How To Treat Vaginal Acne

Written by Arshiya Syeda

You may have spotted pimples on your back and shoulders, but have you ever had pimples on your vagina? Thanks to tight yoga pants and harsh waxes, it is no wonder that women experience breakouts down there.

Pimples on the vagina are similar to facial breakouts, often visible as small, red bumps with a white puss-filled tip. They are typically not painful and may only cause minor discomfort, but that does not mean that you should ignore them. In numerous cases, bumps similar to pimples form due to infections that might spread to others if left untreated.

Keep reading to learn more about the causes of pimples on the vaginal area and how to treat them and prevent future breakouts.

​What Causes Pimples On Private Parts?

Vaginal acne forms when sweat, dirt, and bacteria clog the genital pores, causing inflammation. These pimples can also be a result of hormonal changes.

These are some of the most common causes of pimples on the vaginal area:

1. Ingrown Pubic Hair

Waxing, plucking, or shaving pubic hair is the most common cause of ingrown vaginal hair. According to a recent study, around 32.7% of women who shave their pubic hair have the problem of ingrown vaginal hair at some point in life.

An ingrown pubic hair develops when the hair follicle curls downward, pressing the top of the hair to curve into the skin. This results in a skin reaction characterized by swelling, prickling pimples, and skin darkening. Apart from how you shave your hair, several genetic factors may make you more sensitive to developing ingrown pubic hair.

When an ingrown pubic hair grows, the first thing to do is to stop shaving. Usually, this will limit the inflammation within a few days. However, if the problem persists, you should visit a dermatologist. They may prescribe an oral antibiotic or topical lotion to relieve inflammation and prevent infection.

Medical intervention is necessary in this case. If left untreated, repeated ingrown pubic hair can become chronic and grow into an infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis.

2. Molluscum Contagiosum (MC)

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection that can cause small, elevated pimples to grow anywhere on the vagina. There may be only one or a whole bunch of bumps. While these bumps are usually painless, they can become quite itchy, especially during the night. MC lumps are soft with a white, pink, or skin-colored spot in the center.

This infection spreads through sexual or non-sexual skin-to-skin contact and is a common problem in children, sexually active adults, and people with weak immune systems. Luckily, an MC infection usually goes away within 5-7 months, and there are numerous medications available to treat it.

Cryotherapy is one of the more efficient treatments for removing these bumps. Topical treatments include potassium hydroxide, iodine, and salicylic acid. Note that you should apply them as directed by a physician.

3. Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is another skin condition that forms painful bumps under your epidermis in the hair bulbs near your sweat glands. This problem is usually known as acne inversa. These vaginal bumps can become infected. Openings form beneath your vaginal skin and swell with pus. Also, they can smell bad when they open and leave marks.

If you are infected with HS, your doctor may prescribe clindamycin, a topical antibiotic. Apart from this, making some changes in your lifestyle and appropriate medication can give you some relief and reduce flare-ups.

4. Vulvar Vesicles

Cysts or vesicles are pocket-like structures filled with liquid that can develop almost anywhere on your body. The majority of vulvar cysts are not a significant cause of worry, but they can sometimes be precancerous or cancerous. Hence, it is advisable to have them examined by a medical practitioner.

If these pimples take too long to heal, they may irritate your sensitive area and prompt you to pop them. But, is this really advisable? Read the next segment to find out.

​Is It Safe To Pop A Vaginal Pimple?

No, it is best not to attempt to pop a vaginal pimple. Popping vaginal acne can increase the chances of an infection in the genital area and create severe issues.

Also, vaginal pimples can sometimes turn into boils if they are filled with pus, thereby growing more prominent and painful. Hence, to avoid any infection in or near your genitals, you should never pop these boils and let them rupture themselves.

If you cannot resist popping these pimples or they take too long to heal, you should see a gynecologist. They can drain the boil in a manner that will prevent vaginal infection.

There are safer ways than popping a pimple to eliminate vaginal acne. Explore some useful ways to treat the condition below.

​How Are Vaginal Pimples Treated?

Pimples on the vagina usually go away on their own. However, if you think this problem is getting worse, it is advisable to see a doctor. Getting the proper medical attention can help you treat genital acne and other similar issues in and around your vagina.

Mentioned below are some common ways to treat vaginal pimples.

1. Identify What Causes Vaginal Pimples

To receive the correct medical treatment, you must keep a watch on any activities or products that may be causing your genital acne. Some factors that can affect the vaginal area include shaving, waxing, and hot tub usage.

You can also consider avoiding using any products in the vaginal area, including laundry soaps, for some time. Once the symptoms recede, gradually reintroduce these products one by one and record any unfavorable reactions.

2. Get Rid Of Irritants

Once you identify the cause of the vaginal irritation or infection, stop applying those products or engaging in the activity.

For instance, if shaving is the cause of your vaginal acne or inflammation, you can switch to other ways of removing your pubic hair or shaving in the same direction as your hair growth. Also, it is crucial to keep your bathtub clean and only use pools that are properly managed.

3. Maintain Good Vaginal Hygiene

The moisture and warmth in the genital area make it a perfect place for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow. Hence, to prevent and treat vaginal acne, it is important to wash your genitals every day with lukewarm water and mild soap.

Also, you should avoid using harsh cleansing products inside the vagina as these products can disturb the pH balance, which can cause an infection and pimples in the private area.

