An Overview of Vaginal Skin Peeling and How to Treat It

Are you currently experiencing irritation, itchiness, or vaginal skin peeling? If so, it is important that you know these symptoms are all common and normal. There are many potential causes of vaginal skin peeling, but the condition can be treated as soon as its cause is determined.

Read more about how to diagnose and treat peeling skin in the vagina.

Vaginal discomfort from severe fungous infection.

Barabasa / Getty Images 

What Can Cause Vaginal Skin Peeling?

Multiple conditions may lead to vulvitis (inflammation of the vulva) or vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina). Six potential causes of vaginal skin peeling include:

Yeast Infection

Most women will experience at least one yeast infection during their life. Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida. It’s considered an opportunistic infection, meaning Candida is a normal part of your vaginal flora, but under the right conditions, it will overgrow, causing an infection.

Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning during urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Rash
  • Whitish-gray, clumpy, cottage cheese-like discharge

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a rash that develops after contact with a substance. Common irritants or allergens that may cause a vaginal rash include:

  • Soap
  • Fragrances
  • Laundry detergent
  • Lubricants
  • Latex

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • Red rash
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Peeling
  • Swelling
  • Hives

Usually, symptoms will resolve within a few days to a couple of weeks after removing the irritant.

Eczema

Eczema—also called atopic dermatitis—is an inflammatory skin condition. It usually first appears in childhood, and symptoms can come and go. Flare-ups often appear on the arms and behind the knees, however symptoms can show up anywhere on the body.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Red rash
  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Flaking
  • Bumps
  • Fissures
  • Peeling skin

Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is caused when too much of one type of bacteria grows in the vagina. Activities that change the pH balance in and around the vagina increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. These activities include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Using fragranced soaps or bath bombs
  • Frequent douching

Though many people experience no symptoms with bacterial vaginosis, symptoms—if you have them—may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odor
  • Itching
  • Irritation

Herpes

Herpes is a viral infection and is considered a sexually transmitted disease. Once you get herpes, the virus remains in your body, and symptoms will come and go. It’s more likely to spread during a flare-up when active symptoms are present.

Symptoms of herpes include:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Sores
  • Ulcers
  • Scabs

Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a rare condition that primarily develops in postmenopausal women or young girls who haven’t started menstruating. The cause of lichen sclerosus is poorly understood.

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Thin, white patches of skin around the genital area
  • Itching
  • Discomfort
  • Skin tears

Diagnosing Vaginal Skin Peeling and Other Symptoms

Many skin conditions causing vaginal skin peeling have similar symptoms, making it challenging to self-diagnose. Making an appointment with your healthcare provider helps you get an accurate diagnosis for the cause of skin peeling and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Your healthcare provider may be able to diagnose your skin condition just by examining the affected area. They may recommend blood testing or taking a sample of the area for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you have flaky, itchy, peeling skin in your vaginal area, talk with your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis. Some conditions require prescription medications to treat.

Treatments your doctor may prescribe include:

  • Antifungal treatment
  • Antibiotics
  • Antivirals
  • Oral corticosteroids

Ways to Treat Vaginal Skin Peeling at Home

It’s important to treat the cause of your skin condition to get rid of symptoms. At-home treatments that may help ease the symptoms of vaginal peeling include:

  • Using over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments (for a yeast infection)
  • Using anti-itch creams like corticosteroid ointments
  • Applying ice or a cold compress to ease irritation and itching
  • Changing out of wet clothing quickly
  • Wearing breathable clothing
  • Using gentle, fragrance-free soaps

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prevent vaginal skin peeling?

You can prevent vaginal skin peeling by avoiding irritating soaps, fragranced products, hot baths, and showers. Also avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing. Changing out of wet clothing as soon as possible, wearing breathable materials, and staying hydrated may help prevent skin peeling, as well.

How long will it take to heal vaginal skin peeling?

With treatment, most skin conditions will heal within one to two weeks. However, if your symptoms continue, contact your healthcare provider.

Will vaginal skin peeling go away on its own?

Depending on the cause of vaginal skin peeling, the symptoms could go away on their own. You can relieve some of the discomforts with topical corticosteroids. If your symptoms continue longer than one to two weeks, contact your healthcare provider.

A Word From Verywell

Multiple conditions may cause vaginal skin peeling, such as yeast or bacterial infections, sexually transmitted infections, eczema, lichen sclerosus, and allergies. You can help prevent skin peeling by wearing breathable clothing and avoiding irritating products. If your symptoms continue and you’re unsure of the cause, contact your healthcare provider. 

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Article Sources
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