by dr. sarah de la torre, ob/gyn
You’ve probably heard from your gynecologist that your vagina is an amazing self-cleaning machine that does not need fancy creams, oils or elixirs—and for heaven's sake, you do NOT need to douche.
It’s true that your vagina is perfectly capable of taking care of itself, but you may want to give your vulva a little bit of attention. The tissue outside of your vagina is sensitive, and if you’d like to give it some extra TLC, you deserve to! Here's why intimate self care can help women feel their best.
Intimate self care can make you more resilient to common issues, such as:
- Chafing, dryness and irritation
- Decreased natural lubrication
- Wrinkles and discoloration
- Changes in climate and/or temperature
- Bacterial build-up from urine, sweat and bowel flora
- Shed skin cells, skin oils and moisture (called smegma)
As if all that weren't enough, consider the satisfaction you'll feel knowing that, despite the woefully dated social taboos and gender biases, you are making moves to improve your intimate wellness.
Now, that's an elevated sense of confidence every woman deserves.
Just as a hydrated face is brighter and a well-read mind is sharper, a healthy V gives you the kind of confidence that radiates into every other aspect of your life. Every woman is naturally beautiful just the way she is but sometimes we need a little extra to feel special and refreshed. So, consider giving your intimate health the same care and attention you afford the rest of your mind and body.
How to start an intimate self care routine
From vaginal steaming to charcoal vulva masks and insertable jade eggs—we now live in a wide world of self-care options for your lady parts.
So, where do you even begin?
This is THE most sensitive part of your body, and it's important to do your research.
Start by bringing a little mindfulness to your V.
- Pay attention- Notice how you feel down there throughout the day. Do you experience any discomfort? If so, when? You may want to keep a little notepad or V journal to jot down any days of the month where you regularly experience changes.
- Connect with your V- Spend some time getting to know the entire area surrounding your V, whether that's spending a Sunday morning in the buff or simply taking an extra minute to look at your V in the mirror before you get dressed.
- Find the products that work for you- Different parts have different needs. Now that you're in tune with what's happening in and around your vagina, start researching the products that will make your V feel its best.
As a general rule, you want to steer clear of mass market products as these can often include cheap or even harmful ingredients.
Instead, opt for quality products that are mostly natural (with some preservatives to keep the nasty bacteria away while on the shelf). A safe, V-friendly product will have a pH balance between 3.8 and 4.5.
Of course, always make sure you discuss any symptoms with your healthcare provider to ensure you get the treatment you need.
No matter what's going on with your V, trust that the time you spend caring for the most intimate part of your body is always time well-spent.