Ingrown hairs are an unpleasant yet temporary annoyance that develops after shaving. An STD, however, can lead to multiple health challenges when left untreated. Unfortunately, the bumps caused by ingrown hairs and STDs may appear similar, making it hard to know the difference.
Razor bumps generally occur due to ingrown hairs in the pubic area.
Razor bumps are most prominent in “hairy areas” or where hair is coarse.
Razor bumps and STDs are similar in appearance — especially herpes and razor bumps.
Razor bumps will go away on their own; however, herpes often reappears.
Without treatment, herpes can lead to other medical complications.
How do razor bumps look like?
Razor bumps or razor burns can occur on any part of the body. Female shaving rash may consist of painful, uncomfortable bumps that form immediately after shaving. Ingrown hairs that occur after shaving appears as red bumps. The bumps usually resemble a blister or pimple. You may notice one or several in a recently shaved area. If razor bumps are severe, they may be tender.
Razor bumps: causes and symptoms
Razor bumps occur due to ingrown hairs. Although they can occur on any part of the body, they are often most prominent in areas with a lot of hair or the hair is coarse. The ingrown hairs that cause razor bumps result from hair growing into your skin rather than up and out of the hair follicle. They occur most often after shaving or hair removal because many hair removal procedures leave a sharp tip on each hair that can penetrate your skin and cause inflammation and discomfort.
Razor bump or an STD – how to know:
Pubic razor bumps are a common skin ailment in frequently shaved or waxed areas. In some cases, the sensitivity, burning, or itching accompanying razor bumps may indicate the presence of an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
The first warning sign that your pubic razor bumps might be an STD is uncharacteristic pain. Although pubic razor bumps can be sensitive and tender, notable pain is not common. Also, if you experience other symptoms, such as a headache, fever, swollen glands, or body aches, it may indicate herpes.
It is also important to consider what the pubic razor bumps look like. Are they open or closed? Razor bumps, shaving rash, and pimples that form in the genital area typically remain closed. Whereas a bump caused by the STD herpes starts out closed before developing into an open (sometimes oozing) sore that forms a scab.
Another STD that presents with “bumps” is genital warts. Unlike pubic razor bumps or herpes, genital warts appear rough and look like cauliflower. Genital warts are not usually painful and appear white rather than red.
Is it herpes or an ingrown hair?
In addition to pain and physical symptoms, there are a few other differences between herpes and ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs generally appear individually. In contrast, bumps associated with the herpes virus appear in small clusters. Ingrown hairs usually appear after waxing or shaving. In contrast, herpes bumps can occur at any time after exposure to the infection.
Both ingrown hair bumps and herpes bumps will eventually rupture, but the contents of the sores differ. An ingrown hair may contain white pus similar to a pimple. A herpes bump, on the other hand, will typically ooze a thicker, yellow-colored liquid. If you are concerned about a razor bump and unsure if it is a bump or STD, it is essential to seek medical assistance. Many STDs can lead to long-term medical complications if not properly treated. You also risk spreading the infection to others.
How to get rid of razor bumps
Fortunately, there are a few home remedies for treating and preventing razor bumps on pubic area. Customize the options to discover what works best for you in different situations. And remember to consult your healthcare professional for more personalized support.
- Apply warm compress. A warm compress will help alleviate swelling, inflammation, and discomfort and reduce bacteria in the hair follicle. Wet a washcloth or paper towel with warm water. Apply it to the razor bumps for five to ten minutes, a few times daily.
- Use creams. Select a hair removal product with soothing ingredients such as aloe to prevent irritation and ingrown hairs.
- Reduce inflammation. Applying a warm compress, as mentioned above, will help reduce inflammation and discomfort. Also, using a clean, sharp, and sterile razor helps to reduce issues, as dull or dirty razors increase the risk of ingrown hairs, infection, and irritation. Shave or wax after a warm bath or shower. Exfoliating prior can help to remove dead skin cells. You will bring ingrown hairs to the surface and reduce the chance of an uncomfortable shaving bump.
- Pull out the hair. If you can remove the ingrown hair from the hair follicle, it will help to heal the bump faster. Also, applying a warm compress may help to bring the hair to the surface.
How to avoid razor bumps after shaving
You can try several potential methods to avoid razor burns on the vagina and surrounding areas. Not all methods will work in all cases, so you may need to try a few different ones before finding what is right for you.
- Proper skin preparation. Proper skin preparation may lower the risk of razor bumps. Examples of skin preparation tools include cleansing and exfoliating beforehand, shaving or waxing after a warm bath or shower, and using shaving creams or gels.
- Reduce frequency. Reducing the frequency of hair removal in the private area may help reduce pubic razor bumps.
- Avoid irritating products. Select aftercare products that are non-irritant to reduce the possibility of rash and inflammation. Research the ingredients in your hair preparation, removal, and aftercare products to learn about their benefits and limit unhealthy ingredients.
When to see a doctor
It can be stressful to experience a bump or discomfort in your private area. It may be even more concerning when bumps or pain are in places you cannot easily see. Monitor your signs and symptoms closely and contact your doctor immediately if you have any concerns or questions.
Do razor bumps look like STDs?
Yes, as razor bumps look like STDs, herpes, and other STDs may often be confused as razor bumps or other skin conditions.
How long does razor burn take to heal in the pubic area?
Although we all respond and heal differently, pubic razor burn will usually heal within a few days to a week. Contact your doctor if you have concerns or questions.
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