Pimples are small red growths that appear on the surface of the skin. They can occur on your genitals. You may be surprised to find a pimple down there. But it’s fairly common and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
A pimple is a small red growth on the surface of the skin. It’s often due to acne, when skin pores become clogged with oil, bacteria or other substances.
Yes, a pimple can form on the external tissue (vulva and labia). It’s also known as vaginal acne. You may be surprised to find a pimple in this area. But it's nothing to be concerned about. Having a pimple on your vulva is common.
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The main symptom is a red bump. It may be:
There could be many causes besides acne. These include:
Contact dermatitis, a reaction to materials and other substances that touch the vulva. This may include:
Folliculitis, which occurs when pubic hair follicles become inflamed or infected. Folliculitis may be due to:
Hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa), a skin disease affecting the sweat glands in the groin. It can cause pus-filled sores that come back after treatment and leave scars.
Molluscum contagiosum, a viral infection that causes growths to form on the body. These growths sometimes occur in the genital area. Breakouts can take months to clear up.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including:
Skin tags, small flaps of skin that form in areas where the skin rubs against itself. They are harmless but don't go away on their own.
Uncommon causes, including Bartholin cysts. These occur when glands on either side of the vagina become blocked. The area becomes inflamed and pus collects.
You should see your healthcare provider if:
Your healthcare provider can diagnose genital pimples after a quick examination. If the provider is concerned the pimple is something other than vaginal acne, they'll perform a more thorough assessment.
This may include:
Pimples due to vaginal acne or ingrown hairs go away on their own. Other causes may need therapies that include:
There are steps you can take to prevent certain causes of genital pimples:
Many genital pimples clear up on their own within a few days. If your treatment includes medications, it can take a few weeks for pimples to clear up.
Self-care methods may prevent symptom flare-ups or relieve discomfort.
You should resist the urge to pop these pimples because:
Genital pimples will usually go away on their own in a few days. Contact your doctor if the pimple hasn’t cleared up within a few weeks.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pimples form near the vagina for many reasons. They typically clear up on their own. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed to call your healthcare provider if you’re concerned. They may prescribe treatments that help genital pimples go away faster. Healthcare providers can also determine the cause of growths that aren't pimples.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/04/2021.
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