The skin has hair follicles and sweat & sebaceous glands. When sweat and sebum (and sometimes, bacteria too) get trapped inside the hair follicles (in the roots), they swell up. In a day or two, these congested follicles become acne (red bumps) and folliculitis (red bumps with pus).
Just like any other body part, this can happen to vulva too!
Main Causes of ACNE-CAUSING Congestion
- Sweat & lack of ventilation: We just don’t air our intimates! Staying in wet bathing suits, workout clothes, or not cleaning and drying the vulva daily can lead to irritation and acne.
- Douching & chemicals: Chemical-based products break the skin’s natural protective barrier making it easy for bad bacteria to enter the skin layer and multiply.
- Hair removal: Waxing and frequent shaving abrases skin’s protective layer. This is followed by open pores, disrupted skin barrier and infections like folliculitis.
Those who are overweight, suffer from hormonal imbalances, sweat a lot, or have a sensitive skin, are more at risk to getting vulvar acne.
I have Vulvar ACNE. Now what?
Step 1: Clean
Use an anti-bacterial, gentle and natural Intimate Wash to remove the infection.
Step 2: Treat
Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic, such as Bacitracin, to the infected area. Warm compressor and painkillers can also be taken for pain relief.
Must Avoid: Popping the pimple.
If the acne doesn’t go away in 3-4 days, then visit a venereal dermatologist, especially if you also have fever, chills, swelling, pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, or discharge.
To say the least, vaginal swelling is quite unpleasant and could be due to reasons ranging from regular and rough intercourse to infections and ulcers.
The biology of swelling
Swelling is fluid retention under the skin. In case of an infection, the white blood cells rush to the site of infection to kill the harmful elements. Superficially, this army of cells appears like a swollen, red area. The same happens in the case of vaginal swelling.
VAGINAL/VULVAR SWELLING THAT NEEDS MEDICAL ATTENTION
Swelling that does not subside within a few hours or days, needs medical attention. It could be due to Vulvar Varicosities, cysts, abscess, ulcers from STIs and precancerous lesions. Although you could apply a cooling pack to the swollen area, visiting a specialist is recommended for complete assessment of symptoms and treatment of its root cause.
HYGIENE DOWN THERE: BEST PRACTICES
- Let it air and dry: Sweat and moisture retention are main causes of infections, it’s good to wear loose outfits and change out of tight ones as soon as possible.
- Diet: Have a diet rich in probiotics. This will keep the population of the good bacteria healthy in the vagina, gut, bladder and on skin, and avoid overgrowth of bad bacteria.
- Less shaving: Find gentler ways to remove hair down there. If you’re still going ahead with waxing or shaving, apply an after-shave lotion each time. It strengthens skin barriers and minimises inflammation.
- Natural cleansing: Use a mild cleanser in the vulvar region, during bath, before and after intercourse, and during periods.
- Ditch chemicals: Chemicals used to wash undergarments or create sanitary products can also give rise to intimate area issues. So, go for chemical-free sanitary pads, organic cotton tampons, and fragrance-free cleansers.