V-Care Dos & Don'ts
Ever feel like trying something new with your intimate care routine but don’t know how to find information on it, or don’t feel comfortable asking your doctor? We’ve all been there, and that’s where the Google searching begins. We’ve compiled information on topics such as vaginal bleaching, douching, and yeast infection causes so you can make informed decisions on your intimate care.
Vaginal bleaching is the process of lightening the vulva skin by use of various methods such as laser treatment, chemical peels, or creams. Variations in color are normal and fluctuate with hormonal changes in the body, to various shades of pink and brown and tan. If you wonder where the idea comes from that the skin should look any different than its natural state, look no farther than porn: this process was only done for the adult entertainment industry until recently. The media impacts many things in our lives, with genital self-concept imaging being one.
It’s important to note first and foremost that although it’s called ‘vaginal bleaching’, the process doesn’t have anything to do with the vaginal canal and is only focused on the vulva.
Is Vaginal Bleaching Safe?
It is not recommended. The skin is vulnerable and it puts the vaginome itself at risk. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have stated that “These procedures are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented.” If you really feel strongly about trying it, you should consult with a professional. Trying a DIY method of vaginal bleaching could damage the skin around the vulva as it is very delicate. Instead of vaginal bleaching, consider looking at your beautiful unique vulva like a thumbprint: your unique kind of beauty.
Vaginal douching is the method of washing or cleaning the vaginal canal with water or other fluids. This doesn’t include rinsing off the outside of the vagina (vulva) in the shower. The intended purpose of vaginal douching is to help reduce odor, flush out menstrual blood, or just to freshen up. While it’s not actually proven to reduce odor (vaginal odor is normal), douching can actually negatively affect your vaginal health.
Is Douching Safe?
No, it isn’t. Most doctors do not condone douching for a variety of reasons. For one, the vagina is supposed to have bacteria in it, that’s what helps to maintain a healthy vaginal pH balance. Douching can promote the growth of harmful bacteria, effectively throwing off the balance which can lead to yeast infections. Douching has also been linked to pregnancy problems, STIs, and vaginal irritation and dryness. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so it’s best to let it do it’s thing! Keep the outside free of bacteria, cool and dry- as one health coach metaphorically explains, “the oven may be self-cleaning, but you still have to wipe the stovetop.” Our book The Invitation is a great resource to learn more about how to love and care for our bodies. If you’re looking for a safe, non drying external cleanser, try out Refresh Cleansing Wipes.
Vaginal steaming is the method of sitting over a bowl of steaming water oftentimes with herbs in it. The intended purpose of a v-steam is for the herbs to penetrate the skin and detox the vagina as well as offer health benefits such as reducing menstrual symptoms, boosting fertility, treating hemorrhoids, and even treating the aftereffects of childbirth. Despite what Gwyneth Paltrow has claimed, there is no scientific evidence to support these health benefits supposedly gained from vaginal steaming. Users report it to be relaxing, and the heat can bring more blood flow to the area. The vagina is also permeable and absorptive, so herbs theoretically can make it into the bloodstream, but in practice it’s highly unlikely. That said, it is a practice widely used in traditional women’s medicine worldwide, and we find it inappropriate to dismiss that completely as part of a western medicine bias.
Is Vaginal Steaming Safe?
There are two main health concerns that come with a v-steam -one being the steam itself. Steam is hotter than boiling water and as we all know the vaginal tissue is very delicate, so vaginal steaming puts you at risk of burning your vulva skin. The other main concern is the risk of getting a yeast infection or some other infection. Bacteria thrives in warm moist areas and with a v-steam you’re adding a ton of warm moisture to the vulvar. We’d say it’s safer to skip this treatment.
Underwear Best Practices
Speaking of yeast infection causes, did you know that your underwear can affect your vaginal flora (bacteria within the vaginome)?
- Underwear material: synthetic materials like nylon and spandex can trap in heat and moisture, which is the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow and cause a yeast infection. Natural fabrics like cotton are the most breathable fabrics for underwear.
- Tight isn’t always right: Wearing tight underwear while working out is a great idea in order to catch sweat, but tight underwear isn’t always the best option. In general, the vulva needs to be able to breathe, so wearing loose underwear or even going commando for longer periods of time such as sleeping, traveling, or going to school is going to be better for your vaginal health.
At Rosebud Woman, we’re all about promoting vaginal health with our v-care products and with a healthy lifestyle. Answer more of your questions with our FAQs or reach out to us directly by contacting us!