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Genital Herpes vs Ingrown Hair: How to Spot the Difference

genital herpes vs ingrown hair

What exactly is going on down there? You see a blister and suddenly you’re overwhelmed with panic. Is it genital herpes? Or simply an ingrown hair?

If you’ve got “the fear” after fooling around with someone new, use this quick guide to learn more about genital herpes vs ingrown hair signs and symptoms. You’ll either put your mind at ease or get the advice you need to properly treat an outbreak of the herpes simplex virus. 

A Visual Difference Between the Two

Genital herpes vs ingrown hair blisters look distinctly different. As you examine your possible herpes blisters to determine if they’re herpes or ingrown hairs, be careful not to pop them. Popping blisters aggravates the sore and prolongs the healing process of an outbreak. 

What Symptoms Might Someone Expect If It’s Herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus. You may not experience symptoms immediately – or ever! However, if a trigger does cause a genital herpes outbreak on your body, these are the symptoms you can expect to experience.

A Group of Tiny Blisters

Genital herpes blisters appear as small red bumps and white blisters grouped closely together on, around, or inside the genital region. These blisters may appear days or weeks after your first exposure to the virus and last two to six weeks. 

You may notice tingling, itching, or burning as genital herpes blisters emerge. These sores become very painful, fill up with pus, and then eventually burst, dry out, and scab over. Though it may take a few weeks, most genital herpes scabs heal without any scarring. 

genital herpes or ingrown hair

Sores Disappear and Reappear

About 50% of people with genital herpes experience recurring symptoms after their first outbreak. These recurrences are known as outbreaks, and they last up to 10 days each. The herpes virus is highly contagious during this period.

It’s hard to predict how frequently genital herpes will recur, but there are steps you can take to prevent outbreaks through healthy eating, medication, and lifestyle choices. The good news is that recurrent outbreaks are often less painful, shorter, and easier to manage. Many people also experience a decrease in outbreak frequency after the first year of herpes simplex virus infection. 

Flu-like Symptoms

In addition to the physical presence of blisters and sores, genital herpes also causes flu-like symptoms, especially during your first outbreak. Common side effects include:

  • - Headache
  • - Fever
  • - Swollen lymph nodes

What Symptoms Are Common to Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hairs aren’t dangerous, but they can cause significant discomfort while they last. The issue of ingrown hair develops when a strand of hair grows underneath the skin instead of growing up through the skin. 

The body treats ingrown hairs like intruders and launches an attack on the rogue hairs under your skin. This inflammatory response causes a number of unpleasant ingrown hair symptoms. 

  • - Small, solid, rounded bumps
  • - Itchiness and soreness
  • - Swelling and tenderness

Unlike with genital herpes, ingrown hairs do not cause flu-like symptoms such as headache or fever. Instead, you may experience pain, itching, and discomfort as a strand of hair attempts to grow where it’s not welcome. 

What Can Cause Ingrown Pubic Hairs?

A few factors influence whether you develop ingrown pubic hairs. Tight, curly hair, for example, is more likely to become ingrown than other types of hair. Poor shaving technique may also cause ingrown pubic hairs, especially if you use a dull razor or pull your skin taut while you shave. Be sure to shave in the direction of hair growth and rinse the blade after each stroke for best results. 

When Do You Need to See a Doctor?

It’s important to see a doctor if you suspect you have genital herpes. Your doctor may collect a sample and test it for the herpes simplex virus and other STIs. Once your herpes diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor can help you select a medication or treatment best suited to minimize the impacts of genital herpes on your health and quality of life.

You may also want to see a doctor if your recurring genital herpes outbreaks are causing you intense pain and discomfort. Though herpes isn’t a dangerous condition that causes serious health problems, ongoing outbreaks may become a nuisance or cause embarrassment and pain. 

There are a number of measures you can take to best prevent future herpes outbreaks:

  • - Stay rested to support a strong immune system
  • - Eat nutritious foods to support your body’s innate healing response
  • - Manage stress
  • - Use Luminance RED

The Luminance RED genital herpes treatment device nourishes the skin with high-powered light, which is metabolized to accelerate the body’s healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Studies show that regular use of this treatment not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks, but it can prevent future outbreaks altogether! 

Whether you're experiencing herpes or an ingrown hair, there's no need to panic. Herpes is a very common virus and it's easy to treat with the right course of action. If you're still unsure whether you're dealing with herpes or ingrown hair, visit your doctor for a diagnosis and a treatment plan to help with either.

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