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This post has been updated in early 2022 to ensure the advice is relevant and up to date, as well as ensuring products recommended are the best possible and available.
If spots on your bum, ‘assne’, butt pimples or whatever you want to call them are your problem, the below guide and subsequent FAQs have you covered. Over my 15 years in beauty, its genuinely surprising how often I’ve been asked “how do I get rid of spots on my bum?” but it’s something people won’t readily discuss despite it happening to so many of us – and particularly as a teenager, to me too.
Spots on bum causes
Spots on your bum often occur in exactly the same way spots on the face do. It’s a process of dead skin cells trapping P. acnes bacteria in the skin, that once deprived of oxygen begins to spread. This then triggers an immune response and blood flows to the area, bringing white blood cells that try and attack the bacteria and force it out (why you’ll often get a ‘core’ inside a spot; it’s the encapsulated bacteria).
Beyond the causes of ‘butt pimples’, if you want to know more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for acne as a general skin concern, read the acne, spots and blemishes guide.
Could if be Folliculitis or Kertatosis Pilaris?
Keratosis Pilaris is a very common, genetic skin condition presenting as tiny bumps or ‘spots’ in the skin. When squeezed, white lumps or substance emits from the ‘spot’, looking similar to acne or spots caused by P. acnes bacteria. The difference here is that it’s caused by an over abundance of keratin protein, and this is what you’re seeing. Whilst it can be red, because it can be a little dry and inflamed, these are easier to get rid of by exfoliation and lightweight moisturisers (something that doesn’t feel greasy or heavy). The NHS site has a good photo of what keratosis often looks like.
Folliculitis is a little different in how it works but it can still present similarly to normal acne/spots on the bum. Symptoms of folliculitis are itchy, white, pus-filled bumps that can occur when the hair follicles infect with a bacteria, most often this is Staphylococcus aureus (staph) that live on the skin all the time (so nothing to be alarmed over). The recommend tips and skincare treatments for folliculitis spots on the bum are the same as with blocked hairs or acne, so please keep on reading. A useful photo example of Folliculitis can be found here.
Is it normal to have pimples on your bum?
Yes. It’s not desired but it is very common. Most bums we see in the media are either very heavily laden with makeup or photoshopped. Whilst everyone has hair on their bum, men particularly get slightly thicker hairs on their bums and these can block, causing inflammation and an infection. Also many of us are prone to body acne, folliculitis and keratosis (see above) naturally. So yes, it’s very normal.
Does sudocrem get rid of spots on bum?
No. In the long term it can often make things worse.
How do I get rid of spots on my bum?
This is my definitive guide on how to get rid of them without spending a fortune and looking after your skin’s health. No product here is over £35, and whilst there are some cheaper alternatives, I believe those listed here are the most effective for their price point and will hopefully shift your spots relatively quickly.
1. Exfoliate: Face Theory Glycolic Face & Body Scrub E1
N.B. If the spots on your bum appear like acne, first get them diagnosed. For spots that are tender and very sore all the time or you feel any nodules, please avoid this step or at the very, very least, use your own personal judgement and caution. With acne if you rupture it, you can cause it to spread and make it worse.
Because those pores are clogged and hairs most likely trapped, it’s time to exfoliate to remove dead surface skin cells and release those hairs.
I personally am a fan of a good solid body scrub that takes chunks out of my skin, but for spots, this is not a great idea. This can rupture spots, leading to scarring and/or spreading. Instead, something mild and chemical is the way forward, to break down the bonds of dead skin cells rather than ripping them off forcibly.
Face Theory’s Glycolic Exfoliating Face & Body Scrub contains gentle jojoba beads that although are classed as a ‘manual/physical exfoliant’ are verging on unnoticeable and are there to agitate skin cells that have been dislodged by the gently powerful chemical exfoliants.
The chemical exfoliants are glycolic acid (2%) and salicylic acid (1%) which work to break down the bonds of dead skin cells on your bum cheeks. These ingredients are fantastic at unblocking pores and speeding up skin cell turnover; this will help open up the spot, get oxygen into the pore and unclog it.
Apply it to your dry bottom and work it in with your hands before getting into the shower; make sure the bathroom door is closed and locked otherwise you’ll have a tough time explaining this one. If you can, leave it on for a 5 minutes or so to let it do its thing. Salicylic acid works well when agitated so keep massaging but do it calmly and gently. Then get in the shower and rinse it off, it’s as easy as that.
What I like:
- Very reasonably priced
- Effective but gentle
- Recommended by professionals
- Sticks well to dry skin
What I don’t like:
- Unfragranced version is dull
- Wish the jar was bigger/doesn’t last too long
Face Theory Glycolic Face & Body Scrub is £10.99 per jar or £17.99 for two – use my link to get 20% off! They do a gently scented (with essential oils) mandarin version, but considering its for spots/damaged skin, I’d go with the boring unscented version just to negate any unnecessary irritants.
