vulvas + vaginas
So amazing that they even have their own special ecosystem. You see, your vagina is kind of like a rainforest; it’s prone to constant humidity or dampness. An essential part of having a well-functioning ecosystem (aka healthy vagina) means keeping your vulva and vaginal pH balance in check.
The vulva (female genitalia on the outside) and vagina (internal canal on the inside) are BFFs and the vulva’s main job is to protect the vagina from infection. But one or both areas can sometimes get out of whack causing some unpleasant changes. Don’t worry; we’ll explain what we mean.
what does pH balance for women mean?
First of all, let’s define what pH balance means. pH stands for potential (p) of hydrogen (H). pH measures how acidic or alkaline different things are and include everything from your skin to water-based beauty products.
Our skin has a protective layer on its surface called the acid mantle, which is made up of sebum (free fatty acids) from the skin’s sebaceous or oil glands. When these free fatty acids mix with lactic acid from good bacteria and amino acids from sweat, they create your skin’s pH. pH is measured on a scale ranging from 1 to 14, 1 being strongly acidic, 14 being strongly alkaline, and 7 being neutral.
For starters, pH balance affects women of all ages. The pH balance for women refers to the pH of our vulva (external skin outside the vagina) and vagina (internal canal). A “normal” vulva pH level is between 3.8 and 4.5, but can vary depending on your stage of womanhood. For instance, pH balance in the female body aged 18-49 should have a vaginal pH balance of less than 4.5, but a healthy vaginal pH right before menstruation and after menopause tends to be higher than that.
What Happens When Vulva & Vaginal pH Balance is Off?
Your feminine ecosystem works hard to maintain the perfect vulva and vaginal pH level to fend off unhealthy bacteria from wreaking havoc on your lady garden. But when your vulva and/or vaginal pH is thrown off by things like hormone changes, shaving, restrictive/synthetic underwear, unprotected sex, lube, antibiotics, periods, changes in diet, douching, or harsh feminine products, it can lead to all sorts of annoying issues, including vaginal and vulva dryness/discomfort, sensitized skin, burning during urination, yeast infections, abnormal odor drama (bacterial vaginosis), and more.
5 tips for harmony down south
1. DON’T USE FACE/BODY WASHES OR PRODUCTS ON YOUR VULVA!
Since different parts of the body have different pH levels, 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. Instead, opt in for a vulva-friendly probiotic wash free from irritating ingredients.
Lady Suite Beauty’s pH feminine wash is a refreshing probiotic cleanser specially formulated to cleanse and condition your delicate vulva area and combat unwanted odor, itch, and general discomfort without compromising your unique vulva or vaginal pH balance. BUT 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 probably because older, conventional drugstore products are made with synthetic fragrances, dyes, parabens, and other hormone disruptors that harm our skin, bodies, and otherwise healthy vaginas. Look for feminine products free of these vulva villains, like Lady Suite’s 3-Step Intimate Skin Care Routine. This down there self care kit is our tried and true solution for safely and effectively combating razor burn and ingrown hairs that will leave your lady garden smelling and feeling fresh with your vulva and vaginal pH balance undisturbed.
3. WEAR VULVA-APPROVED UNDIES
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, bacteria thrives in moist environments. Instead, opt in for some vulva-approved undies that let your lady parts breathe.
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 is quite 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 talk candidly about anything related to your lady parts – especially if something looks, feels, or smells...off. This could be a sign of something more serious that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
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