So amazing that they even have their own eco-system - kind of like the rainforest, prone to constant humidity or dampness. An important part of having a healthy vulva and vagina means maintaining optimal pH balance of these amazing eco-systems.
First of all, let’s define what pH means. pH stands for potential hydrogen with the “p” meaning potential and the “h” standing for hydrogen and measures acidity vs. alkalinity in the skin, and water-based personal care products.
Our skin has a protective layer on its surface called the acid mantle made up of sebum (free fatty acids) from skin’s sebaceous or oil glands which mixes with lactic acid from good bacteria and amino acids from sweat to create the skin’s pH.
The ph balance for women refers to the pH of our vulva (external skin outside the vagina) and vagina (internal canal). A healthy vulva pH averages a 4.0 where the vagina pH is more acidic averaging a 3.5 versus facial skin at 5.5.
It’s important to make sure the vulva and vaginal pH is optimized to keep the bad bacteria in check, which cause all sorts of annoying issues like skin itchiness, yeast infections, abnormal odor drama (bacterial vaginosis), and more.
So many things can throw off vulva and vaginal pH, like sex, lube, periods, changes in diet, etc. It’s a lot to think about, we know. But here are 5 effective ways to prevent pH problems for healthy harmony down south.
1. Don’t use face/body washes or products on your vulva.
Chances are, your face and body products i.e. cleansers have a higher pH not ideal for the vulva. A higher pH throws off vulva balance and can cause dryness, itchiness, or increase the growth of bad bacteria. Also remember, no cleanser should be used inside the vagina. She’s already self-cleaning and needs no help!
2. Don’t use products with vulva villains (toxic ingredients)
While some Gynos advocate for femcare, many don’t. That’s likely because older, conventional drugstore products are made with synthetic fragrance, dyes, parabens, and other hormone disruptors that harm our skin and bodies. Look for feminine products free of these vulva villains. They might be more expensive, but they make a huge difference when it comes to being safe and effective.
3. Don’t wear just any underwear
It’s ok to wear lacy lingerie on romantic occasions, but ditch daily use of underwear that’s not made of cotton. Fabrics like lace, lycra, silk, satin are not breathable materials, and no one wants to feel “swampy” down there. Plus, that extra moisture is a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
4. Let her breathe
Speaking of swampy, it’s good to sleep without any underwear at night. We sweat a lot at night and our vaginas need to get some air to help maintain a healthy pH. Plus, sleeping sans underwear feels lovely and liberating!
5. Don’t ignore your Gyno
We get it. Talking to your Gynecologist isn’t always easy, especially if she’s more like a quiet librarian. But it’s important to choose a doctor that makes you feel comfortable so you can have important conversations about anything related to your lady parts – especially if something looks, feels or smells off. Do not wait! Your health (and maybe even your life) may be at risk!
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