As if dealing with breakouts on your face isn’t bad enough, you may have noticed itchy red bumps that look like acne on your backside.
Of course, “buttne” isn’t as glaringly obvious as a monster zit on your chin — but it can still make you feel super-self-conscious, and you’d probably prefer to keep your butt pimple-free, especially once swimsuit season rolls around. Here’s what you need to know about dealing with breakouts on your booty.
1. Butt acne isn’t actually acne.
If it makes you feel any better, butt pimples aren’t really pimples at all. Pimples happen when a pore gets clogged with oil, dead skin cells, or bacteria. But the bumps on your butt are actually folliculitis — a.k.a. an inflamed or infected hair follicle.
“Folliculitis is often the result of bacteria, yeast, or fungus infecting the hair follicle,” says Rhonda Klein, MD. “It appears as small shallow bumps that may be itchy or irritated.” Sounds gross, but it's totally normal.
2. You shouldn’t try to pop them.
So tempting — we get it — but just assume the "no-popping" rule applies to pretty much anything skin-related.
3. Sweaty gym clothes are the actual worst.
Damp, sweaty fabrics can be a breeding ground for years and bacteria, so you definitely want to change into dry clothes ASAP after a workout. “Tight clothing can trap sweat and bodily fluids against your skin for long periods of time, causing chronic breakouts on your backside,” says Kachiu Lee, MD.
And make sure you wipe down whatever gear you’re using at the gym, too — especially anything that might touch your tush, like the seat of a spin bike. “Yoga mats, exercise balls, and communal sports equipment can all harbor bacteria if they’re not cleaned in between each use,” Lee says.
4. Wear comfy clothes when you can.
Skinny jeans, leggings, and too-tight undies can all rub against your skin throughout the day and irritate your follicles — especially if your skin’s already a little raw from shaving or waxing. “Chronic rubbing, as a result of tight-fitting clothes, can cause folliculitis,” Klein says. So go ahead and wear sweatpants because, you know, it’s for your health.
5. Acne products CAN help.
Folliculitis will usually go away on its own, but it’s kind of hard to be chill when you have itchy bumps all over your butt. The good news? Even if butt pimples aren’t legit pimples, your fave acne products can still help. Klein recommends using a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide —it kills the bacteria that can cause standard-issue pimples and butt breakouts. If that doesn’t help, talk to your dermatologist about getting a topical antibiotic.