Buttne: Why Do I Have Acne on My Butt?



Hate to break it to you like this, but those yoga pants you’ve been living (and sweating) in might be the root cause of your rump breakout. Beauty editors the internet over seem to think this is the most embarrassing life event ever, but butts aren’t taboo anymore. And buttne treatments totally aren’t TMI.

Just kidding, buttne is not acne. It’s inflammation of the hair follicles, called folliculitis, that’s caused by friction and/or overgrowth of the bacteria s. aureus. When a hair follicle becomes inflamed, it gets red and swollen.

My bottom-half wardrobe consists of yoga pants and denim. One is tight fitting, the other less-than-gentle on the skin of my seat...which means my rump probably doesn’t get as much breathing room as it would like until I strip-all for bed 16 hours later. So, yeah, I deal with folliculitis — sometimes painfully so — on the reg, from the bum down the backs of my thighs.

Even though this has never stopped me from proudly strutting cheeks out in my thong-back bikini, I’ve decided I’ve had enough. It’s time to be my best adult self and nip this zituation in the bum. You too? Try these 5 things to banish buttne for a baby soft bottom.

1. Don’t Marinate in Your Sweaty Workout Clothes

That’s a recipe for a bacteria-spreading brew

The quicker you strip off that spandex and rinse off post-gym, the less likely bacteria is to settle into your pores. Yes, your bootie has pores, just like every other inch of skin on your body. Trapped sweat that dries on your skin can lead to pore-clogging inflammation. Inflammation gets red, bumpy and irritated. Even if you’re not sweating, per se, clothing that’s not breathable (like silk, polyester or nylon) can hold moisture against the skin. Cue, swamp butt hell and bacteria heaven.

2. Speaking of Shower Time...

The dos and don’ts of your daily soak + grooming habits

Never, ever shave over the bumps. This will cause more irritation and prolong healing. Keep your body oil away from your butt until the folliculitis is cleared up — it’s a bacteria trap that could make the infection worse. Invest in a durable razor and skip your next waxing appointment since waxing can cause obstruction and exacerbate inflammation. Attacking your derriere with a shower mitt or bristle brush isn’t helping either because...

3. You Cannot Scrub Your Butte Acne Away

Swap your loofah for an exfoliating lotion

Gentle exfoliation with a cream that contains a mild alpha hydroxy acid, like lactic or glycolic, can help turn up cell turnover and keep skin moisturized for a smoother bum. Folks like to think they’re doing their butts a favor by scrubbing until the skin shines where the sun don’t, but in reality, it's setting them up for potential scarring and hyperpigmentation. Let’s not, shall we?

4. Avoid the Temptation to Pop Your Butt Pimple

Wipe your butt with salicylic acid pads instead

But do NOT get too close to your lady V — she will not appreciate it. This is an alternate solution to an exfoliating lotion or cream since premoistened pads with salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid, will also exfoliate. (Too much exfoliation will increase inflammation, so pick one or the other or stick to one in the morning, the other at night.) Look for over-the-counter products with 2% salicylic acid to effectively dissolve and remove dead cells and buildup for a clearer tush.

5. Zap Bacteria With Acne-Clearing Benzoyl Peroxide

Even if it's technically not a zit you’re dealing with

Facial acne-fighting treatments can help with butt breakouts, even though folliculitis and acne vulgaris are caused by different bacterias. The number one recommended treatment is benzoyl peroxide, an over-the-counter product that helps clear out pores. Words of caution: benzoyl peroxide in too high of doses can be irritating, especially for sensitive skin, and it absolutely will bleach-stain your towels and linens unless they’re already white…found that out the hard way.  

For an au natural approach, some research suggests adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath since acetic acid (aka, vinegar) has been proven to be an effective antibacterial treatment for wounds.

6. Don’t Rub Your Behind The Wrong Way

Really, though, tight clothing can spur inflammation

Yoga pants might be the lazy girls best friend (guilty) when it comes to style, but the friction caused by tight-fitting clothes rubbing up against your bum can irritate hair follicles, especially if you spend a significant portion of your day sitting. If your experiencing a sudden onset of red bumps across the tush, give that booty room to breathe! Wear looser-fitting bottoms and switch to cotton underwear until the irritation clears up. If you can’t ditch the yoga pants, even for a week, make sure your wearing moisture-wicking ones to prevent the aforementioned swamp butt scenario.

What Happens When Your Butt Acne Becomes Painful?

Your buttne is now a boil, go see a doctor

"Furuncles" are folliculitis gone wrong —deeply wrong, leading to a boil or a more severe infection that may require prescription topical or oral antibiotics. If the bumps you’re experiencing are very red, tender, swollen, painful and even pus-filled, and if they aren’t showing signs of improvement after a week, don’t sit on it any longer. Call your derm and make an appointment.

*Bottom* line: Keep your tush clean, bacteria-free and with room to breathe to keep your buttne from becoming a real pain the butt.

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