Bottom acne is not a favorite topic of conversation, but hey, we all get it from time to time—or at least, we think we do. Whenever you experience bumpy texture or spots on your backside, you’re probably quick to assume it’s acne, right? I mean, after all, we get acne on our chests, on our scalps, and on our backs, so why would our behind be any different? But as it turns out, the bottom acne you’re experiencing likely isn’t acne at all.
We turned to two board-certified dermatologists, Morgan Rabach, MD, and Shereene Idriss, MD, to explain to us this phenomenon and quite literally save our bottoms. Keep scrolling to find out what we learned, because it’s time to put your breakouts behind you.
Why am I getting pimples on my behind?
Dr. Rabach says “bum acne” is super common, but if you want to get technical (and we do), what you’re experiencing is likely folliculitis—not the same kind of acne you'd get on your face. "It’s an inflammation of the hair follicles,” says Dr.Idriss. So how can you tell if what you’re dealing with is folliculitis or acne? That leads us to the next question…
What does folliculitis look like?
The reason folliculitis and acne are easily confused for each other is because they look very similar, but there are a few key differences. As Dr. Rabach explains it, “Acne is defined by having comedones, which are blackheads and whiteheads. On the bum, you see folliculitis, which has a hair in the center of a red pimple, and the white material associated with the bump is often dead skin and white blood cells.” Yum. That said, there are instances where patients do get actual zits on their bums, which is why both Dr. Idriss and Dr. Rabach urge people to see a derm so you can find out exactly what’s going on.
What causes “acne” (aka folliculitis) on your bum?
In short, anything that causes friction can cause these bottom bumps. And if you feel like your bum acne is more prevalent in the summer—exactly when you want to be showing off your behind—you’re not crazy. Wet clothes, like a bathing suit or sweaty workout leggings, are two main offenders that lead to folliculitis.
How do you get rid of pimples on your butt?
Dr. Idriss recommends cleansing with an acne wash that contains a high percentage of benzoyl peroxide, like PanOxyl, to kill any bacteria on the skin that could lead to bacterial folliculitis. And while you may be tempted to exfoliate the hell out of your bumpy butt, leave the grainy physical scrubs alone (and no picking, obvs). Instead, Dr. Idriss recommends wiping the area with a gentle chemical exfoliator, like an glycolic or salicylic acid pad, or an exfoliating lotion, like AmLactin, which helps keep dead skin cells from clogging your pores.
Clear Butt Breakouts With These 4 Products
PanOxyl on Amazon for app DHS 84
Cane + Austin, Dermstore, approx Dhs182
Rapid Clear Neutrogena, Amazon, approx Dhs43
Amlactin, Dermstore, approx Dhs58