Vagina Skincare for "Down There"
In my household, the word “vagina” is a forbidden word that we’re not supposed to say. Luckily for me, my parents don’t read everything I write online. Seriously, I call BS on not saying the word vagina. I say, normalize female body parts. It’s not sexual, it’s educational. And that kind of framing makes a huge difference in how we choose to perceive women in society. Now that I got my whole spiel out of the way, we’re going to talk about vagina skincare, and how to keep your parts clean and clear.
- Never put products inside your vagina
- Only use water or mild, fragrance-free products on the vulva
- Shaving around the pubic area requires before and after prep
Why do we need to care for the skin down there?
Our privates need a little TLC. Really! Think about all of the stuff we put our parts through. We sweat, we move, we wear non-breathable clothing, we (may) shave, and we, you know, *cough* do ~other activities~. And I don’t know about you, but bumps and itchiness are no strangers to me.
Investing in basic hygiene can do wonders for alleviating irritation and preventing vaginal infections. And don’t worry, I’m not going to recommend a 20-step, hundred-dollar vagina skincare routine.
Never put any products inside your body
When it comes to vagina skincare, you actually don’t want to put any products inside your vagina. For the love of God, just don’t do it. There was this whole vaginal douching movement like a decade ago, and wow, that was a bad idea. No matter what brands try to tell you your vagina doesn’t need internal cleaning. Repeat after me: vaginas aren’t dirty.
The best thing about our private area is that it cleans itself. Your vagina maintains an acidic environment to keep the good bacteria (Lactobacilli) alive (3). Douching or any cleaning product you put in your vagina will throw off your pH. This can result in infections such as bacterial vaginosis (3).
If we really think about it, vagina skincare is kind of a misnomer since you mainly want to be treating the vulva a.k.a the outer parts. However, I do want to note that there’s a lot of advertising for feminine washes (for the vulva) that promise to help with your vagina’s pH and any odors. The problem with this statement is that your inside and outside pH’s are completely unrelated (3). If you have an abnormal, funky odor, it’s because your internal pH is out of whack and you should consult a healthcare professional. No amount of washing will fix that (3).
Fragrance-free is the name of the game
Most medical sources recommend simply washing your vulva and labia with water (1). However, mild soaps are also acceptable as long as they are free from dyes and fragrances. Fragrance isn’t just bad for the skin on your face. Fragrance can seriously irritate your vulva and put you at risk for a yeast infection (1).
Other healthy practices
Do you ever need to take a breather? Your private parts feel the same way. Wear 100% cotton underwear (no synthetic materials) or just let your bottom half be free. Also, be careful not to wash your underwear with fabric softeners (3).
So general cleaning sounds pretty simple, right? Maybe add a little baby oil or pubic hair oil afterward to keep the hair soft and there you go. However, I know that some of us do choose to shave around the area, which can often leave our skin irritated and with ingrown hairs. If shaving is listed in your vagina skincare routine, you need to take extra steps to keep your skin bump-free.
Here’s some advice that I got from a viral Reddit post (2). It received a lot of appreciation and thanks from Reddit users. Furthermore, each step has articles online to support it. I would suggest going about this shaving routine after a shower, so your skin is clean.
You’ll find that exfoliation is the answer to most skin concerns. Use a washcloth or body scrub to lightly exfoliate the area (4).
2. Prep the skin with some oil
This step is to soften the hair before you shave. I’m a huge fan of fur oil. It’s a little pricey, but it leaves my pubes soft and keeps skin irritation at bay.
3. Invest in men’s razors and shaving cream
Why men’s razors? They tend to be sharper, which offers a closer, cleaner shave. The Redditor recommends a four-blade razor. I’ve also been seeing a lot of suggestions for using safety razors as well. Nevertheless, don’t skimp on the shaving cream or gel. They give enough moisture and slip to prevent the razor from irritating your skin (4).
4. Dab the area with rubbing alcohol
The logic is that it kills the bacteria and closes your pores (2). When I first read this step, I was super skeptical about it. But apparently, men also do this to prevent ingrown hairs on their face (5).
More specifically, the Reddit user recommends an unscented Dove deodorant. I’ve never heard of using deodorant on my bikini line either. But it turns out, it’s actually not uncommon at all! Go for an unscented deodorant that isn’t overly drying (6). The Redditor recommends Dove (2).
Note: this isn’t an “official” step, but I would probably put on unscented body lotion or oil afterward, so your skin doesn’t get too dry.
Written by Jessica Lu