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Ask any runner or cyclist if they know what pubic acne is and there's a good chance they'll wince in pain. That's because acne in the pubic area is a common phenomenon for athletes and fitness fanatics who tend to sweat a lot.
But pubic pimples don't just happen to active people, you can also get them from shaving, friction from clothing that is too tight, ingrown hairs, yeast, bacteria, or using an unclean hot tub.
The hair of the pubic region makes this area prone to acne-type lesions called folliculitis 1.
These pimples are caused by inflammation of the hair follicles, and they appear as red bumps, sometimes with pus inside them. You will likely experience itchiness and tenderness in your pubic region as a result.
The good news is, folliculitis pimples in the pubic area are highly treatable and can generally be cleared 1. The not so good news: the condition frequently recurs, making repeat treatment necessary.
If you're dealing with a bout of pubic pimples, there are some steps you can take to decrease the inflammation and make the discomfort more bearable.
Keep the Area Clean
Keeping your pubic area clean is your first defense in fighting acne. Since pubic acne often stems from microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi growing in the area, keeping the area clean may help prevent new pimples from popping up. Aim to wash the area twice a day. You can use antibacterial soap or body wash or try an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
- Keeping your pubic area clean is your first defense in fighting acne.
- You can use antibacterial soap or body wash or try an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment.
Keep the Area Dry
Is It Possible to Get Rid of Acne in Two Days?
Moisture from water or sweat enhances the growth of germs that contribute to acne in the pubic area. Keeping this area dry can help decrease any existing acne and prevent new pimples from forming.
After you get out of the shower, make sure to thoroughly towel dry your pubic area before getting dressed. It's also a good idea to change your sweaty clothes immediately after working out. If you can't shower right away, change into a dry pair of underwear and pants until you can bathe.
- Moisture from water or sweat enhances the growth of germs that contribute to acne in the pubic area.
- After you get out of the shower, make sure to thoroughly towel dry your pubic area before getting dressed.
Go Easy on Hair Removal
If shaving down under is part of your normal grooming routine, you might need to take a break for a while.
Backing off from hair removal can help the irritation die down. Shaving, in particular, can cause pimples in the pubic area.
If you can handle it, give the area four to six weeks of rest before you resume your normal shaving routine. When you do go back to shaving, make sure you follow-up your grooming with a gentle moisturizer made for the pubic area.
Read more: How to Treat Ingrown Hairs in the Pubic Area
- If shaving down under is part of your normal grooming routine, you might need to take a break for a while.
- When you do go back to shaving, make sure you follow-up your grooming with a gentle moisturizer made for the pubic area.
Ease the Discomfort
Acne From a Mustache
Acne in the pubic area is seriously painful.
To relieve some of the discomforts, consider using a compress while the area is healing. This can easily be done with a warm washcloth moist with water. Apply the compress to the area several times a day. Hold it onto the area and apply pressure until the swelling starts to subside.
- Acne in the pubic area is seriously painful.
- To relieve some of the discomforts, consider using a compress while the area is healing.
Choose the Right Clothing
Say goodbye to your favorite yoga pants, especially if they cling to your body. If you're dealing with a bout of pubic acne, it's wise to wear clean, loose-fitting clothing.
Since tight clothing can irritate hair follicles, choosing looser clothing while your pubic area is healing will help speed up the process. If you're prone to getting acne in the pubic area, it's also a good idea to stick to lose clothing, at least for a while.
- Say goodbye to your favorite yoga pants, especially if they cling to your body.
- If you're prone to getting acne in the pubic area, it's also a good idea to stick to lose clothing, at least for a while.
Some cases of folliculitis are contagious, so direct skin contact with the affected area should be avoided until the condition has cleared up 1.
Additionally, diabetes, obesity and compromised immune systems can lead to folliculitis in the pubic area as well as other areas 1. If the above methods don't work or you're having concerns about the acne in your pubic area, make sure to contact your doctor for more information.
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- Mayo Clinic: Folliculitis
- Dr. John Meisenheimer: Folliculitis
- International Society for Sexual Medicine. What are the health risks of removing women's pubic hair?
- Carniciu AL, Chou J, Leskov I, Freitag SK. Clinical presentation and bacteriology of eyebrow infections: The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary experience (2008-2015). Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;33(5):372-375. doi:10.1097/IOP.0000000000000797
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Removing Hair Safely. Updated June 30, 2010.
- Desruelles F, Cunningham SA, Dubois D. Pubic hair removal: a risk factor for 'minor' STI such as molluscum contagiosum? Sex Transm Infect. 2013 May;89(3):216. doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050982
- Herbenick D, Hensel D, Smith NK, et al. Pubic hair removal and sexual behavior: findings from a prospective daily diary study of sexually active women in the United States. J Sex Med. 2013 Mar;10(3):678-85. doi:10.1111/jsm.12031
- Center for Young Women's Health. Removing Pubic Hair. Updated April 29, 2019.
- Truesdale MD, Osterberg EC, Gaither TW, et al. Prevalence of Pubic Hair Grooming-Related Injuries and Identification of High-Risk Individuals in the United States [published correction appears in JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Nov 1;153(11):1201]. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(11):1114–1121. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.2815
- Tanner J, Norrie P, Melen K. Preoperative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Nov 9;(11):CD004122. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004122.pub4
- Castronovo C, Lebas E, Nikkels-Tassoudji N, Nikkels AF. Viral infections of the pubis. Int J STD AIDS. 2012 Jan;23(1):48-50. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2011.010548.
Ranlyn Oakes is a business writer and journalist with more than a decade as either a staff writer or freelancer for a variety of regional and national publications, including newspapers and magazines. His specialties include health care, international trade, manufacturing and career advice. Oakes holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Kentucky.