Let’s be honest: Sweating is rarely a good look (or feeling). It’s stinky, uncomfortable and seems to occur at the most inopportune times (other than when you’re working out, obviously). Sure, we get that sweating is normal, and proof that our bodies are doing what they’re supposed to do. But when we start to sweat down there—in our vaginas and the surrounding area—sometimes that natural moisture can end up being a bit too much.
Thankfully, a new wave of intimate skin care products is set to change the way we care for our nether regions. Gone are the days of douching (please tell us you quit this years ago) and brands are now focusing on minimizing the sweat down there to help us feel fresh 24/7. Sounds almost too good to be true, but before we thank the beauty gods for looking out for us, there are a few things you should know.
First off, the same sweat glands that exist in the underarm area (apocrine sweat glands) also live in your vaginal area, but some special products can throw off your natural—and delicate—PH balance, ultimately causing significant discomfort. Clearly, those are ones you’ll want to avoid.
Sounds like a complicated science class, but to actually understand the pH levels in the intimate area, you can divide the female anatomy into two parts, says Dr. Gunvor Ekman Ordeberg, professor of Gynecology at Karolinska Institute. The external vulva area (outer labia, inner labia, vaginal opening) has a pH level of 5, which is the same pH as the rest of our skin, and inside the vagina itself, there’s a pH level of 3.5. This is a very acidic environment, making it difficult for bacteria to survive.
So what’s a girl to do when so many cool new intimate skin care items are on the rise, but you’re not sure which ones could improve your vaginal health or aggravate things?
“Make sure to use products with a pH level of 5 and that they are hypoallergenic,” says Ordeberg. “Do not use normal soaps or shower gels for the intimate area since they contain high pH levels. Alternatively, do not use a low pH level either—this is too acidic for the external parts. It;s also important to avoid products with alcohol because that dries out the sensitive skin in this area.”
Check out our list of new intimate skin care lines that will help you feel clean, comfortable, and fresh down there. And, of course, if any product you use causes irritation, cut that one from your roster immediately.