Herpes vs Ingrown Hair (Razor Bumps): How to Differentiate it

Although herpes vs ingrown hair (razor bumps) are both common and have similar symptoms, they also have difference between them. More than half of adult in UK have oral herpes and 1 in 8 people between the age of 14 to 49 have genital herpes.

As many people shave the area around their genital and other part of their body that herpes may affect, it can look difficult telling difference between herpes and ingrown hair. We are going to discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of both herpes and ingrown hair below.


Herpes is a common virus that a person get through contact with herpes sore which can occur during kissing someone with oral herpes and having sex with someone that have genital herpes.

The herpes virus live in the body forever and always reactivate itself occasionally causing a painful blister that tends to break open ooze.

Typically hair grows up and out of the hair follice, sometimes through the hair curl into the follice which makes it grow under the skin. The downward growth can irritate the skin and cause inflammation which lead to formation of red and painful blister called pseudo folliculitis barbae.

Although any one can develop ingrown hair, it’s most common in people that remove it especially by shaving.

Read Also: Do I Have Herpes or Hemorrhoids

While doctor always differentiate between oral herpes(HSV-1) and genital herpes(HSV-2). It’s always possible to spread oral herpes to genital herpes by having sex with the infected person.

A pregnant woman may also be a risk of transmitting an active infection to the baby during vaginal delivery, so it’s important for anyone who thinks the have herpes to seek proper diagnosis. According to center for disease control(CDC) there’s no cure for herpes.

However, antiviral treatment can decrease the severity and frequency of outbreaks. Odd bumps and blisters in your genital area may send red notice warning. Use details below to know the difference between the two common sores if you think you have one.


Herpes sore near your vagina or penis is caused by one of the herpes simple virus. Herpes simplex virus 1(HSV-1) of herpes simplex virus 2(HSV-2).HSV-1,known as oral herpes, can cause cold sores or fever blister.


  • Yellow discharge if the sore rupture
  • A cluster like watery sore or lesions
  • Fever
  • Sores possibly tender to touch.

Common possible sexually transmitted infection, including vaginal and oralsex. HSV-1 can also be spread through kissing. Some people who have herpes never show sign of the virus. It’s possible for the symptoms to remain in the infected person body without producing any symptom for years. However some people may experience frequent outbreak in the first year of contacting the virus.

You may likewise experience fever and a sick feelings during the primary infection phase. Symptoms will likely be milder in the future outbreak.

There’s no cure for herpes and no treatment to eliminate they sore once it’s appeared, instead when you are your doctor, the doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication to suppress herpes outbreak. This medicine may also shorten the duration or severity of any lesion outbreak you so experience.


An ingrown air is common cause of red, tender bumps in your genital area. Razor bump, an uncomfortable skin irritation which occur after shaving, cause small bump and blisters in the genital area.

As hair grow, it can usually pass through the skin, sometimes the hair is blocked or grow in an unusual direction.

It may have difficulty getting through your skin surface which causes an ingrown hair to develop.

Symptoms of an ingrown hair include

Differences Between Herpes vs Ingrown Hair

Waxing, shaving or plucking hair can increase your risks for developing ingrown hair in your genital area, but some hair just grow in an unusual Way which means ingrown hair can develop any time.

A blocked hair follice may develop into an infection. Ingrown hair develop white pus filled bumps on the surface. This infection can cause irritation and soreness.

Unlike genital herpes, ingrown hair typically develop isolated lesions or bumps, they don’t grow in cluster or group. You may have more than one ingrown hair at a time.

If you inspect an ingrown hair closely, you may see a shadow or thin line in the center of the sore, that’s often the hair causing the problem.

However, not every ingrown hair is visible from the outside, so don’t rule out the possibility of an ingrown hair just because you don’t see the shadow or line Ingrown hair typically go away on their own after two weeks, and the sore will clear up once the hair is remove or break through the skin.

You may get ingrown hair in the herpes location the HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses normally affect the lips and genitals as well as part of the body directly surrounding the genital.

Ingrown hair on the other hand can form anywhere on your body, if you’re recently noticing ingrown hair along your lips or skin and genital and also have them on your chest, legs or back, you could simply be susceptible to inflammable ingrown hair.

Do the sore comes back every few months? Instead they have trigger your hair growing back after waving or shaving. 


Another distinguishing feature between herpes vs ingrown hair is in the mean of treatment.

Ingrown hair are easy to treat and most time the heal on their own in few days. Stubborn in grown hairs can stick around for weeks, although you usually won’t experience any additional complication outside of pimple-like skin.

Herpes can’t be healed, it’s can only be prescribed with a combination of antiviral medication such as valacyclovir to treat the virus Anya pain relief medication for other symptoms.


An ingrown hair will likely disappear on it own within several days. Gently wash the area during showers to help remove dead skin cells and hair may be to push through the skin.

This will make the accompanying symptoms disappear too. Resist the temptation to squeeze the pustules, you may make the infection worse or cause scaring.

Likewise, genital warts may disappear on their own in a few days of weeks. Some experience frequent herpes outbreaks and other may have a few every year.


Sometimes common bumps can be difficult to distinguish, even by trained medical professionals, which may use one more medical test to make a diagnosis.

A bloody test can determine if you have HSV. Your doctor do a full test on STI-screening to rule out the other possible causes.

If these result is negative, your doctor may look for other possible explanation which include ingrown hair, cysts, blocked oil glands.

In conclusion, herpes vs ingrown hair may look very similar but there are certainly some distinguishing features.

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