What to Do if You Get a Vagina Pimple

It's the last place you want a breakout.

Of all the places you can get a pimple, the area around your vagina is probably the most uncomfortable. Vagina pimples—technically a breakout on the vulva or labia—can occur when pores are clogged with bacteria or oil. Pimples can also form when hair follicles become irritated and inflamed. The latter can occur as a result of waxing, shaving, or hanging out in sweaty workout clothes for a bit too long.

Red, Rash-Like Bumps

"The sweat glands and hair follicles [near your vagina] are prone to dirt buildup just as any other area of the body with hair and sweat is," said Sherry Ross, MD, a Los Angeles–based ob-gyn and author of She-ology.

Red, rash-like bumps on the vulva could also be caused by contact dermatitis, which is caused by a sensitivity to something your skin came in contact with, such as a new body wash. Many things can trigger an allergic contact dermatitis rash including body wash, shampoo, and bed linens or clothing.

Treating Vagina Pimples

Dr. Ross said it's fine to reach for the same acne spot treatment you use on your face to treat vaginal bumps. Dr. Ross recommended Differin Acne Treatment Gel or a formula that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If a product has helped diminish breakouts on your face, it's probably fine to use near your vagina too, Dr. Ross said.

But Dr. Ross cautioned against overdoing it. "Make sure the medication is only applied to the pimple since these types of medications can make the skin of the vagina very dry," Dr. Ross said.

Soaking in a warm bath for 20 to 30 minutes may also help ease the inflammation of the pimple. Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, suggested applying a hot compress to the area, which can help reduce the swelling and redness and make it easier to forget about.

Whatever you do, don't even think about popping it. "That can lead to an infection and more breakouts," warned Dr. Jaliman.

Prevention

To prevent unpleasant labia bumps from occurring again in the future, Dr. Ross said it's important to keep the skin near your vagina clean before shaving, waxing, or using another hair removal method.

Like regular zits, give it a week or two, and the pimple should clear up. However, book an appointment with your ob-gyn or dermatologist:

  • If a bump is particularly painful
  • It has been a couple of weeks and the pimple isn't going away
  • You experience these bumps on a regular basis

Look Alike Conditions

Certain sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes and genital warts, can cause bumps that resemble pimples. Other possible culprits include a chronic skin disease called hidradenitis suppurativa or a viral infection called molluscum contagiosum.

Less concerningly, a persistent bump could simply be a skin tag. Although you can't expect a skin tag to go away by itself, you can rest assured that skin tags are not dangerous.

For the most part, don't panic. Vagina pimples are just one of those unpleasant things everybody has to ride out every now and then. But "if you have persistent pimples and bumps that last more than five days, it's time to have a healthcare provider check it out," noted Dr. Ross.

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Sources
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  1. National Library of Medicine. Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

  2. U.K. National Health Service. Molluscum contagiosum.

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