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Is it a Pimple, an Infected Hair, or Herpes? - How to Tell the Difference

By Edited Apr 23, 2014 1 4

It is a confusing time when bumps start appearing on your nether-regions or face. Is it just a few simple pimples? Did the hairs become ingrown or infected from shaving? Could it be herpes? How can you tell the difference? This can lead to an extensive amount of googling to try and figure out, but instead of searching high and low here is some information to try and help work it out.

These three kinds of bumps can look strikingly similar to each other, but mean vastly different things. Pimples and ingrown or infected hairs are easily treatable, but herpes can be much more serious and infinitely more difficult to treat. However, by matching the symptoms and looks below, you can fairly accurately  deduce if you can treat it at home or need to go get more specialized tests done by a doctor.

herpes ingrown hair or pimple

Pimples Versus Ingrown Hairs

A pimple is the swelling of the skin caused by the blockage of a pore. This blockage is caused by dirt and oil from the skin and often this becomes filled with pus. Most people who has ever been a teenager can usually work out if their particular bump is a pimple or not.

Ingrown hairs are a likewise swelling, but this time it is caused by a cut hair digging into the skin. The skin can become infected by bacteria and can again become filled with pus.

Telling an ingrown hair apart from a pimple can be difficult by sight at time. However, if you run a sharp razor against the grain of the hair and over the lesion, it should dislodge the ingrown hair. If the swelling does not go down, you are dealing with a pimple or a infected hair follicle called folliculitis. Both pimples and folliculitis can be treated by the same thing--Clearasil. Clearasil is just a general recommendation, many have an acne cream that works best for them, so head out and get some. Acne cream has antibacterial properties that will help both things heal.

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Ingrown Hairs or Infected Hair Follicles Versus Herpes

While pimples and ingrown hairs are simple enough to fix that you really do not need to know which one it is, knowing the difference between herpes and something else can save a lot of people a lot of grief. For one, herpes is contagious whereas pimples and ingrown hairs are not. You do not want to risk exposure to someone else just because you want to ignore the problem.

Herpes can also spread to other parts of the skin by touch alone. So you do not want to treat herpes like it is an pimple or ingrown hair and have it spread elsewhere on your body.

The precursors to herpes sores are:

Itching before the red bumps appear
The area will begin to tingle within the next day
The area will become sore and achy after the tingling passes, this is when the actual sores will appear.

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Herpes can be appear in clusters of bumps, making them easy to confuse as acne. However, if you leave them untreated, they will become weeping ulcers. If you have weeping wounds that look like a popped blister on your genitals or around the area of your lips, it is time to go to the doctor as that is the only way to be sure.

While herpes cannot be cured, the outbreaks can be controlled with medication. Consult your doctor to find a medication that is best fit for you. Also, inform your current partner or any partner you may have had contact with after you think you have contracted it.

Don't be the person that infects another person just because you do not want to ruin a relationship or feel embarrassed. Do the right thing.



Jan 28, 2013 4:32pm
Oh, this is sooooo nasty! Someone else wrote an icky thing about boils once, equally ugly. I'm giving you a thumb's up, but I HOPE I don't see this on the front page (it's enough to put me off my food!)
Jan 28, 2013 5:34pm
Hah! I know! I found the keyword looking through my google analytics, and that sparked the articles. I didn't even both submitting them to features as no one needs to see that unless they go searching for it.
Jan 28, 2013 7:48pm
You certainly have EVERY right to submit them, but coudja throw in a picture of a bunny or Sofia Vergara or something in the article so admin has a "nice" image to put out for the front page? Medical stuff is always good front page material (I was being facetious about not wanting it on the front page).
Feb 22, 2013 9:41am
Eww, Thanks for the info.
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