Douches, wipes, soaps, deodorants, powders, and intimate washes, all products sold as vital to maintaining ‘good’ intimate hygiene, and keeping your intimate area ‘fresh’. But are intimate washes necessary, and are they safe?
How does the vagina work?
The vagina is amazing, and is the only part of the body that is self-cleaning. It’s completely normal to produce some discharge, which should be white or clear. This is how your vagina cleans itself. It also has an extremely delicate balance of good bacteria. These good bacteria work hard to keep your vagina healthy, and free from nasty conditions like thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV). The pH is quite low too, much lower than your skin, and most other products. The healthy range is pH 3.3-4.7.
What not to do
Using washes or douches anywhere near the vagina can upset this very delicate balance, and actually cause issues like thrush and BV. It may feel counter-intuitive, as the excess, often smelly discharge you produce when you have either of these conditions can make you want to wash more to get rid of the smell. But washing or douching will only make it worse! It can also cause a drying of the delicate skin around the vagina and vulva, which can lead to tears, pain, and a higher risk of infection. If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms such as increased discharge, strong odours or irregular bleeding, always visit your GP to get it checked out.
Keeping your vagina healthy
So how do you keep yourself clean and fresh? Gynaecologists recommend just leaving your vagina alone to do its thing. Washing the vulva with water should be plenty to rinse away the day, but be careful if you’re using shower gels or soaps- if you do use them externally around the groin and vulva, make sure they are very gentle such as an emollient, and don’t go anywhere near your vagina.
What if I’m experiencing vaginal dryness?
Of course, lots of women experience vaginal dryness, so what then? Washing can make it worse, but using a pH friendly, gentle lubricant will help. Sylk’s female-friendly formula, free from hormones, parabens, and nasty chemicals is designed with women in mind, and won’t upset your natural balance. Keeping your vagina healthy and well lubricated will help it take care of itself.