Understanding Different Vulvar Skin Conditions: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Many women deal with issues like dryness, irritation, or other specific skin conditions in silence, and the problem with silence is that it allows misinformation to take over. Not only that but staying quiet about vulvar or vaginal concerns can mean that many women deal with treatable issues for way longer than they need to.

At Medicine Mama, we're set on changing this silence into open conversations. We want to knock down the stigma around women's vulvar health and empower you to discuss and manage your intimate health confidently. 

By encouraging open dialogues, we aim to make it easier for women to get the support they need to feel comfortable seeking help.

What Are Some Common Vulvar Skin Conditions?

Vulvar skin conditions vary widely, from mild, brief irritations to more persistent problems that need continuous care. It’s crucial to catch the signs early and understand what’s causing them to manage your symptoms properly and get the right treatment. 

If you have any concerns about the wellness of your genital area or you suspect you might have one of these common vulvar conditions, speak to your doctor first and foremost. Getting treatment can help to avoid future complications and spare you a lot of discomfort. Even if the idea of speaking to your doctor about your vulva makes you uncomfortable, it’s important to overcome this for your own well-being.

To help you along when it comes to understanding common vulvar skin conditions and give you some context for discussing them with your OB-GYN, let’s talk about what symptoms to look out for, why they happen, and how to treat them effectively.

1. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis on the vulva shows up as itching, redness, and swelling, and you might even see blisters or cracked skin. It happens when something irritates the skin or triggers an allergic reaction. This could be anything from the perfume in your soap to the fabric of your underwear or even the laundry detergent you use.

The best way to deal with contact dermatitis is to figure out what’s causing it and steer clear of it. Simple over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can calm the symptoms for many women. But if those rashes are really stubborn or severe, you might need to see a healthcare provider for stronger treatments. 

Besides medical care, taking extra care in choosing products meant for sensitive skin can make a big difference. This helps protect your vulva from irritants and keeps your skin calm and happy.

2. Vulvar Psoriasis

Vulvar psoriasis can make you feel quite uncomfortable with its red, scaly patches, similar to what you might find on other parts of the body. This type of psoriasis is just as persistent and annoying, focusing its discomfort around the vulva. 

It's an autoimmune condition, meaning your body's immune system is mistakenly attacking healthy cells. While it's not something you can catch from someone else, it's a condition that can stick around and flare up periodically.

Managing vulvar psoriasis can involve using low-potency topical steroids to reduce inflammation and emollients to keep the skin moisturized and protected. It’s also helpful to make some lifestyle changes, such as managing stress levels and steering clear of known triggers. 

Some women find that certain foods or weather changes can set off a flare, so paying attention to these potential triggers and avoiding them can make a big difference in managing symptoms.

3. Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is another challenging skin condition, marked by white, shiny patches on the vulva that are thin and fragile, making them prone to tearing. This can cause a lot of discomfort and might even lead to scarring for some. 

It's a condition often seen in post-menopausal women but can appear at any age and isn't fully understood yet. Experts think it might be related to autoimmune issues, where the body attacks its own tissues.

The mainstay of treatment for lichen sclerosus is high-potency topical steroids. These medications help reduce inflammation and control the symptoms, preventing the condition from progressing and causing further damage. At MedMama, we know the struggle and created our Lichen Sclerosis Bundle to help soothe the symptoms of this condition. 

Because of the nature of the condition, it’s crucial to have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider. These visits can help monitor the condition and adjust treatment as needed, ensuring the best care and management of symptoms.

4. Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are pretty common and come with symptoms like itching, redness, swelling, and a distinctive white discharge that looks a bit like cottage cheese. These infections happen when there’s an overgrowth of Candida, a fungus that naturally lives in and around your vaginal area. 

Sometimes, things like taking antibiotics, staying in wet clothes too long, or changes in your hormones can throw off the balance and let Candida grow out of control. Treating a yeast infection can involve antifungal creams or suppositories that you can get over the counter or with a prescription. 

These treatments are generally very effective at clearing up the symptoms. To keep yeast infections from coming back, it's a good idea to keep the vulvar area dry and wear clothes that let your skin breathe. 

Simple steps like changing out of sweaty workout clothes quickly and opting for cotton underwear can make a significant difference in keeping yeast infections at bay.

What Can You Do To Care for Your Vulva?

Just like the rest of your skincare routine, if you’re having dermatological concerns around your vulva, it might be time to consider upping your routine. While it’s important not to use products that might upset your vagina’s delicate microbiome and avoid cleaning yourself internally, the right products can help to soothe symptoms and promote nourished, hydrated, unbroken skin.

Let’s talk about some of our favorite products to help protect your skin from irritation, whether it’s related to a condition you’re currently treating or due to ingrown hairs and other grooming habits.

VMAGIC® Vulva Balm 

Our organic vaginal moisturizer is ideal for easing dryness and irritation from various causes, such as menopause, postpartum changes, or activities like sex. Just like moisturizing your face helps it to feel smooth and nourished, moisturizing your vulva with a thoughtfully formulated balm can work wonders.

To use, simply take a small amount with clean fingers and gently massage it into the vulvar area. The natural ingredients, like Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, and Sea Buckthorn Oil, soothe skin and deliver deep, lasting hydration. This balm is a wonderful addition to any daily regimen, providing your skin with the gentle care it needs to stay healthy.

VMAGIC® Vulva Wash

This gentle, fragrance-free vulva cleanser is formulated to refresh and nourish your skin while maintaining the natural pH balance of your vulva. Ideal for daily use, it leaves no residue, ensuring your skin feels clean and soft. Incorporating this wash into your daily hygiene routine can help soothe discomfort and maintain optimal health in your most intimate area.

VMAGIC® Grooming Polish

Designed to prepare the skin for grooming and prevent ingrown hairs, this sugar scrub is a must-have for anyone who shaves or waxes. It combines finely milled sugars with rich antioxidants and natural oils like rosehip and borage, which help to nourish and protect the skin. Gentle yet effective, it ensures your grooming process is smooth, and your skin remains well-cared for.

What Lifestyle Changes Can You Make To Support Your Vulva?

It’s crucial to treat existing vulvar skin conditions and take preventive measures to avoid them. Wearing loose-fitting, breathable garments and opting for unscented personal hygiene products are simple ways to reduce the risk of irritation. 

Keeping your body hydrated and eating a balanced diet are vital for overall skin health, and that includes the vulva! Nutrients from a well-rounded diet nourish your skin from the inside out, promoting resilience against irritation and dryness.

Regular visits to a healthcare provider are vital, particularly if you experience any persistent or unusual symptoms. These check-ups help ensure that any changes in your vulvar health are addressed promptly, allowing for early treatment and better management of any issues. This proactive approach to vulvar health helps prevent serious conditions and supports a healthy, comfortable lifestyle.

Relief at Last

Understanding and caring for your vulva is a vital part of your overall health and well-being. We’re here to support you in this journey, providing products that not only care for but celebrate your body. We encourage all women to engage openly in discussions about vulvar health and to embrace the empowerment that comes from knowledge and proactive care. 

Explore our range of VMAGIC® products and take control of your intimate health today. Your vulva deserves attention and care, just like any other part of your body. Join us in creating a supportive space for education, empowerment, and excellent care for our bodies.


Contact Dermatitis Of The Vulva | University of Iowa

Treatment of Genital Psoriasis: A Systematic Review | National Library of Medicine

Lichen Sclerosus | National Library of Medicine

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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