It follows you around wherever you go, but how often do you consider the health of your butt? Probably not until you get an itchy or painful bump on your butt, at which point it’s all you’re going to be able to think about.
There are several reasons why bumps and blemishes form on the butt, from everyday irritation to more urgent health concerns. It's pretty common to get regular pimples on your butt cheeks, just like the kind you get on your face and back. (More on that below.) On the not-so-benign side of the spectrum, watch out for bumps on the butt cheek that are painful, bloody, or itchy, Dr. Purvisha Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. There are sores, lesions, and even sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can appear around the buttocks region, and it may require the help of a doctor.
If you notice a painful bump, don’t hesitate to waltz into a dermatologist’s office to ask what’s up. “Doctors look at butts all day long, it's part of the job and you should never be embarrassed,” says Dr. Maryann Mikhail, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. “It's always better to speak up so you know what's going on and can get treatment right away.”
Whether it’s an over-the-counter (OTC) cream or something provided by the dermatologist, there are ways to clear up the bumps on your butt and make you feel way better. With that in mind, read on for how to tell if a bump or blemish is OK or if it might require extra care.
1. Normal: A Red Rash After Using Cleansing Wipes
If you’re feeling sweaty, you might want to freshen up your whole body (butt included) with a cleansing wipe. And while that's fine to do, don't be surprised if the skin on your buttocks gets bumpy and red as a result.
"Wipes are super convenient but because the chemicals are left behind on your skin, they can cause irritation or allergic contact dermatitis," Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, it might feel itchy or even burn a bit, but it isn’t dangerous.
To prevent irritation, Shainhouse recommends avoiding wipes that contain the ingredient methylchloroisothiazolinone, a preservative that can cause a reaction on some skin types. If you have the time, she also says rinsing your skin with a splash of water will help remove any other leftover chemicals so you can go on with your day.
2. Normal: A Patch Of Red Bumps
If you have a red rash on your cheeks, it could be due to a common condition known as folliculitis. These inflammatory bumps will look a lot like acne on the buttocks, says Dr. Robin Evans, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, who notes they’re actually lesions of pustules.
They tend to flare up when there’s friction between your skin and your clothes, which is more likely to happen if you’re sweating, wearing tight underwear or pants, or sitting around in a wet bathing suit. Once it flares up, the rash can become painful, sore, or even itchy.
3. Normal: Butt Pimples
Face, shoulders, chest, back — acne can literally crop up anywhere. But when it comes to your butt, friction and moisture play a big role.
“Breakouts can be made worse by wearing tight-fitting clothes or by staying in sweaty clothing for too long,” Evans says. So if you exercise or get feel sweaty on a hot day, make it a point to change and shower a little more frequently, but especially before going to bed.
While butt pimples are nothing to worry about, they can be annoying and slightly painful. To get rid of them, Evans recommends an OTC benzoyl peroxide wash. “If that doesn't work,” she says, “ask a dermatologist for a prescription.”
4. Not Normal: A Purple Lump That Makes It Difficult To Sit Down
If it hurts to sit down, your butt is itchy, or you notice a purple lump protruding from your butt region, you might have a case of hemorrhoids. And that's not something you should ignore.
"These are dilated blood vessels in the anus and rectum," Shainhouse says. "These vessels can enlarge and engorge and often protrude from the anus [in the form of] hard, purple lumps."
If you're pregnant or constipated, it can increase your chance of developing hemorrhoids. Other risk factors include sitting for long periods of time, eating a low-fiber diet, and chronic diarrhea. While hemorrhoids will often go away on their own, especially if you use an OTC cream, Shainhouse says some do require surgery.
The lump may also be caused by something called a lipoma, Patel says, which is a benign growth of fat. “They are softer lumps under the skin and can happen on the buttocks,” she says. If you notice it get bigger, have a doctor take a look.
5. Not Normal: An Extremely Itchy Rash
If you have extreme itchiness on your butt cheeks, it may be time to get checked for scabies. According to Shainhouse, scabies is caused by mites that burrow under the skin resulting in a horrible case of itchiness — sometimes to the point you'll have trouble sleeping.
"The itch will last until you treat the mites with a prescription cream, so see your dermatologist ASAP," she says. And remember that it's incredibly contagious, so tell your partner(s) to get checked and treated, too.
