What Causes Pimples on the Butt?

Everyone is all about the butt these days.  We want our booties to look great.  But are those, uh, butt pimples?  What causes those booty blemishes?

Got Pimples On Your Butt? Congrats, You're Normal

Rear view of man and woman; butt acne.
Photo: Maskot / Getty Images

No one wants to admit to them, but nearly all of us will get pimples on our butt at some point in our life.  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've Got Blocked Pores

Pimples on the bum can be the result of blocked pores.  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. 

If widespread acne is a problem for you, it would be a wise idea to see a dermatologist.  Widespread body acne can be difficult to treat and responds best to prescription treatments.

Your Butt "Acne" May Not Be Acne at All

If you're looking for information on "butt pimples," though, I'm assuming your skin is relatively clear everywhere else. 

So, while we tend to call any red bump a "pimple" and a collection of red bumps "acne," it's quite likely those red bumps across your derriere aren't really acne at all, at least not in the true sense.

Rather, the bumps on your backside are probably folliculitis.  That's just a fancy way of saying inflamed hair follicle. 

Yep, you have hair even on your booty.  And when that follicle gets irritated, it can become red and swollen.  Folliculitis can happen most anywhere on the body, including the butt.

Mild folliculitis across the buttocks is very common and, in most cases, is nothing to worry about at all. 

Tight-fitting Clothing May Be the Culprit

So, now you're wondering how the heck those follicule are becoming inflamed in the first place? 

Dermatologist friends tell me that butt acne is becoming much more common, 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.

Sweat Doesn't Help Matters

Another hair follicle irritant: sweat.

Even if you're not flat out sweating, wearing non-breathable material like nylon or polyester may be holding moisture against your skin.  Again, this can irritate those hair follicles.

An Infection May also be to Blame

An occasional "pimple" on your backside isn't a big deal.  Even a bum full of tiny, fine, red bumps isn't anything to worry about, so long as they aren't painful, super itchy, or getting worse.

But sometimes pimples on the butt are caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.  Staph is a likely culprit. 

So, if you have a pimple that gets really big, or one that hurts badly, you should give your doc a call.  Same thing if you have many very inflamed pimples across your derriere.

Of course, if you have any doubt as to what is causing the pimples on your buttocks, it's a good idea to have a physician check it out. 

Next Steps:

How To Treat Butt Acne

How To Treat Body Acne

Skin Care for Body Acne

Sources:

"Folliculitis." MedlinePlus. U.S. Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

Leulmo-Aguilar, Jesus, and Mireia Sabat Santandreu. "Folliculitis: Recognition and Management." Am J Clin Dermatol 5.5 (2004): 301-310.

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