4. Warm Or Cold Compress

According to anecdotal evidence, a warm compress is beneficial for soothing inflamed ingrown pubic hair or cysts, whereas a cool compress works better for vaginal itching.

Even if your medical condition is infectious or you believe it might be, using a compress to alleviate discomfort is fine. However, in such cases, always exercise proper care and use a fresh towel every time, so you never get reinfected or spread the infection to other people.

5. Topical Medications

Topical medication is the most effective way to treat vaginal acne. These medications usually come in the form of lotions, gels, or antibiotics. However, before using any topical medication, you must consult a medical practitioner who can prescribe the appropriate medication.

Sometimes, pimples in the genital area occur due to several other conditions. Let’s look at these in detail below.

​Other Breakouts On And Around The Vagina

Many women mistake their vaginal bumps for pubic acne. However, they may indicate another serious underlying condition. Listed here are some other reasons why these bumps arise:

1. Bartholin’s Cyst

Bartholin’s cysts are noncancerous lumps that develop on either side of the labia. Around 2% of all women develop Bartholin’s cysts at least once in their lifetime, and they are most widespread among women in their mid-20s.

This type of bump develops when a Bartholin’s gland (responsible for sexual lubrication) gets obstructed. Since these bumps grow gradually and are usually painless, you may not recognize that you have a Bartholin’s cyst until years later.

Numerous medications are available for treating Bartholin’s cysts, depending on how much the bump has grown. While your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or topical creams for smaller growths, larger cysts may need surgical treatment to prevent the cyst from growing back.

2. Genital Warts

Genital warts are soft bumps that develop on the genital area. They can cause discomfort, pain, and itching. It is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by low-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). You may not begin to develop genital warts for various weeks or months post-infection. These warts resemble cauliflower and can be flesh-colored, dark purple, or light brown.

To diagnose this medical condition, your physician will ask questions about your sexual history and health. In addition to this, they will conduct a physical inspection of the areas where warts may be occurring.

Since genital warts can develop deep inside a woman’s vagina, your doctor might perform a pelvic examination. They may also use a mild acidic solution to make genital warts more noticeable.

3. Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is another prevalent STI caused by HSV (Herpes simplex virus). After the primary infection, the virus slowly infects your body and can reactivate numerous times in a year.

Genital herpes can cause discomfort, itching, and pain in your vaginal area. Although you may experience no symptoms of genital herpes, you can spread this virus to other people.

If you are experiencing vaginal acne or a severe itch down there, your medical practitioner can diagnose you with herpes by checking the bumps. If required, the doctor can confirm their examination by a blood test. Antiviral drugs may help speed up the recovery time of genital herpes and reduce discomfort.

4. Vaginal Skin Tags

Vaginal skin tags are benign lumps of skin made of loose tissues of collagen. They can be pretty uncomfortable when they develop in and around the delicate vaginal area. Vaginal skin tags do not cause pain unless they are picked or exacerbated.

Unlike genital warts, which look flat on the vaginal area, vaginal skin tags are attached to your skin by a small stack. Also, skin tags never bleed unless you try to remove them from your skin. Sometimes these tags appear in clumps on your skin.

You might not initially notice vaginal tags as they are usually of the same color as the skin or slightly darker than your natural skin tone.

5. Fordyce Spots

Fox-Fordyce disorder is an uncommon disease that causes chronic pain in the sweat glands in the vaginal area. During this infection, the apocrine glands become swollen and infected with profoundly itchy bumps.

People with this condition usually develop numerous small skin-colored bumps on their labia, and itching them can cause infection in the hair follicles. Also, stress and laser hair removal can trigger or aggravate this problem in some people.

Once you identify the right cause of pimples on your private parts, you can take the necessary steps to prevent this problem from occurring in the future. Let’s look at a few tips to combat vaginal acne below.

​Tips To Prevent Genital Acne

Listed below are some tips to prevent zits in the pubic area:

  • Wear clean underwear made from breathable cotton fabric.
  • Avoid clothes that are too tight or brush against your vaginal area.
  • Always practice good genital hygiene, including a hot shower post-workout and changing out of sweaty clothes after working out.
  • Change your tampon and sanitary pad often when you are menstruating.
  • Trim your pubic hair rather than shaving it (if the bumps are caused by razor use).

​Final Thoughts

Acne is not something that can only affect your face and back. Sometimes, you can also get pimples in your genital area due to many reasons.

If you are experiencing vaginal acne, it is advisable that you contact your doctor. Also, if you think the bumps are not pimples and a symptom of other conditions, it is best to speak to a doctor right away. This way, you can identify the cause of your vaginal acne and get the appropriate treatment on time.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Complications related to pubic hair removal
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040320/
  2. Molluscum Contagiosum
    https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/molluscum-contagiosum/index.html
  3. Molluscum Contagiosum: What are the treatment options?
    https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/molluscum-contagiosum/treatment.html
  4. Hidradenitis suppurativa: from pathogenesis to diagnosis and treatment
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5402905/
  5. Overview of Extracellular Vesicles Their Origin Composition Purpose and Methods for Exosome Isolation and Analysis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6678302/
  6. Bartholin Gland Cyst
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532271/
  7. Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet
    https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
  8. Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet
    https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
  9. Giant skin tag on the labium majorum
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5419766/
  10. Clinicopathologic Manifestations of Patients with Fordyce\’s Spots
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283840/

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).