Read below about dry skin on the outside of the vagina, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your dry skin on the outside of the vagina from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina Symptoms

You've tried to ignore it, but that bothersome flake and itch just won't go away. It's become increasingly distracting, but you feel embarrassed and don't know where to turn. Dry skin in the vaginal area may not be dinnertime conversation, but it's a relatively common problem among women. Environmental irritants are often to blame, though there are many possible causes. Try not to worry about asking your doctor for help – these questions come with the job.

Some associated symptoms may include:

Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina Causes Overview

Though in a sensitive area, the skin around the vagina is much like skin in other parts of the body. For instance, it can be damaged by irritating chemicals or clothes. It is also vulnerable to skin conditions that may occur anywhere on the body. There are also some more unique causes for skin problems that may be more specific for the area around the vagina. Some of the more common causes are listed below, separated by category.

Irritating chemicals:

  • Wipes: Though wipes make some people feel extra clean, the chemicals they contain can be irritating. If you do choose to use wipes, be sure they are designed for sensitive areas and not for household cleaning.
  • Bleaching: Some women may choose to bleach the area around the vagina, and these chemicals can be extremely irritating.
  • Spermicide: These creams and foams act as a form of birth control by killing sperm as they enter the vagina, though they are also not so friendly to the skin outside the vagina.
  • Douching: While the cleansing feeling and perfumes can be tempting, douching often causes more problems than it's worth.
  • Lubricant: Some personal lubricants contain irritating chemicals, colors or scents.
  • Condoms: Standard condoms are made of latex, which can cause an allergy in some people. The good news is that there are alternative kinds.

Hair removal

  • Depilatories: Popular products like Nair remove hair without shaving or waxing, but they can cause skin irritation, especially if the directions are not followed precisely.
  • Shaving: This popular method of hair removal creates small nicks in the skin, which can lead to irritation or infection, especially if done with an old blade or without moisturizing.
  • Waxing: Though effective in removing hair for longer periods of time, waxing is painful, removes the skin's natural protective layer and causes irritation, especially it not done with the proper aftercare.

Infection

  • Skin infection: Sometimes bacteria can build up in our private areas, penetrate the skin and cause infection. The hair follicles and glands are particularly susceptible.
  • Sexually transmitted infections: Certain STIs like herpes or genital warts are particularly irritating to the skin.
  • Yeast infection: This uncomfortable infection is cause by a fungus that likes dark, warm and moist areas, including the skin folds around the vagina.

Skin conditions:

  • Allergy: Certain people may be allergic to detergents or fabrics that can be found in underwear. Eczema is also a type of allergic skin condition.
  • Autoimmune condition: Diagnoses like psoriasis have characteristic skin findings that usually affect other parts of the body but can sometimes affect the area around the vagina.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina

Updated on Aug. 29, 2018

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced dry skin on the outside of the vagina. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Irritant Contact Dermatitis of the Vagina

    Contact irritant dermatitis of the vagina occurs when there is an irritant of some sort that causes damage to the skin. The irritation is often caused by friction or chemicals.

    Will resolve when irritant is removed.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, vaginal discharge, urinary changes
    Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis of the vagina:
    vaginal itch or burning
    Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis of the vagina:
    urinary changes, vaginal discharge
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Lichen Sclerosus

    Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause. It's most commonly on the genital region and occurring in women who are post menopausal.

    Can be lifelong; however, symptoms will come-and-go with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vaginal pain, painful sex, dry skin on the outside of the vagina, painful urination
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having dry skin on the outside of the vagina.

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  3. 3.Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

    Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to be dry, itchy, red, and irritated.

    This is a long-term, recurring condition but symptoms are manageable with care.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, feeling itchy or tingling all over, dry skin, scalp itchiness, flexor surface rash
    Symptoms that never occur with eczema (atopic dermatitis):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  4. 4.Atrophic Vaginitis

    Atrophic vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina and surrounding structures. It is caused by decreased levels of estrogen which causes the endometrial and vaginal lining to thin and vaginal pH to increase, causing symptoms like dryness, burning, and itching.

    Treatment will effectively manage symptoms.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal itch or burning, signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Symptoms that always occur with atrophic vaginitis:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Symptoms of Menopause

    Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.

    Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping
    Symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause:
    delay in or irregular periods
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina Treatments and Relief

When it comes to the skin outside your vagina, prevention is a big part of keeping the area healthy. Good hygiene and keeping the area from being irritated are very important. Fortunately, there are several over-the-counter remedies that might help. For more serious or persistent issues, a visit to the gynecologist is recommended.

Prevention

  • Avoid irritating chemicals : Leave the Nair™ on the shelf and resist the urge to douche the vaginal area.
  • Try a new detergent: Certain chemicals in laundry soap irritate sensitive areas, so it can't hurt to make a swap if you're experiencing discomfort.
  • Wear well-fitting, cotton underwear: Synthetic fabrics aren't breathable and may cause problems, especially if too tight or too loose.
  • Change condoms or lubricant : If these items are a normal part of your routine, certain varieties can contact irritating ingredients.

At-home treatments

  • Hold off on shaving or waxing: If you're experiencing irritation down there, don't add to the problem by prioritizing grooming over your health.
  • Moisturize: Choose an over-the-counter cream or lotion that is free of colors and perfumes that may be irritating. Try to moisturize at least twice per day.
  • Personal lubricant: Since some can be irritating, choose a brand that has worked for you in the past, if possible.

Professional treatments

  • Pelvic examination: A gynecologist can examine the area with special lights and tools to better determine what might be causing your problem.
  • Prescription creams and lotions : These medications can target your specific symptoms as determined by your doctor.
  • Biopsy: Your doctor may take a small sample of your skin and send it to a laboratory for further examination under a microscope.

Seek help without delay if you have:

  • High fever
  • Quickly spreading redness or swelling
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Severe pain, especially if it radiates to your belly or back

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina

  • Q.Are you sexually active?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.Have you ever had a yeast infection?
  • Q.When was your last menstrual period?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our dry skin on the outside of the vagina symptom checker to find out more.

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Dry Skin on the Outside of the Vagina Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced dry skin on the outside of the vagina have also experienced:

    • 45% Vaginal Itch or Burning
    • 7% Vaginal Discharge
    • 4% Dry Skin
  • People who have experienced dry skin on the outside of the vagina were most often matched with:

    • 50% Lichen Sclerosus
    • 33% Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
    • 16% Irritant Contact Dermatitis of the Vagina
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having dry skin on the outside of the vagina

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