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How to Get Rid of Butt Acne, According to Dermatologists

Though breakouts on your butt are easier to hide than most other locations, they’re also one of the more annoying kinds to deal with for the exact same reason (you know, with all the sitting and wearing pants that we do). That said, the treatment plan for getting rid of butt acne is pretty straightforward. Below, two board-certified dermatologists break down how to get rid of butt acne.

Meet the Experts:

  • Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at Cornell University
  • Dr. Lauren Penzi, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York

What Causes Butt Acne?


“Butt acne can be caused by the same things that cause you to break out on your face, which results from clogged pores and the buildup of oil, bacteria, dead skin cells and inflammation,” explains Dr. Garshick. “For some individuals there can also be a hormonal component to breakouts on the butt.”

There are also lifestyle habits that can contribute to breakouts in this area. “For example, if you exercise and sweat sits on the skin for too long, it can contribute to clogged pores,” adds Dr. Penzi. “Friction and pressure from tight-fitting clothing and prolonged sitting can also contribute to breakouts in this area.”

What Are the Best Ways to Get Rid of Butt Acne?


According to Dr. Penzi, you should start with a few simple lifestyle changes such as:

  • Showering immediately after sweating or working out.
  • Wearing non-irritating, loose-fitting underwear and clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton.
  • Getting up and walking around at least once per hour (especially if you have a desk job or a more sedentary lifestyle).

As for your hygiene routine, Dr. Garshick recommends using a cleanser with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in the shower to help prevent future breakouts and clogged pores. “It’s best to use this cleanser consistently, and if you’re experiencing active breakouts, it can help to use a leave-on treatment as well, which can be prescribed by a dermatologist to reduce inflammation, bacteria or clogged pores,” she adds.

In some cases, butt acne can overlap with another condition known as keratosis pilaris, where there is a rough and bumpy texture to the skin without true pimples, in which case an exfoliating product containing lactic acid or glycolic acid can be helpful.

Are There Any Precautions to Take When Treating This Area? Is There Anything You Should Absolutely Avoid Doing? 

“While you should never pop a pimple or squeeze it, it is especially important to avoid doing so in the buttocks area, given the potential risk of infection and the challenge of actually seeing the spot you’re targeting,” cautions Dr. Garshick, who also notes that with prolonged sitting, anything that is applied to the buttocks “can have greater penetration and thus, potential for more irritation.”

Which is why Dr. Penzi says to avoid starting with higher strength treatments (i.e, benzoyl peroxide products that are ten percent strength and higher). “These can be irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin, and studies show that higher concentrations are not necessarily more effective,” she explains. “Be aware that benzoyl peroxide can bleach your towels and any fabric it touches, so be sure to rinse off thoroughly or wear something you don’t mind getting stained.”

How Long Will It Take to Clear Things Up?


While some people may notice some breakouts subside within a few weeks, it can take a few months for the treatments to fully kick in and prevent new breakouts from forming.

When Should You Seek Out a Dermatologist?


“When lifestyle changes and over-the-counter methods don’t work, it is time to see a board- certified dermatologist to consider prescription treatments or rule out other diagnoses,” says Dr. Penzi. Dr. Garshick agrees, adding that there are different conditions that may look similar to acne (like folliculitis or other, overlapping conditions like keratosis pilaris or hidradenitis suppurativa, which may involve nodules and cysts that can be confused with acne).

“Depending on what the condition is, there are different approaches to treatment, and in some cases, a topical or oral prescription may be needed,” explains Dr. Garshick.

Shop Dr. Garshick’s Top Picks for Treating and Preventing Butt Acne:

“While this can be used anywhere on the body, it is a great option for those dealing with butt breakouts as it contains salicylic acid to help reduce breakouts and blemishes without drying the skin. The 360-degree mist helps to target hard to reach areas like the buttocks.”

“These salicylic acid wipes can be applied to the area to help get rid of excess oil, dirt and buildup to help prevent breakouts. They are easy to use and can be used on-the-go.”

“For someone who prefers a physical exfoliant, this gentle body wash effectively cleanses the skin while gently eliminating dead skin cells, helping to improve overall skin texture and tone. Unlike harsh scrubs, it won’t leave the skin feeling dry or irritated.”

“This wash has a lower percentage of benzoyl peroxide in it and is safe to use on the face, back, chest and buttocks. It helps to prevent new breakouts and treats existing ones by killing off acne-causing bacteria. It also contains humectants and emollients to boost hydration and minimize irritation.”

“This lotion is a great option for those with rough and bumpy skin on the buttocks, as it gently exfoliates using lactic acid, while simultaneously hydrating the skin so it won’t leave the skin feeling dry or irritated. It helps to eliminate dead skin cells, so your skin feels soft and smooth.”

“Made with salicylic and lactic acid, this moisturizing cream eliminates dead skin cells while also unclogging the pores. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, which help to hydrate and calm the skin, making it a safe option for anyone who’s prone to dryness and irritation.”

“Last but not least, I like this cleanser because it contains two-percent salicylic acid to help reduce breakouts in combination with niacinamide to soothe the skin. Additionally, it’s fragrance-, paraben- and sulfate-free.”