How Do I Get Rid Of Acne…On My Butt?

We asked a dermatologist so you don’t have to.

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Get rid of butt acne - a peach with spots represents butt acne
Photo, Getty Images.

Breakouts in the butt area are a problem that affects 10 to 15 percent of the population. And the first piece of important information? Those breakouts aren’t actually zits.

“‘Bum acne’ is actually not acne at all, but folliculitis,” says Dr. Julia Carroll, a dermatologist at Compass Dermatology in Toronto. “That’s inflammation around the hair follicles that can affect just the surface or deeper down as well.”

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According to Dr. Carroll, folliculitis on your rear is often caused by bacteria that collects around the hair follicle area. (Ingrown hairs can cause it, too.) If you’re a cyclist or a rower, or involved in any kind of exercise that keeps you in sweaty workout gear for long sessions and causes friction, you might be more prone to it.

But stopping that folliculitis before it starts is relatively simple. Get out of that sweaty workout wear ASAP, always wash those clothes thoroughly, and use an antibacterial soap followed by a gentle exfoliator to wash your cheeks. Laser hair removal can do the trick, as well, by helping to prevent ingrowns.

If you’ve done your best to prevent folliculitis on your butt and you’re still getting those little whiteheads, there are products that can help. “Salicylic or glycolic acid can help smooth the area,” says Dr. Carroll. And, as with any kind of skin condition, if the problem persists, make an appointment with your derm to get it checked out.