Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"How do whiteheads and herpes differ?"
How do you tell the difference between herpes bumps and normal whiteheads? I know that I have had whiteheads on my genitals before, but now I'm sure I was exposed to herpes and I'm trying to figure out about the bumps on my penis. What does a herpes bump look like? Does it have a head?
Whiteheads are caused when skin debris clogs a pore, allowing skin oils, bacteria, and white blood cells to build up. This leads to a bump on the skin with a white tip which may or may not be painful depending on how inflamed it is. Herpes lesions on the genitals, which are caused by the herpes virus, look different.
See a doctor who can help
Find a Primary care-doctors near you
They should appear as round spots with initially fluid filled blisters on a red base. Once the blister ruptures they will look a bit like little ulcers which should be quite distinct from the way whiteheads appear. They can be quite painful or even have a burning sensation. If you suspect you have herpes you should avoid sexual contact while you have unhealed lesions and you should talk to your doctor about whether medications should be taken. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is advised.
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.