Tender red bumps – Is it body acne?

I am 19 years old, and I have several issues with my skin. I have told my mom about it but, she took it lightly. I have pimple kind of things on my hips... not just one, so many of them. And when they recover, they leave marks. I have SO many spots and spot marks on my hips, and it hurts just like a white pimple. What should I do? Please suggest something to me. I want my hips to be smooth.

Summer is usually a time when we show more skin which is FUN!  We live in our bodies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And most of us spend more time and money on our cars then we do on our bodies. Yet, how we feel about our bodies contributes or detracts from our self esteem. My wish would be that all humans could feel good about and love their bodies while we are in them for our entire lives. Think of how peaceful and good that would feel. Your question above about body acne speaks to that so thank you!

Red Bumps on the Body

  • Not every red bump is acne
  • Bumps that recur like yours could be a number of things, like a staph infection in the hair follicles. Staph can track down hair follicles and really likes to live there. It can get spread by shaving in the area or picking (we are human!). If you think that might be you, the only way to really get rid of it is to see your doctor and get an antibiotic for a week or several weeks. Your doctor can do a culture (a swab done firmly) to send to the lab to try to confirm the diagnosis.
  • There are other things that can irritate hair follicles and cause recurring bumps like yeasts, sometimes the wrong type of body lotion or oils, etc. This is a tough one to figure out sometimes and you may need your doctor’s help.
  • There is also keratosis pilaris which is inherited and usually affects the arms and legs, but sometimes affects the hips. This can’t be completely cured, but can be made almost invisible with good treatment.
  • And then there are the temporary things like bites, etc. But they usually go away after a few weeks. Bites can get infected though, so if it’s not healing or getting worse, see your doctor.
  • Please remember skin cancers can occur on the body. So if a single bump persists, especially if you have a lot of sun in your past, please see a doctor!

Dealing with Body Acne

  • If you get acne and plugged pores/follicles on the body, tight clothing, especially tight jeans will make it worse.
  • Try GENTLY using an acne cleanser in the shower with a light loofah on your body. Change the loofah every month or so.
  • Use a lotion daily that has an alpha or beta hydroxy acid in it that’s about 10%. This helps keep the pores unplugged.
  • DON’T PICK!! Even if you’re dying to. It makes the marks after it heals worse!
  • See your doctor if you don’t see improvement in about month.
  • The above takes about 4 weeks to see results.

Hope this helps,

Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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