2. Cleanse: COSRX AC Calming Solutions Body Cleanser
Once you’ve scrubbed, it’s time to get in the shower. I’ll now present you with the world’s most boring but highly effective against spots body wash. It smells like something you’d get in a prescription product which is good because it highlights how COSRX have excluded overt fragrance (there’s a tiny bit on the ingredients list but is negligable) which can be and often is a skin irritant, particularly on sensitive, damaged and spot-ridden skin.
Actives include the chemical exfoliating salicylic acid; skin calming mint and wound-healing asiatic acid, madecassic acid and asiaticoside. Here’s a link to academic study on the wound healing properties of asiatic acid, madecassic acid and asiaticoside – it’s pretty interesting and is very exciting to see in this body cleanser. This is a rinse of product however so they’re not going to perform miracles, but still.
I would avoid using this on your genital area. It is most likely absolutely fine, but the thought of chemical exfoliators on your junk and the irritation it may cause isn’t worth it in my opinion. Your call though, you have been warned.
What I like:
- Very thick and penetrates water onto the skin instantly
- Great lather
- Very effective cleanser
- Not full of rubbish
- Big bottle at a reasonable price considering the formulation
What I don’t like:
- Really struggled unscrewing the pump the first time
- Smell is very clinical
- Not cheap for a daily shower gel
- Not sure how genital friendly it might be
- Not travel friendly packaging
COSRX AC Calming Solution Body Cleanser is £24 with Free Delivery available from Beauty Bay.
3. Day Treatment: The Solution Salicylic Acid Clear Skin Body Gel
I’ve split treatments into day and night as one is more practical for during the day than the other. The Solution Salicylic Acid Clear Skin Body Gel is a very medicinal/prescription smelling (lubey) water based gel with chemically exfoliating salicylic acid and tea-tree oil. This is so far the best bum-spot clearing moisturiser (oil-free) I’ve come across, and it costs £7.99.
It’s great to add water but not oil into the skin; gently slough off dead skin cells, increasing skin cell turnover and unblocking pores, all whilst you’re going about your business during the day. The tea-tree oil does work to fight the spot causing bacteria and if you’ve had any experience with spot busting products, you’ll be up to your eyes in tea-tree (don’t get it near your eyes!).
The niacinamide works to also fight spot-causing bacteria as well as calm the skin, support barrier function and fade blemish marks – it’s one of my favourite ingredients and I use this almost daily on my face to prevent spots in The Ordinary’s Niacinamide & Zinc serum.
There is a little alcohol in here, which I don’t love but it does work to dry out oily skin and there is plenty glycerin in here to moisturise. On balance, I wouldn’t be worrying about this.
What I like:
- Great Price
- Good active ingredients
- Perfume/fragrance free
- Dries quickly meaning you can get dressed straight away
- Cheap and widely available
What I don’t like:
- Smells a bit like lube (doesn’t last)
- Not loving the inclusion of alcohol
- Not travel friendly packaging
The Solution Salicylic Acid Clear Skin Body Gel is just £9.99 at the time of writing and is available on Amazon Prime (so can be delivered next day).
4. Night Treatment: Murad Clarifying Body Spray
This is one of the most effective but annoying treatments I’ve ever come across for treating spots on your bum. I’ve had a bottle if this in the cabinet for years when me or my other half get the odd flare up of body spots from time to time.
The Murad Clarifying Body Spray is effective because of it’s fantastic blend of active ingredients: exfoliating salicylic acid (0.5%); exfoliating glycolic acid and soothing/redness fighting blue lotus extract and lemongrass extract. When I’ve used this in the past, I’ve found it brilliantly effective and body/bum outbreaks can be cleared up pretty quickly.
What I don’t like is the application and needing to wait for it to dry. The bottle is a 360 degree pressurised bottle meaning it’s perfect for blasting your bum as you can hold it upside down. The issue I have with the bottle is that you can never work out how much is in it until it just stops spraying.
The bottle also shoots out in a fine spray and you can’t always feel where it’s gone; so you have to spray it on your bum, and then just rub it around with your hands (be sure to wash them afterwards). Then it takes a little time to dry – about five minutes I’d say – which is why I recommend doing this at night, when you can lie face-down on the bed with your bum cheeks to the ceiling and let it dry.
With this, do not get it on your genitals, which is easy to do when applying to your lower-inner bum cheeks and particularly if you’re a guy (back of the balls). It’s quite drying and can leave you with dry skin where you don’t want it. Murad accept that this will and is designed to dry the skin slightly, so use this once every two days to start with and step it up to daily after about a week.
