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5 Vagina-Friendly Cleansing Products That Gynecologists Donít Hate

Posted by careana on June 23rd, 2020

One report predicts that the “feminine hygiene” market — which includes sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners and shields, internal cleansers, sprays, and disposable razors — will grow to .7 billion by 2022.

As Dr. Kimberly Langdon, OB-GYN, medical advisor at Medzino, a digital health company based in California says, “It seems we’re in the midst of a massive wave of products for vaginas and vulvas.”

Your vagina doesn’t need special products, but your vulva might benefit
Marketing may use the two terms interchangeably, but the vagina and vulva are two separate parts of the body.

The vagina is the muscular canal inside the body that the menstrual flow — and babies, during childbirth — passes through. The vulva refers to the outer portions around the vagina which includes the inner and outer vaginal lips (labia), the clitoral hood, the clitoris, pubic mound, and the urethra.
“The vagina does not need to be washed because the vagina is a self-cleaning organ,” explains Dr. Renjie Chang, OB-GYN and founder of NeuEve, a women’s sexual health product startup. “A healthy vagina has an effective ecology of bacteria that help it maintain the right pH.”

That would be a pH value of 3.5 to 4.5, which is slightly acidic. At this pH, our vaginas can prevent “bad” bacteria from thriving, Chang explains.

Washing inside or douching the vagina can disrupt this natural balance, which can result in irritation, bacterial vaginosis, or a yeast infection. Further, Langdon says, “Douching actually increases the risk of pushing STIs upwards toward the fallopian tubes and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that can cause infertility.”

So, does the vulva need to be washed? Yes.

“Cleaning the vulva should be a part of your daily hygiene routine,” says Sherry Ross, MD, OB-GYN and women’s health expert in Santa Monica, California.

Warm water is all you need to adequately clean your vulva. However, there are products you can use if you really want to cleanse, moisturize, or freshen up between showers down there.

Anything you use on the vulva can easily enter the super-sensitive vagina, so what’s in the product matters. “It is important to minimize ingredients like scents which can cause dryness and alter the pH of the vagina, leading to irritation or infection,” says New York-based obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Kameelah Phillips. Besides, you don’t need to cover up the natural smell of your vagina with perfumes.

If you do invest in soap, wipes, or other products for your nether bits, go for something that’s as mild as possible. Ideally, it should be dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.

Here are 3 gynecologist-approved products you can try out:

1. Dove Sensitive Skin Bath Bars
In general, you want to use a product that’s the least toxic and least likely to contain potentially allergenic ingredients around the vulva and vagina, says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.

“I encourage my patients to use unscented soap like Dove bar soap, and to use the least amount of soap possible,” she says. It’s fragrance-free.

Cost: .99/6 bars, available on Amazon

Langdon recommends other fragrance-free, gentle soaps, too:

Aveeno Fragrance-Free Bar Soap
Basis Sensitive Skin Bar
Dial Basics
Neutrogena Liquid Cleanser
2. Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths
“I am all for feminine hygiene wipes and some companies do this better than others,” says Ross. “I am a big fan of Summer’s Eve as they tend to be formulated specifically not to disrupt the pH balance of the vagina.”

The wipes are also free from dyes and parabens, and gynecologist-tested.

When should you use these? According to Ross, when changing pads or tampons.

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“Wearing sanitary pads each day can bring unwanted bacteria to this very sensitive and delicate area. These wipes can be used to clean the blood from the vulva whether you are home or out on the go.” You might also use them after a workout to wipe away groin sweat.

Cost: .60/package, available on Amazon

Note: Summer’s Eve also has scented versions of this product, but the fragrance may be irritating to the delicate skin of the vulva. “There is nothing wrong with the natural scent of a healthy vagina or vulva,” says Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD. “If you’re experiencing a strong or unpleasant odor, you don’t want to cover that up. You want to actually address the issue.”

She suggests a visit to the gynecologist or your healthcare provider of choice.

3. Vagisil Sensitive Plus Moisturizing Wash
“Vagisil has a line of intimate washes specifically for the labia that are formulated with no ingredients to disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina,” says Ross. She suggests only using this to clean the labia.

It’s pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, as well as dermatologist- and gynecologist-tested. Keep in mind that this product does include a fragrance, which may be irritating to folks who are especially sensitive or prone to yeast infections.

Cost: .00/bottle, available on Amazon

Also See: Ob Gyn, Fragrance Free, Summers Eve, She Suggests, Vulva, Vagina, Says

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