slim-fit slacks are your go-to day wear, you may be unknowingly contributing to your butt breakouts.

Another hair follicle irritant: sweat. Even if you’re not flat out sweating, wearing undergarments of non-breathable material, like nylon or polyester, can hold moisture against your skin. Again, this can irritate those hair follicles.

Folliculitis can also be caused when the hair follicle becomes infected with bacteria, like Staph or Pseudomonas. A specific type of folliculitis, called hot tub folliculitis, happens from spending time in an improperly maintained hot tub or pool.4

Keratosis Pilaris

Instead of red, inflamed blemishes, what if you have fine, rough bumps across your booty? You most likely have keratosis pilaris.

Keratosis pilaris is a very common skin condition. It causes small skin-colored or red bumps across the surface of the skin. The bumps may look rather like tiny pimples or even goosebumps.5 You might not really notice them except when you run your hand across your bum.

These bumps develop when there is a buildup of keratin around the pore opening. Keratin is a protein that forms a protective layer on the surface of the skin. For reasons unknown, the keratin builds up and forms a hard plug, creating that bump you see and feel.6

You may have had this condition your entire life and never knew those bumps had a name. Keratosis pilaris commonly develops on the buttocks, backs of the upper arms, and fronts of the thighs. Children often get it on their cheeks (of the face this time, not the bum) too.

There’s no specific cause of keratosis pilaris. It does tend to run in families. It’s often at its worst during childhood and the teen years, and fades over time.5 Although it’s annoying, the good news is keratosis pilaris is completely harmless.