You might be worried about vaginal pimples, but the truth is that genital pimples will generally form on the vulva, which is the external part of your genitals, and includes the labia majora (outer lips), labia minora (inner lips), the external part of the clitoris, and the vaginal and urethral openings.
This area is very delicate, and for some people, it’s very easily irritated. Here are the main reasons pimples can pop up on this part of your body.
Folliculitis is the most common cause of pimples on the labia majora. It occurs when bacteria enter the pubic hair follicles on the labia. When hairs grow out of these follicles, they have a tendency to curl backwards and back into the skin.
Shaving your pubic hair increases the risk of developing folliculitis. Tight fitting underwear, as well as sweating, can also increase your vulnerability to pimples on the labia caused by folliculitis.
Folliculitis goes away on its own. After a bout of folliculitis, you may want to avoid shaving your pubic hair for a while. To reduce the likelihood of developing folliculitis from shaving, shave your pubic hair in the same direction of growth.
You can also avoid wearing underwear that is tight and shower whenever you sweat profusely. Loose fitting clothes made of breathable fibers like cotton and linen can help keep the area clean, cool, and dry.
2. Contact dermatitis
This condition is caused by contact with chemicals found in products such as scented pads, tampons, bubble baths, laundry detergents, vaginal creams, and condoms, as well as perspiration, urine, semen, and vaginal discharge. These chemicals can cause irritation to the labia, which may result in bumps developing in the area. The pimple-like bumps formed by contact dermatitis can be itchy or painful.
If you have contact dermatitis, you’ll need to figure out what’s causing it and stop using that product. A good way to do this is to eliminate all the products that come into contact with your vulva, then gradually reintroduce them. Once you determine the culprit, you can stop using it.
Once you get rid of the irritant, the rash will often go away on its own. If your contact dermatitis requires further treatment, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications. Antihistamine pills can be used to control itching, while non-irritating, unscented, moisturizing creams may offer some relief.
3. Molluscum contagiosum
This condition is caused by the virus Molluscum contagiosum. This virus is transmitted through casual or sexual contact with the skin of people who have it or objects that carry it. Molluscum contagiosum will generally clear up on its own in 6-12 months. It can also be treated with topical or oral medication, or the bumps can be removed by a doctor using lasers or cryotherapy.
4. Hidradenitis suppurativa
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a long-term condition where bumps form in the hair roots near sweat glands. There’s currently no cure for it, but effective therapies are available. Warm compresses help minor cases, and there are many medications that can help minimize the condition.
Track your health and learn more about it with Flo
Install the app to know your body better. Track periods, ovulation, and over 30 different symptoms and activities — stay healthy every day!
Often pimples on your labia will clear up on their own. But if they don’t, your doctor may be able to prescribe treatment. Avoid touching labia pimples, as squeezing or popping them can spread bacteria and exacerbate the problem.
You might also want to stop shaving your pubic hair for a while. Using chemical products and creams on your vulva is generally not recommended because the area is very delicate. Antihistamines can be an effective treatment for contact dermatitis.
More often than not, genital pimples are caused by lifestyle choices and products, so preventing these tiny inconveniences from popping up can be as easy as changing a few habits.
Keep your vaginal area clean and dry and avoid tight-fitting underwear to create a healthy environment for your genitals. Choosing underwear made from fabric that breathes and showering after exercise can help with this. Avoiding scented soaps, lotions, creams, and products made with harsh chemicals can help prevent contact dermatitis. A mild, unscented soap is all you need to keep your vulva clean.
If you’re not sure of what’s causing pimples on your labia, your doctor can help you figure it out. Regardless of the cause, treatment is available and can have you feeling back to your usual self in no time.