Herpes vs Ingrown Hair; Although both can be painful and annoying, an ingrown hair is not the same thing as a herpes sore.
The two conditions sometimes have similar symptoms, though, so it’s not always easy to tell what you have. If you’re not sure whether you have an ingrown hair or a herpes sore, see your doctor.
Ingrown Hair vs. Herpes Sore
An ingrown hair happens when a shaved or tweezed hair grows back into the skin. It can cause:
a small, round bump (papule) that’s red or pink
a swollen, tender area of skin that may drain pus
Herpes and cold sores are caused by a virus, while ingrown hairs are not. They’re both small, bump-like irritations, but they have very different causes and treatments.
Herpes is a viral infection that you can get through sexual contact with an infected person. It’s caused by one of two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Cold sores around the mouth are usually caused by HSV-1 and will appear as a cluster of red bumps on the edge of the lips. These will generally last between 10 to 14 days before going away on their own.
Ingrown hairs are caused when hair curls back on itself or grows sideways into the skin instead of coming out of the follicle in a straight line. This can happen if you shave, wax or pluck your hair, or if your hair is naturally curly or coarse.
Ingrown hairs may look similar to herpes or cold sores, but they’re not contagious because they aren’t viral infections like herpes is.
How do You know if its An Ingrown Hair Or Herpes?
An ingrown hair is a hair that curves back toward the skin and grows into it instead of outward. The condition can be bothersome and sometimes painful, but it is not serious. An ingrown hair will generally go away on its own, but it may need to be treated by a doctor.
Anyone can get an ingrown hair, but people with curly or coarse hair are more likely to develop them than others. They are most commonly found in areas where the skin is shaved or waxed, such as on the face, legs, or pubic area.
Symptoms usually appear when a person develops a red and tender bump that looks like a pimple around a hair shaft. Sometimes, a white head will form at the center of the bump.
Several factors can lead to ingrown hairs, including shaving or waxing too closely to the skin or having very curly or coarse hair, which makes it more likely to curve back into the skin after shaving. Ingrown hairs can also occur if there is dead skin blocking the pore where the hair follicle emerges from the skin.
It is possible for someone to have both an ingrown hair and herpes at the same time. However, because they have different causes and symptoms, it will usually be clear which
Ingrown hair is the result of the skin growing over a hair, trapping it underneath its surface. It usually happens when the hair falls out and then grows back into the skin. However, it can also happen if the hair follicle becomes clogged with dead skin cells or bacteria.
Ingrown hairs are most common in areas where you shave or wax, such as your armpits, bikini line, legs, face and chin.
Herpes is a virus that causes sores on your genitals and/or mouth. The virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact and can be spread even when someone doesn’t have a visible sore. Herpes is most contagious during an outbreak but can still be transmitted to others through skin contact.
As you can see from these pictures, ingrown hairs and herpes look nothing alike. In fact, it’s pretty easy to tell them apart if you know what to look for:
Ingrown hair products are designed to soften the skin and follicle. This allows the ingrown hair, which is often trapped under the skin, to grow out. If it is an ingrown hair, you should be able to see a hair growing out of a bump.
If it is herpes, the lesion will not go away within 1 week.
Herpes can look like a pimple, an ingrown hair or even just a red bump. These bumps may appear anywhere on your body and can take many forms, so they can be hard to recognize at first glance. Herpes bumps may turn into painful blisters that break open and ooze fluid.
The first and most common symptom of herpes is a cluster of blistery sores. The blisters may be painful and tender to the touch, but they eventually burst and turn into open sores that are scabbed over. The sores will usually appear on the outside of the vagina near the opening, but sometimes they’ll also appear on the cervix or in the vagina itself.
Herpes can be diagnosed with a blood test, but there are exceptions to this. First of all, you shouldn’t get tested for herpes until you’ve had an active outbreak and can show your doctor where it appears. If you get tested too early, your body might not have produced enough antibodies to accurately show up on a test. In addition, some people’s immune systems don’t react strongly to herpes, which might cause the results to come back negative even if you do have herpes.
Can Herpes be Just one Bump?
I have a small, pinkish bump on my leg that I noticed a couple days ago. I’m worried that it may be the herpes virus. Can herpes be just one bump?
Yes. Herpes is typically caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which comes in a variety of forms: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 generally affects the mouth area, while HSV-2 usually affects the genital area.
It’s also possible for HSV-1 to cause genital infections, or for HSV-2 to cause oral infections. You can also get both types of herpes on other parts of your body, like your legs. Some people don’t even realize when they get an infection, because symptoms are mild or don’t appear at all. Others have recurring symptoms that are painful and annoying.
Yes, it’s possible to have just one bump. Most people who get herpes outbreaks get multiple sores, but if you only get one at a time, then the first outbreak may be your only outbreak. Some people never get another outbreak after their first.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it can take up to 4 months for the virus to show itself in your body for the first time. So you might think you’ve only had one outbreak when you’ve actually had several that haven’t shown up yet. Second, even if you don’t get any more sores, that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t still active in your body. Herpes is present even during asymptomatic periods.
If you think you might have contracted herpes from someone and want to be tested, make sure to tell the clinician that you only had one sore so they know what tests to do and when to do them.
Herpes of the buttocks is called herpes gluteal. A single bump with no symptoms is unlikely to be herpes gluteus. Herpes gluteus should be suspected when several red bumps appear on one buttock or in the genital-buttock area, with flu like symptoms (fever, fatigue). If that happens, get it checked out by a dermatologist who can biopsy the bumps and culture them for herpes virus. In most cases, the virus is not detectable because it is dormant in nerve cells that are below the skin’s surface. The only way to know for sure is by a blood test that looks for antibodies to the herpes virus.