Buttocks acne
September 30, 2010 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Persistent acne on buttocks. It will not go away. Please help.

I get acne on my bum, and nowhere else. I've tried benzoyl peroxide, salycic acid, gold bond powder, and tea tree oil. It just wont go away. I can't afford to see a doctor. What else can I do?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Are you doing a lot of sitting and/or sweating? Your butt-cheeks need to breathe just like everywhere else. If you sit a lot, stand up and stretch every once in a while. If you work out or live in a hot climate, do NOT sit around in sweaty clothes. When you sweat, change into something dry. If you are a woman, wear cotton underpants. Don't wear clothes so tight they chafe and cut off your skin's circulation. And everything you wear should be pristinely clean, clean underwear of course and if you are being a good little eco-citizen by not laundering your trousers or skirts every day, then start washing them every day in unscented detergent; if they are dry-clean-only, rotate them so that everything is very dry and aired out when you wear it.

You might want to try a MILD facial scrub like Olay's Thermal Mini-Peel, or a MILD exfoliating face mask like Alba Botanical Papaya, on your butt. Keep it on your cheeks only because if you get it anywhere near your bits or anus, YEOWCH. Leave on as directed, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:37 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seems a strange question to ask but -- are you sure it's acne?

I would suggest trying a product made for diaper rash (something antifungal with zinc oxide) to see if it will respond to that.
posted by contessa at 2:42 PM on September 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I forgot to add, pajamas and sleepwear (and sheets if you sleep nude) need to be clean, too. Rotate through pajamas/sleepwear and wear freshly laundered ones every night.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:45 PM on September 30, 2010

You might forget about the teeny tiny hairs on your bum, but they haven't forgotten about you! They are very prone to getting ingrown and filled with sebum, just like hairs elsewhere on your body -- maybe even more so, because of the aforementioned sitting and sweating.

Instead of scrubs, try exfoliating with something else, like a washcloth (very gentle) or loofah (not so gentle).
posted by Madamina at 2:47 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Exfoliate. Seriously, yes: exfoliate your arse with a serious body scrub like St Ives. Cheap, cheerful, available at a drug store or supermarket near you.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:49 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could try a sulfur based acne treatment, if benzoyl and salicylic acid hasn't worked.

There are also lots of other things this could be, fungal or herpes skin infections, sweat rash etc. Try to rule those out before getting too aggressive with acne treatments.
posted by fontophilic at 2:50 PM on September 30, 2010

Sugar scrub is my preferred butt scrub, but the St Ives Apricot Scrub is my go-to when I need to be cheap.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2010

Also possibly keratosis pilaris?
posted by BundleOfHers at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2010

Head & Shoulders Shampoo, as recommended for back acne by the good folks on acne.org. Should work the same magic for your particular problem.
posted by Cobalt at 3:33 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some people have reactions to some of the chemicals in body wash, soap, shampoo, etc. Also harsh anti-acne products can actually cause acne. My advice is to find a gentle all-natural facial cleanser (I love Alba pineapple enzyme cleanser which you can find at Target) and clean your bum after shampooing and conditioning your hair. The reason you should clean it last is because the shampoo and conditioner being rinsed from your hair will travel down your body and onto your booty. Use a washcloth or loofah with the face wash to help exfoliate but do it gently. Too much exfoliation will just aggravate the skin. Also you can get rashes and acne on your bum from sitting too much or being too sweaty. If you're sweaty use baby powder to keep the area dry and change your underwear more than once a day. If you're sedentary, walk around more. And if all of this doesn't work then it could be something else which a dermatologist would have to diagnose.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:33 PM on September 30, 2010

Try rubbing hand sanitizer into your butt cheeks. I use this on every budding pimple I feel coming on, and rarely do they bloom into full-on zits any more. Cheap as hell, might be worth a try.

Also, I've seen alpha hydroxy acid products recommended for acne, also maybe worth a try since you've tried most of the other first-line treatments.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:38 PM on September 30, 2010

You may have a staph infection. Staph is commonly found on the buttocks, behind one's ears and in one's nose.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:15 PM on September 30, 2010

Seconding keritosis pilaris. My derm Rx'es salycitic acid cream in the am and urea cream at night. When I'm out of the good stuff I find that gentle exfoliation and a good moisturizer work wonders. Moisturizer is the key. If you've got a private space, exposing your bum to a little sunshine might help too.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:50 PM on September 30, 2010

All of these suggestions are excellent, though if you're all seriously broken out, I wouldn't hit the scrubs immediately. That will be very painful. Try cleaning the problem areas a couple times a day with a cotton ball of isopropyl alcohol to disinfect. A salicylic acid body wash is a good first step, and... I don't know your gender, or dressing preferences, but if you're willing, switch to wearing thongs to reduce elastic-undie chafing and heat/moisture buildup.
When things start to heal, start exfoliating daily in the shower with a loofah. Keep using the alcohol on anything unhealed.
posted by mostlybecky at 6:51 PM on September 30, 2010

Have you had it all your life? Or ist it just now?

If you've always had it, or at least since you were a teen, it may be acne.

I had this problem years ago. The doctor first had me kill the infection with antibiotics, and then introduced me to my best friend: tretinoin.

For more than 10 years, I have been using this version every single day of my life. the acne is completely gone. If I stop using it for a couple of days it comes back, though.
posted by Tarumba at 6:09 AM on October 1, 2010

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