Affecting about 50 million Americans each year, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States. While you can be affected by breakouts at any age, these annoying red bumps and blemishes are most prevalent in individuals who are 18 to 24 years of age. With that said, the occurrence of adult acne is increasing, affecting up to 15 percent of women. Many people with acne will scar from the condition. Some, because they like to pop or pick, and others because the severity of it will naturally leave scars during the healing process. Using the proper skincare routine and acne treatments, you can manage your whiteheads, blackheads, cystic acne, and zits with the help of a dermatologist.
But we’re not here to talk about acne and acne scarring, we’re here to talk about folliculitis and how to identify, treat, and reduce that scarring because guess what? Butt pimples, butt acne, or buttne (whatever you want to call it), isn’t even acne at all. Mind. Blown.
Butt Pimples Aren’t Acne
Yep, you read that right. Pimple-like bumps on your rump are actually a condition called folliculitis, caused by inflammation, infection, and irritation around hair follicles. The most common cause of folliculitis on your behind may be from wearing clothes that trap sweat, heat, and grime. So if you’re someone who lounges around in your leggings post warrior pose - maybe don’t. While some body acne is, in fact, acne, dermatology tells us this is limited to acne on your chest and back. This may explain why the benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid body wash that's so great for your bacne is doing nothing for your butt breakouts. Ditto cleansers, spot treatments, and face wash that do wonders for your facial acne, but don't help your booty buildup.
Some additional risk factors for developing folliculitis include shaving and waxing your bum, consistently wearing restrictive clothes that cause friction against the skin, having a medical condition where your ability to fight infection is compromised, the use of steroid cream, or if you’re on a long-term form of antibiotic therapy.
Folliculitis comes in many forms, depending upon the cause, and generally changes in appearance as the severity increases. It may start simply as painful or tender skin that quickly becomes itchy or gives off a burning sensation. Make sure you pay attention to this red flag so you can start treatment measures right away (more on that later). There are two kinds of folliculitis that generally cause issues on our arses, however.
The most common form is bacterial folliculitis which is caused by a common bacteria that lives on our skin. This bacteria only becomes harmful when it moves from our skin to inside our bodies and, in this case, infecting the hair follicles. You’ll know you have this type if you notice white, itchy, puss-filled bumps.
Another often seen type is pseudofolliculitis barbae, otherwise known as razor burn. Gals who shave or wax their bikini areas or guys with curly beards who shave, know this kind very well as it’s caused by ingrown hairs.
Left untreated and without attention to preventative measures, folliculitis of any kind can go from a simple skin irritation or pimple-like bumps, to full-blown cysts that live deep below the skin.
How do I get Rid of Pimples on My Bum?
With buttne, prevention is key. So try some self-care steps to keep the condition at bay like exfoliation, and don't forget to moisturize:
- Tight Isn’t Always Right: Try to skip tight clothing if you can. This will reduce friction against the skin and won’t allow for the trapping of heat or sweat.
- Shower Power: Keeping your glutes glistening will help reduce the chance of bacteria spreading or infections from forming.
- Avoid Shaving and Waxing: We all want smooth operators back there, but shaving could actually make it a whole lot worse. Besides, peaches have fuzz and we think that’s cute.
- Practice Good Butt Skin Care: Just like your face, you should have a routine that promotes healthy skin care for your derriere. This could include washing, exfoliating dead skin cells, and moisturizing daily. Make sure to exfoliate gently so you avoid tearing the sensitive skin on your booty. If you're worried about clogging your skin, find a gel moisturizer instead of a heavy cream.
If you do find yourself with a case of this common skin condition, take these steps to treat it without causing permanent scarring and dark spots, or hyperpigmentation:
Watch for the Red Flag: Remember that red flag of tender, itchy, or burning skin? Well, that’s your cue to clean it up! You’ll want to gently but thoroughly cleanse the area. Then, apply a soothing lotion. If the itchy area is really bothering you, you can apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
Antibiotics are Your Friend: Since this condition can be caused by bacteria, over-the-counter antibiotic ointments like Neosporin or Bacitracin would work well to clear up any infection.
No Picking, Popping, or Poking: In order to avoid butt acne scars and hyperpigmentation, do not poke, prod, pick, or pop any kind of folliculitis. If you do, you run the risk of causing further irritation and infection, as well as spreading bacteria. Besides, the less trauma you cause to your skin, the less likely scarring and discoloration are so...hands off!