- When to See a Doctor
What are pimples on the butt?
While everyone gets pimples once in a while, most people associate pimples with the transitional teenage years, where our body chemistry changes. However, pimples form when a pore becomes clogged, no matter how old you are.
On your butt, the lesions that form usually come due to bacteria that get into hair follicles and pores, rather than skin cells clogging them. This is called folliculitis or, more commonly, butt acne.
While many bacteria can enter follicles and cause infections, Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is the most common cause. As the infection grows, bumps form. Sometimes, the bumps are filled with white pus, and other times they aren't.
While not generally life-threatening, some circumstances would cause you to see your doctor for butt pimples. It's important to know the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of these lesions so you can get help if they become infected, don't heal, or keep coming back.
Types of pimples on the butt
Even though butt pimples are most commonly bacterial, different forms of folliculitis can develop on the butt. Some of these are:
- Gram-negative folliculitis, where bacteria are resistant to antibiotics
- Pseudomonas folliculitis, or hot-tub folliculitis
- Pityrosporum folliculitis, or fungal folliculitis
- Viral folliculitis, commonly from the herpes virus
- Demodex folliculitis, caused by mites
- Eosinophilic folliculitis, which generally affects people with HIV
- Hookworm folliculitis, caused by hookworm larvae
Causes of pimples on the butt
The bacteria we know as staph is responsible for most of the pimples on your butt. We wear tight underwear, and our clothing is becoming tighter as well — both of which rub our skin and damage our hair follicles.
You could also damage the hair follicles if you scrub your buttocks hard in the shower to get clean or if you use abrasive cleansers.
Our lifestyles are becoming more and more sedentary, giving us much more time sitting than standing, which can damage follicles and cause more sweat around the buttocks. Tight clothing restricts airflow and can damage hair follicles as well. So, if you exercise or sweat regularly in tight clothing, bacteria can get into the hair follicles and infect them.
If the pimples on your butt are not bacterial, they can form due to viruses, fungi, or mites that get into the hair follicles in your skin.
Hot-tub folliculitis forms when you sit in a hot tub that does not have the proper chlorine and water balance, which lets bacteria form in the water.
Hookworm folliculitis develops when hookworm larvae from animal feces burrow into the skin. This condition usually develops in visitors to tropical countries, when visitors sit on a beach or walk barefoot where animal feces may be present.
When to see the doctor for pimples on the butt
Butt pimples usually heal on their own when treated correctly. However, you might want to see your doctor if you have recurring butt pimples or pimples that develop into larger and more painful bumps.
Diagnosis for pimples on the butt
You can self-diagnose your butt pimples if you know what to look for. Small and slightly painful red bumps that sometimes have pus in the center are generally butt pimples. Large, more painful bumps are boils or cysts, and you should see your doctor for treatment.
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination of the area. They may check if you have diabetes or any condition that might make your immune system too weak to fight infections, because these conditions may increase risk for folliculitis. They'll also be able to tell you whether your butt pimple might be a boil or cyst.
Treatments for pimples on the butt
The recommended treatment for pimples — even on the butt — is to hold warm, wet compresses over the pimple to open the pore and draw out the pus. Do this several times every day, for up to 15 minutes.
Make sure not to scratch or shave the affected area, because it could spread the bacteria around.
Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics that work to kill the bacteria causing the infection and give you some antibacterial ointment to put on your butt.
If you often develop pimples on your butt, you should talk to your doctor. They will likely discuss butt pimple prevention, which is the same as preventing folliculitis. Shower daily, especially after you exercise, and ensure you dry off thoroughly.
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Cedars-Sinai: "Don't Mistake These Skin Conditions For Acne."
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The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: "Interventions for bacterial folliculitis and boils (furuncles and carbuncles)."
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