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Butt acne can be unsightly and uncomfortable, and most people who experience it want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Some home remedies may help clear up clogged follicles and get rid of pimples on the buttocks.

Butt acne is not the same as face acne. A breakout on the face is typically a condition called acne vulgaris, which has specific treatments and remedies. Anyone who has tried these treatments to clear up acne on their buttocks will notice it does not have the same results.

What people refer to as butt acne is typically a different condition. The medical term is folliculitis. Folliculitis affects the hair follicles rather than the pores of the skin.

Folliculitis occurs when hair follicles become clogged and infected with bacteria, leading to red bumps and pus-filled follicles. These clogged hair follicles look similar to pimples or blocked pores, which is why many people confuse the two conditions.

The bacteria that cause folliculitis thrive in specific conditions. Ways to prevent bacteria from developing and causing folliculitis include:

1. Washing regularly

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Clogged and infected hair follicles cause folliculitis.

Regular washing helps keep the follicles clean by removing dirt, oil, and sweat. This may reduce the levels of bacteria on the skin and decrease the risk of developing folliculitis.

People who are more prone to folliculitis should consider washing in the morning and evening. Use antibacterial soap to prevent bacterial growth.

Washing at least twice a day is especially important for people who exercise regularly. It may not always be convenient to wash after every bike ride or yoga class, but the extra sweat from exercise may provide the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

2. Avoiding abrasive exfoliation

Exfoliation is the best way to keep dead skin cells from clogging the pores and follicles. However, using a regular loofah or scrub may be too harsh, especially for those with inflamed or tender skin.

Using a regular soft washcloth or nylon shower scrubber to wash and exfoliate will help prevent irritation and inflammation.

3. Using natural alternatives

For people who do not want to use over-the-counter (OTC) medicated creams, some natural alternatives include.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a popular natural treatment for the skin. The essential oil appears to have antimicrobial properties that might help keep the skin clear and kill the bacteria that cause folliculitis.

Turmeric

Some people suggest that turmeric may also help prevent folliculitis. As one review indicates, a compound in turmeric called curcumin is active against Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can lead to folliculitis.

Applying a paste of turmeric and water to the area each day may be a helpful natural remedy. Turmeric may temporarily dye the skin yellow, however.

It is worth noting, however, that most research into curcumin's antibacterial properties has looked specifically at curcumin rather than turmeric.

Vinegar

Acetic acid, found in apple cider vinegar or household vinegar, is another natural antibacterial that may also help balance the skin. In one study, researchers reported that acetic acid reduced bacteria growth on burn wounds. They also found that the acid decreased bacterial growth in laboratory samples.

Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath may help fight the bacteria that cause folliculitis and keep the skin on the buttocks clear. It is worth noting that the research looked specifically at acetic acid and not at vinegar.

4. Using the right moisturizer

It is essential to keep the skin moist, but some moisturizers may do more harm than good by clogging the follicles and making pimples worse.

Non-greasy moisturizers that contain compounds, such as lactic acid, may prevent folliculitis in some people.

Lactic acid is a similar compound to salicylic acid, which is present in some acne treatments. It may help keep the skin moist while loosening and getting rid of dead skin cells.

Coconut oil may also make a good natural moisturizer to help soothe irritated skin.

5. Wearing loose, natural clothing

Gym clothing may help wick away sweat while a person works out, but it may also promote bacterial growth in all the wrong areas.

Tight gym clothing may also create more heat and friction, which could lead to clogged follicles or inflame the irritated area.

Aim instead for loose, breathable fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, or linen.

6. Applying a warm compress

Applying a warm washcloth may help open the follicles, allowing some pus and bacteria to drain away without popping any sores. Be sure to wash the area well after using a warm compress.

The warmth may also soothe sensitive, inflamed, or irritated skin.

7. Trying saltwater treatment

Salt water may help sterilize the area and treat minor infections.

Having a warm saltwater sitz bath is an excellent way to relieve, soothe, and clear the skin naturally.

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Some exfoliants can be too harsh and may cause further inflammation.

Some things to steer clear of when treating folliculitis on the buttocks include:

  • scrubbing or exfoliating too hard or too often
  • popping pimples or clogged follicles
  • wearing the same clothes after a workout
  • avoiding unnecessary chemicals, such as perfumes in laundry detergent or dryer sheets

Folliculitis typically appears due to an overgrowth of bacteria, such as S. aureus. These bacteria usually live on the skin without incident.

If the bacteria get under the skin, they may grow and multiply, which can cause small infections in the deeper hair follicles.

Other than bacteria, factors such as friction and sweat may influence folliculitis.

Merely sweating or chafing, such as when working out in gym pants, may be enough for the bacteria to grow. Sitting in a chair directly after a workout may be another cause. Sometimes, wearing tight clothes may be enough to cause folliculitis on the buttocks.

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A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for severe cases of folliculitis.

Feel free to visit a dermatologist about folliculitis on the buttocks. They will have lots of experience in treating the condition and may recommend a suitable home remedy for symptoms.

If folliculitis spreads or gets worse despite treatment, it is time to see a doctor.

Also, seek treatment if the bumps turn into carbuncles or boils. Severe outbreaks may require more potent antibiotics or creams to fight the infection.

Folliculitis can be uncomfortable, but there is a variety of remedies available. Doctors can recommend appropriate treatment options, especially in severe cases. Folliculitis generally responds well to treatment.

The remedies listed in this article are available to purchase online:

Q:

Can any over-the-counter acne treatments help with folliculitis? If so, which ones?

A:

Facial cleansers and gentle exfoliants will help remove oils and keep the skin clean on your bottom. Antibacterial scrubs gentle enough for the face should be safe to use. But take care not to get these products near the anus, the penis urinary opening, or the inner labia. Do not use prescription acne medication on the buttocks until you talk to your doctor.

Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.