Butt acne: What causes it and what the heck can you do to get rid of it?

Hi, hello, how is it going? Hope your day is going well, hope the family is good etc. etc.

Look, we have something we need to talk about.

Just in case 2017 wasn’t enough of a doozy, what with Trump, North Korea and bikini bottoms that appear to get smaller every summer, there’s something else we need to discuss.

Butt acne. Yep it’s a thing.

‘Buttne’, as we have so affectionately called it, is a thing because sometimes bad things happen to good people. 

But, let’s relinquish the stigma, really learn about it, and figure out exactly how we’re going to to fix it.

So what is this scourge of the arse flesh?

To really get down to the nitty-gritty, we spoke to Dr Adam Sheridan of the Specialist Dermatology Surgery & Laser clinic in Melbourne.

He said that this type of acne was different to, say, a zit on your face simply due to its origin. Where a pimple on your face would be an infected sebaceous gland, on the buttock it would stem from your hair follicle. Dr Sheridan stated that in some cases it could also occur in the perineum  – the bit between your vagina and your anus – but this is much rarer. Thank god.

LISTEN: Speaking of butt-ne, g-strings swimmers are a thing… Yep, we told you so. Post continues after audio.

“Acne is an exuberant inflammation response to normal bacteria on the skin,” he said.

“On the buttocks it’ll mostly be a frank bacterial inflammation, and sometimes it’ll be fungal or yeast related, or inflammation from irritants like dust, and chemicals. Tight clothing, sweat, heat, sand could also be triggers. That sort of thing.”

What causes it?

@monlbowie in our Gemma top and Audrey bottom ✨ #wanderlustswim

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So you’ve been confronted by new zit-esque visitors on your backside and now you’re wondering what karmic figure you pissed off to deserve such a thing.

Certain individuals can be more prone to it depending on their occupation, for example sports people, carpenters and professional drivers, purely because they’re more exposed to irritants. Same goes for sufferers of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) due to their already present hormonal imbalances.


You can also protect yourself this summer by avoiding oily sunscreens, and instead opting for “super-fluids or dry-touch formulas” says Dr Sheridan.

How to get rid of it?

We are here for you and we will get through this together.

First things first: in order to treat this affliction, Dr Sheridan says you need to identify the source.

“If it’s infected then you would prescribe an antibiotic. If it’s caused by an irritant than you would use a cortisol steroid ointment and if it’s ingrown hairs then laser hair removal can be helpful.

“If it’s just a blocked gland or follicle then a light glycolic or AHA cleanser can be helpful,” he said, referring to acid cleansers that eat up dead skin and cleanse inside the pore rather than classic physical exfoliants that ‘scrub’ away at the surface.

What is butt acne
We're going to get through this together. Image via Getty.

However, if it's just the odd zit here or there, Dr Sheridan says his patients should strip their skincare routine to strictly basics.

"Get rid of fragrances and avoid irritants in your products. You'll want to and clear your skin of pollutants, and allow yourself normal cell turnover," he says.

Instead, ditch anything that is scented or too-scrubby to avoid further aggravating existing acne, and turn to a basic kit of a pH-matched cleanser (anything that foams is a strict no-go) and a lotion or light-cream.


"Products that contain coconut or glycerin are safe but avoid oil and paste formulas," he says.

LISTEN: For the Mamamia Out Loud's team best read (which FYI, would be perfect for the beach) get your ears into this.

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