6. Not Normal: A Blister On Your Buttocks
When you think of herpes, you might imagine lip sores or bumps on the genitals. And while those are symptoms of this incredibly common virus, sores can crop up in other areas, too, like your buttocks, anus, and thighs.
"If you have a painful 'pimple' that keeps popping up in the same place every once in a while, it may not be a 'pimple,'" Shainhouse says. While there are other possible explanations, consider getting checked for herpes.
According to Evans, signs of the herpes virus include a grouping of blisters on a pink base. “These lesions are painful or tingling in sensation and typically will self-resolve within one to two weeks but can be recurrent,” she says. “Treatment to shorten the course of the episodes or prevent episodes can be prescribed as oral antiviral therapy by your dermatologist.”
If you suspect the bump is a herpes sore, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. “It is worth discussing with your dermatologist because treatment can be very helpful and because it is contagious and can be sexually transmitted,” Evans says.
7. Not Normal: A Large, Tender Lesion
While it's common to get pimples on your butt, you certainly don't want to sit idly by while one grows to epic proportions. In fact, if a sore seems to be getting larger, it could be a sign you have an abscess.
"This super-sized acne-like lesion often starts as a tender, pink bump on or under the skin, but rapidly becomes a large, painful, swollen lump," Shainhouse says. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to pop or drain the abscess, since you might accidentally push the infection deeper into your body.
"The best treatment is to have it opened and drained by your doctor,” Shainhouse says. But until your appointment, it may help to apply an ice pack or a warm compress — whatever feels best — to soothe the area at home.
8. Not Normal: Bumps That Are Warm Or Sore
If you have a bump on your butt (or anywhere, for that matter) that is warm to the touch, it's definitely time to see your dermatologist so they can take a closer look and determine the cause.
"Any bump that is warm, swollen, painful, or leaks pus may be a severe deeper infection that needs oral antibiotics," Dr. Sonam Yadav, a physician and medical director of Juverne Clinic, tells Bustle. So go get that thing checked ASAP.
It could be an infected pimple or a more serious condition known as cellulitis, which is a potentially dangerous skin infection that occurs when a crack or cut in the skin allows bacteria to enter. In more extreme cases, the bacteria can spread throughout your body so don’t ignore it.
9. Not Normal: Moles That Are Changing Shape
Even though your butt is covered most of the time, and thus protected from the sun’s damaging UV rays, it's still an area that needs to be checked for skin cancer. This is especially true if a bump or mole in that area is bothering you, changing shape, or otherwise feels different.
"Any new moles or pigmented patches, or a mole that is changing color/shape/size, oozing blood, or newly itchy needs to be assessed," Yadav says. "Skin cancer — especially melanoma — can appear anywhere, including the skin on your butt. A regular skin exam helps screen suspicious spots."
10. Not Normal: Red Rashes Or Small Bite Marks
The butt is a prime location for bites from ticks, Yadav says. So if you've been outside, give yourself a once over to check for them and then wash off thoroughly in the shower, especially during tick season. A bite from a deer tick can result in a red circular rash that looks like a bull’s eye. Deer tick bites can also put you at risk for Lyme disease, which is a bacterial infection.
Another big fan of the butt? Bedbugs. These tiny parasites can live in your furniture — like your bed or couch — and tend to bite while you're asleep. You might not see them, but you'll likely spot the aftermath of red and itchy bite marks that tend to go in straight a line.
If you're allergic to bedbug bites, you might even break out in blisters or hives. This will obviously require a trip to the doctor as well as a thorough bedbug treatment for your entire apartment.
11. Not Normal: A Rash That’s Spreading
It can be tough to see what, exactly, is happening on your buttocks region. But if you have an annoying symptom like itchiness, take it as your cue to drop your drawers and shimmy up to a mirror.
If you spot an itchy rash that’s spreading across your cheeks, it could be a sign of intertrigo, which tends to form where there are folds in the skin. “This is a red, raw rash, usually in between the butt cheeks,” Mikhail says. “It can sting or burn. Psoriasis, fungal infections, yeast infections, and allergic reactions can cause intertrigo.”
At this point, you know what to do. (Yup! Go see your doctor.) Whatever the case may be, they will be able to provide treatment. Because the last thing you want is to have pain on your butt, especially since you need to sit on it.
Litchman, G. (2021). Contact Dermatitis. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459230/
Dr. Purvisha Patel, board-certified dermatologist
Maryann Mikhail, MD, board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist
Robin Evans, MD, board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Sonam Yadav, physician and medical director
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