skin conditions of the vagina

5 Skin Conditions of the Vagina You Should Know About

Noticing weird conditions on the skin can be very off-putting. 

And it’s worse it appears in the last place on earth they’re expected — the vagina. 

Today, we're shedding light on a rarely discussed subject: skin conditions of the vagina. 

We’ll talk about how to spot and treat them… and also how to avoid getting them in the first place. 

Add this information to your arsenal and gain even more control over your intimate health.

Lichen Sclerosus: Not Just a Rash

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lichen Sclerosus is known by its thin, white patches or red “toughs” on the skin. 

It’s a bit like a delicate tissue paper crumpling, except it can be uncomfortable, and even painful. This can cause vaginal tightening¹

This condition is usually caused by an overactive immune system or by hormonal imbalances². If the symptoms sound familiar, then you should confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy. 

The American Cancer Society says that about 4% of women with this condition go on to develop vulvar cancer. 

The most common treatment for this condition is steroid creams or ointments³. These can help soften the skin and make it appear normal again. 

But if you're allergic to steroids, alternatives like tacrolimus ointment or pimecrolimus cream will help.

Lichen Planus: Internal inflammation

lichen planusSource: Wikimedia Commons

 Lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus) is a condition that can appear on the skin, hair, nails, mouth and genitals. 

On the skin or genitals, it looks like purplish flat bumps. And they’re are also itchy. And this condition can take several weeks to develop. 

It is caused by an inflammation which happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. It usually goes away on its own over time. 

To speed up recovery, treatments like topical steroids, tacrolimus ointment, or oral medications can help manage the condition

But always consult your healthcare provider for the best approach for your condition.

Vulvar Psoriasis: Skin cells on overdrive

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Psoriasis is a skin condition that happens when the skin cells multiply faster than normal. And when this happens on the vagina, it’s called vulvar psoriasis. 

This usually looks like red, scaly patches that burn or itch.. And on darker skin, patches can be brown, purplish, or violet with gray scales. 

This condition is not an STD. 

It is usually triggered by stress, injury and certain medications. One can also inherit genes that can cause the condition. 

Potential treatments can include topical solutions, light therapy, and oral or injected medications. The treatments will relieve your symptoms and help you maintain healthier skin.

Vulvar Eczema: Irritants

This condition is also known as vulvar dermatitis. And it’s recognized by the soft folds of skin around the vagina becoming painful, red and itchy. 

Vulva eczema is usually caused by irritants. 

Irritant sources include soaps, fabrics, sweat, etc.¹0. Other known triggers include panty liners, wipes, douches, vaginal discharges, pee, perfume, and alcohol. 

This is a treatable condition. All you need to do is avoid irritant sources and apply treatments like topical steroid creams¹¹.

Bartholin's Cyst: Serious when infected

Vaginal moisture is produced by the Bartholin glands. These glands sometimes get blocked, causing the fluid to accumulate in the pores. 

When that happens, it forms a cyst

A Bartholin's Cyst is that lump or swelling that occurs. It’s not serious when it’s not infected. But when it is, it can be painful. And you should get expert help¹².

Sometimes treatment isn’t needed. But treatment options include sitz baths, antibiotics, or in some cases, surgical drainage¹³.

Taking Further Control of Your Vaginal Health

Many women are unaware of these conditions. And they only learn about them when they notice something unusual on their skin.

But the more you know about these conditions, the more control you’ll have over your vaginal health. To get there, you need to know how to spot them early and the steps to take to treat them.

Remember that regular gynecological exams¹⁴ is one of the best strategies for spotting these conditions on time. They are your first line of defense against any vaginal skin conditions. So ask your physician to look out for those.

For more insight about women's health, feel free to explore our other blog posts


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Lichen sclerosus - Symptoms and causes.
  2. NHS UK. (2020). Lichen sclerosus - Causes.
  3. NHS UK. (2020). Lichen sclerosus - Treatment.
  4. American Academy of Dermatology. (2021). Lichen sclerosus: Diagnosis and treatment.
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Lichen planus - Symptoms and causes.
  6. NHS UK. (2019). Lichen planus - Treatment.
  7. National Psoriasis Foundation. (2021). Genital Psoriasis.
  8. National Psoriasis Foundation. (2021). Common Triggers.
  9. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Psoriasis - Diagnosis and treatment.
  10. Healthline. (2020). Vaginal Eczema: Symptoms, Treatment, and More.
  11. National Eczema Association. (2021). Eczema Treatment.
  12. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Bartholin's cyst - Symptoms and causes.
  13. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Bartholin's cyst - Diagnosis and treatment.
Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Regular Checkups.
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