CUH Logo

Mobile menu open

Care of the vulval skin

Patient information A-Z

The skin of your vulva has become inflamed and may therefore be itchy and sore. There may be a specific disorder or infection which has caused this, and if so, this will need specific treatment. Sometimes even after a vulval disease is treated, the skin does not return to normal for a prolonged period of time due to the following cycle of events:

  1. Mild inflammation
  2. Itching
  3. Rubbing or scratching
  4. Damage to skin surface
  5. Skin tries to heal

Whatever the underlying problem causing vulval disease, you will be able to do quite a lot of things to improve the skin and make it feel more comfortable.

Try and follow these rules:


  • Wear only cotton underwear, loose if possible.
  • Avoid tights. Avoid tight trousers or leggings. These can rub the skin and also prevent air getting to the skin.
  • Whenever convenient, wear no pants under a skirt or dress

Personal washing

  • Wash skin twice daily (if skin is moist or sweaty, wash three or four times daily).
  • Use plain, warm or tepid water with a washing cream such as aqueous cream, emulsifying ointment or Dermol 500. Apply the cream or ointment gently with your fingers or a baby sponge. Rinse off with plain water.
  • Dry gently without rubbing by dabbing with a soft towel or using a cool hairdryer. After drying, apply a moisturising cream or ointment. Aqueous cream or Dermol 500 are not recommended, but other moisturisers can be used. Do not use any perfumed preparations, ‘feminine hygiene’ products, bubble bath, bath oil, etc.

Clothes washing

  • Do not use biological detergents or fabric conditioner. Make sure that all detergent is rinsed out.

Further information

Privacy and dignity

We are committed to treating all patients with privacy and dignity in a safe, clean and comfortable environment.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151