Just like your face, pimples are a normal part of your body. But they can be more difficult to treat in the vulva area because of the warmth and moisture that make it easy for bacteria to grow.
Luckily, there are a few ways to get rid of your vaginal pimples without making them worse.
The warmth and moisture in the vulva area make it an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive. Washing your genitals daily with warm water and mild, unperfumed soap is a great start. Avoid harsh cleaning products around the genitals, as they can affect the area’s pH balance and lead to infection. Wearing breathable cotton underwear and changing clothes after sweaty workouts can also help prevent infections.
Vulvar pimples can be caused by folliculitis, which is inflammation around the hair follicles. This can result from shaving, using an ingrown hair removal product, or having problems with your menstrual cycle. Another potential cause of vulvar acne is a genetic condition called Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), which creates painful bumps under the skin, often in the form of pus-filled pimples.
If you think you have a HS flare-up, talk to your healthcare provider. They can give you a prescription to reduce symptoms and help treat any infections you might have. They can also prescribe a topical ointment and antibiotics to prevent further outbreaks. These can include clindamycin, an effective antibiotic.
2. Warm Compress
Pimples aren’t just for the face; they can pop up on the back, shoulders and, yes, your vulva. These bumps, also called folliculitis, may be caused by shaving, hormonal changes, wearing tight yoga pants or using harsh waxes. But they can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a cyst or a rare disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS).
Just like anywhere else on the body, hair and sweat follicles in this area are susceptible to dirt buildup, which can lead to inflammation and irritation. And just like any other type of acne, it’s important to not pick at them, as this can spread bacteria.
Instead, run a washcloth under warm water and apply it to the boils three to four times a day. This helps bring blood to the area, which in turn will stimulate the white blood cells that fight infection. And avoid squeezing or popping the boils, as this can cause an infection that needs antibiotics to treat. You can also try sitting in a sitz bath, which is similar to a warm compress but with the added benefit of lukewarm water that can soothe skin.
Although acne is generally thought of as something that affects the face, it can also impact your genitals. It can occur as red bumps, folliculitis, cysts and ingrown hairs near the labia.
The vulva area has coarse, oil-producing hairs that can easily become ingrown and irritated. This irritation can be aggravated by tight-fitting underwear or shaving and waxing the area too often. In some cases, it can be caused by a skin condition called molluscum contagiosum. It causes small, swollen, itchy bumps that resemble pimples, but they are soft with a white or pink spot in the center.
Bumps that resemble pimples may also be a symptom of vulvar cysts or a precancerous condition called squamous cell carcinoma, according to experts. The best way to treat a pimple-like bump is to visit a doctor. This will help ensure that it’s not a more serious problem and provide you with an effective treatment. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a topical ointment to help relieve the inflammation and soothe the skin. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to avoid further irritation and infection.
4. Antibiotic Ointment
Pimples usually form on the outermost layer of skin, and they are caused by clogged pores. Breakouts in the vulva, or labia, may look similar to facial acne and often come with a white pus-filled tip. This type of breakout is also referred to as folliculitis and can be quite painful for some women.
It can be very uncomfortable to wake up and find a pimple on the labia, especially in today’s society that places such a huge emphasis on blemish-free skin. However, the good news is that pimples down there are fairly common and most of the time, completely normal.
The area most likely to develop acne-like bumps is along the mons pubis or labia majora, since these are hair-bearing areas that are prone to folliculitis, says Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, a family physician at One Medical. These areas are more prone to folliculitis than the inner thighs and buttocks, but they can still pop up in those spots, too. The best way to treat them is with a topical antibiotic ointment. Then, wash the area regularly with mild soap and warm water.
5. Over-the-Counter Medication
You can prevent the appearance of vaginal pimples by washing your genitals daily with a gentle cleanser, choosing breathable fabrics for underwear, and trimming your pubic hair. Also, change your tampon or sanitary towel frequently during menstruation. If you have to, use a menstrual cup for a more comfortable and hygienic alternative. Finally, never squeeze or pop a vaginal pimple. This can spread bacteria and cause infection in this sensitive area. Instead, a gynecologist can drain a boil that is filled with pus and growing larger to avoid infection.
While the term “vaginal acne” might sound a little gross, bumps around the labia and vulva are actually fairly common and not a sign of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Vulvar acne can show up as red pimples or sores that contain pus, and it’s most often caused by folliculitis—inflammation in the hair follicles—or a chronic inflammatory skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa. It can also be caused by a viral infection known as molluscum contagiosum, which causes itchy and painful cysts in the groin or buttocks.