What I like:
- Brilliantly effective at dealing with bum and body spots
- Sprays upside down
- One bottle lasts a while
- Nice cooling sensation
What I don’t like:
- Bottle gently jets rather than mists
- Needs rubbing in
- Takes a good few minutes to dry
- Can be drying particularly in intimate areas
Murad Clarifying Body Spray is available most places Murad is sold, but at the time of writing is available for £36.20 from Look Fantastic (with 5% voucher but there’s almost always a voucher on at LF),
Bum Spots Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully the guide above gives you a good, solid place to start on how to get rid of spots on your bum. Below is a selection of frequently asked questions that I hear and have seen asked quite often. Whilst they’re not comprehensive, there’s quite a few major ones including questions about home remedies, the myth of Sudocrem and over washing.
More often than not, they’re blocked hair follicles with the hair ingrown. This is because with many people, the hair on the bum isn’t that coarse and then because we’re sat down a lot, the hairs never manage to penetrate the surface skin.
These hairs then coil inside the follicle and can gradually infect. Spots on the bum is not a sign of being dirty, unclean or particularly unhealthy.
Ingrown hairs often tend to sit more on the surface and although can go a little infected and nasty, they’re not the same as acne. The thing to look for is a head; if there’s a yellow-head then you’re a lot safer as it’s broken through to the surface. If it’s particularly nasty, get someone to remove it for if possible (mum’s are the best for this and they don’t care!).
Popping or draining spots on your bum yourself isn’t advised as we tend to scratch at them rather than remove them carefully/precisely.
Acne on the bum needs looking at by a GP/Doctor first and may need a referral to a dermatologist. This can be the visible symptoms of a deeper skin infection and often needs more than just skin care, however I strongly advise the use of skin care to accompany your treatment.
Acne vulgaris obviously includes spots, but acne that often requires at least oversight of a GP includes:
- Pustules – similar to papules, but have a white tip in the centre, caused by a build-up of pus
- Nodules – large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful
- Cysts – the most severe type of spot caused by acne; they’re large pus-filled lumps that look similar to boils and carry the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring
Firstly ignore all these acne home remedy acne treatments that talk about rubbing lemons and toothpaste all over the place. It’s utter crap and this isn’t the 1800’s; we live in the 21st century and have come a bit further than that.
At-home treatments for body acne play into our need for convenience and ‘just trying’ something out can do more harm than good. Acne and similar skin conditions need treating with well balanced formulations, however as this article shows you, that needn’t be expensive. All you’ll do by trying these out is make a mess, and end up feeling upset because it doesn’t work and you’ll feel like things are worse than they possibly are because baking soda hasn’t shifted it.
Do not use Sudocrem on anything else other than an itchy/sore anus; that’s what it’s made for, for babies, and although it might temporarily relieve acne symptoms in the very, very, very short-term, in the long term you’re heading for a world of trouble.
Whilst the zinc may temporarily reduce the redness and the cooling properties my reduce the itching, Sudocrem will cause you more harm than good when treating body acne. The cream base can further block the pores and it all becomes a vicious cycle.
A lot of you reading iterations of this article over the last 4 years have been late teens to twenties and I know that particularly if you’re a teen, your funds aren’t the biggest and this is a time when spots on your bum can be the worst!
I’ve picked products that are effective, easily available wherever you live and don’t break the bank. I’ve updated the products in this article a few times and nothing mentioned is over £35.
Over cleansing the skin will make it works and break down the skin’s moisture barrier making the problem worse; just cleanse your bum cheeks every time you have a shower; it doesn’t need to be more often than that.
Think about how dry your hands can get from over washing? Except on your bum, all that dead skin from dryness caused by over-washing will further block those pores and make things much worse. Spots are a sign of poor skin function, not necessarily dirt and lack of washing.
I will note though that not washing your bum after sweaty exercise can lead to spots; so wash after exercise , but don’t go washing yourself 2-3+ times per day.
Yes. Cleanse as soon as you’ve been to the gym, that’s a big one; having a sweaty bum for hours will clog the pores and worsen the situations; make sure to jump in the shower relatively soon after working out and get rid of all that sweat. Also change your underwear/trousers/shorts as wearing sweaty underwear will only make the problem worse!
Hopefully this guide has given you most of what you need to tackle spots on your bum. I know what a pain in the backside, literally, this can be and how particularly self conscious it can make you feel.
The rule of thumb is to gently exfoliate without going nuts and damaging the skin; by balancing and regulating regular skin function using the products above, it should clear itself up quite nicely. If you’ve tried and tried, I do recommend getting yourself to a GP, or ideally paying the roughly £250 consultation fee (depending where you are in the UK) to see a consultant dermatologist – it’s definitely worthy getting this right. Please feel free to leave any questions below.
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