Why Do Vaginal Pimples Form?

The basics

Few areas of the body are as sensitive as the female genital area. Vaginal pimples aren’t usually a serious condition. But they can be a source of great discomfort.

Read on to learn about some of the things that can cause pimples in or around the vagina. There are also tips on how to treat and prevent them.

What causes vaginal pimples to form?

The cause isn’t always obvious, but there are a few reasons you may have pimples around your genitals. Some of them are:

Contact dermatitis

Vaginal pimples are likely caused by contact dermatitis. This is a reaction to something that touches the skin. Contact dermatitis of the genitals may be caused by sensitivity to:

  • bubble baths and soaps, especially if they contain fragrances
  • feminine wipes, deodorants, lotions, powders, or perfumes
  • tampons or sanitary pads
  • douches
  • spermicides, condoms, lubricants, or sexual arousal stimulants
  • over- the-counter topical medications
  • laundry detergent and dryer sheets

Your skin could also become irritated due to:

  • perspiration
  • vaginal discharge
  • urine
  • semen

Any irritation of the skin can result in formation of pimples.


Pimples in the genital area may be a result of infection of the hair follicle due to bacteria. Shaving your pubic hair is one potential cause of folliculitis. As your hair starts growing out of the follicle, it curls back toward the skin, causing irritation. In some cases, the hair grows back into the skin (ingrown hair).

The roughness of a razor on sensitive skin can also cause the following:

  • razor burn
  • bumps
  • blisters
  • pimples
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also called acne inversa, is a chronic disease of the sweat glands. It causes pimple-like lesions around the body, including the vulvar area.

The cause of this rare inflammatory disease isn’t clear. There are treatments, but no cure.

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that can cause pimples anywhere on the body, including the genitals. Treatment isn’t always needed, but it can be treated with topical or oral medication. If necessary, your doctor can also remove the pimples.

Is it safe to pop a vaginal pimple?

It’s best not to try to pop a vaginal pimple. For one thing, it can spread bacteria and lead to infection. For another, this sensitive area can be easily irritated. And you’re likely to end up making things much worse.

The pimple can become a boil if it fills with pus and continues to grow bigger for several days. As it grows, it can become painful.

You should never try to burst or pick at a boil near your genitals. It’s likely to rupture on its own. Instead see your doctor, who can lance the boil in a way that will prevent infection.

What else could this bump be?

Some things may appear to be pimples, but are actually cysts, warts, or other growths. Some of these are:

Bartholin’s cysts usually occur near one side of the vaginal opening. If cysts don’t clear up within a few days, or become painful, see your doctor. Large cysts can be drained.

Genital herpes lesions can look like pimples. They appear around the vagina, vulva, and anus. Genital herpes can be treated.

Genital warts can be mistaken for pimples. You can have a single wart or a cluster of warts. They’re caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can be treated.

Skin tags can look like pimples, but they’re just small flaps of tissue that pose no health threat. Skin tags in the genital area can become irritating, though. A doctor can remove them for you.


In most cases, pimples will clear up on their own or with treatment within a few weeks. Your outlook depends on the cause and the potential treatments. Your doctor will be able to tell you what you can expect.

You may need to make some adjustments to your personal hygiene routine to prevent recurrence.

Tips for prevention

Once you identify the cause, avoid coming into contact with the irritant. To help prevent future irritation in the vaginal area:

Read more on: pimples