Why Do I Have Pimples on My Vagina?

Pimples appear on the skin’s surface as a pus-filled bump and they can be anywhere on your body. However, you may be concerned if they’re on the labia or external genitals.

The good news is that bumps on the vulva usually aren’t as serious as ones on other parts of the body. They may simply clear up on their own with hygienic measures and acne medications like antihistamines.

Acne

Pimples are skin lesions caused when the skin pores get clogged with oil, dirt and other debris. Pimples may also be filled with pus or cysts. They appear in different sizes and have a reddish appearance. It is common for pimples to form in the genital area, especially after shaving or waxing.

Pimple-like bumps on the vulva can be due to acne, sweat gland related skin disease, reaction to materials in contact with the vulva, molluscum contagiosum or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The first step to take when you notice these red, irritable and sometimes painful spots is to visit a doctor.

The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your hygiene habits, sexual history and daily routine. The doctor can easily diagnose the problem based on your answers and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

If your pimples are causing itchiness, your doctor might recommend you use anti-itch creams and warm compresses. They may also prescribe a topical medication or antibiotics to treat your acne-like bumps. Avoid trying to pop a vaginal pimple, as this could spread germs and lead to infection. Instead, visit a dermatologist or gynecologist to have them removed and treated.

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Ingrown hairs

When hairs grow back into the skin, they can become ingrown and cause raised spots on the surface of your vulva. The rounded bumps can resemble pimples and sometimes even contain pus, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, a Westchester-based gynecologist and assistant clinical professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. These spots are more common on the bikini and panty line because these areas are prone to chafing when you wear tight clothing or sweat. Dweck recommends avoiding physical exfoliation methods such as scrubs and loofahs on these sensitive areas of the body because they can disrupt the delicate balance of your vulva’s skin. Instead, she recommends a gentle chemical exfoliant such as SweetSpot Labs Buff and Brighten Exfoliating Pads that contain AHA and BHA to help prevent ingrown hairs from forming on your labia.

Pimples that occur in the vulva and labia can be difficult to diagnose because they may look different than acne on other parts of the body. For example, some vaginal pimples have white heads (resist the temptation to pop these), while others are red and clumped together. While these bumps are most likely caused by clogged skin, they could also be herpes sores or signs of other sexually transmitted infections. If your vulva pimples don’t go away or become worse, it’s best to see a dermatologist or gynecologist for advice.

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Molluscum Contagiosum

It is possible to have pimples in the vagina due to a health condition known as molluscum contagiosum. It is caused by a virus and causes small, raised bumps to appear on the skin. They look pearly and have a dimple in the middle. This infection can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, neck, arms, legs and genitals. It is very common in young children but can affect people of any age and gender.

Unlike acne, this type of rash is not painful. However, it can cause embarrassment for some women. It is a highly contagious infection that can be spread by direct contact or sharing clothing and towels with affected individuals. It may take months or even years for this rash to clear up. During this time, new spots will appear while old ones fade.

Any strange bumps in the genital area should be looked at by a healthcare provider, especially if they are painful or filled with pus. A physical exam and a complete medical history will help your healthcare provider diagnose the problem. Sometimes, the healthcare provider will need to remove a small sample of the bumps (papules) for further testing. Treatment for this type of rash is not always needed, but medication can help speed up the process.

Contact dermatitis

Pimples around the genital area are sometimes caused by contact dermatitis. These bumps are similar to acne in other areas of the body, but they can be itchy and painful. They may appear red or swollen, with or without pus, in a cluster or alone, and in various sizes. The causes of these pimples are often unknown, but they can be caused by chemicals found in cleaning products, perfumes, makeup, or other cosmetics. Avoiding these irritants for a while, and then slowly reintroducing them can help prevent future outbreaks.

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Pimple-like bumps can also occur due to irritation and clogged pores in the labia or vulva. This can happen from wearing tight-fitting clothing, sweaty workouts, or irritants like razor burn and certain menstrual products. It can also be due to folliculitis, ingrown hairs, and molluscum contagiosum.

Another common cause of pimple-like bumps is a condition called Bartholin cysts. These are liquid-filled cysts that can form when glands on either side of the labia become blocked, inflamed, and full of puss. Unlike genital herpes, Bartholin cysts do not spread to other areas of the body. They are often painless, but if the cyst becomes infected or very large, it can be uncomfortable. Never try to pop a vaginal cyst as this can spread bacteria and make the problem worse. Instead, see your healthcare provider, who can gently drain the cyst.

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