Although we can employ an entire word bank of adjectives to describe acne, prejudiced is not one of them. Unfortunately, acne doesn't discriminate on race, gender, age, or location. (Fun fact: the only places acne is not allowed to reap itself are the palms of your hands and the back of your feet). Otherwise, acne is a ruthlessly generous entity; regardless of the time on month, it will crop up like an unwanted surprise visit from your mother-in-law and ruin your day. And if you thought face acne and bacne were bad, think again.
Vagne can be particularly tricky for obvious reasons—and yes, it exists. When you first notice bumps down there, don’t immediately incite a full-fledged Google search on STDs. It's important to note the difference between vulva acne, ingrown hairs, and infection. Vaginal acne occurs when pores get clogged with debris and bacteria on the outer vaginal layer. Nevertheless, it’s not particularly recommended to smear Proactiv all over a cluster of vagina pimples, and there aren’t exactly a blaring plethora of vagne products out there in the skincare realm. Moreover, asking your dermatologist to check out your lady bits can be a bit awkward.
Luckily, you don’t have to; we caught up with Kyrin Dunston, board-certified OBGYN and specialist in natural women’s health care, to find out what exactly causes those pimples in our privates, and more importantly, what we can do to banish them.
Address hormonal imbalance
Skin on the vagina can get acne for exactly the same reasons that facial skin can: hormone imbalance coupled with bacterial overgrowth. This type, referred to as vulva acne, will generally contain more fluid or sebum. According to Kyrin, “Making sure your female and male hormones are balanced is key. An excess of testosterone or estrogen will predispose to vaginal acne outbreaks. Particularly if you are having any other female problems, get checked out by your doctor to see exactly what the problem is and address it.” To reset hormones at home, wield your diet to focus on specific hormone-balancing foods like flaxseeds, cruciferous veggies, good fats, and organic non-GMO whole soy. If your raging hormones still see no improvement, consult your doctor about getting on an alternative method like birth control. Here are 9 signs you might have a hormonal imbalance.
Let your pubic hair grow out.
Although you may cringe at the idea of leaving the bush intact, the only thing worse than a random vagina pimple is a full-blown medley of painful vagne and razor bumps. Ingrown hairs can cause folliculitis, which are basically inflamed hair follicles that occur either after shaving or waxing. Think of it as the same as a pimple, but with a hair inside. They are generally lumped into the same subtext as body acne, but make sure to resist the urge of popping them; this can lead to an infection in the area and cause more serious problems down the road. Here is what your vaginal discharge says about your health.
Avoid tight panties
Although we fully understand the appreciation for Brazilian briefs and cheeky thongs, tight underwear is vagne’s best friend—so don’t indulge them. According to Kyrin, “Wearing loose-fitting undergarments and no panties at night helps the area to breathe, which problematic bacteria doesn't like. They like it moist and wet and dark.” Unfortunately, this may also mean bidding adieu to your favorite yoga pants.
Practice consistent cleansing
Taking a shower is a pretty intuitive process, but the nether regions usually brings about some additional questions. What kind of soap should you use? Are you scrubbing too often or not enough? When you use hygiene products like body wash in your private parts, which typically holds a pH level of 8, your vaginal balance can be disrupted, eventually spiraling into itchiness, irritation, and odor. A healthy vaginal pH is between 3.5 and 4.5, and your best bet is to look for a product within the same range. “Using antibacterial soaps either commercially prepared or containing natural antibacterial like oregano or tea tree oil assists in removing potentially harmful bacteria,” says Kyrin.
Don’t wear underwear to bed
We’re sure your significant other will give a thumbs-up of approval on this one, but this method will also seriously help clear up your vagne. Sweat is the leading cause of vagne, and since your body tends to sweat most at night, it’s the perfect period for vagne to emerge. “Wearing loose undergarments and letting the vagina 'breathe' at night by going bare, will help to heal this condition,” advises Kyrin. Read more on why you should go commando during bedtime.
Try over-the-counter medications.
Lastly, be sure to know when it’s time to go beyond the home remedies and hit the aisles. If you adhere to all of the best practices yet the zit still won’t quit, it’s comforting to know that vagne medications do exist (in the deep and dark corners of the drugstore). According to Kyrin, “Over-the-counter acne preparations are useful. Just keep them to only the hair bearing areas of the vagina and not the red parts, which might cause irritation.”