Women's Lubricants and Ingredients to Avoid
by Courtney Virden
Our skin is our largest organ, and any products we use on our body also get absorbed into it. This includes the products you use to keep things heated in the bedroom, so I recommend using non-toxic women's lubricants whenever possible. Reading labels is often confusing, and researching all the ingredients takes so much time and effort. Don't worry, I have you covered to save you the time.
Many natural lubricants won't destroy your vaginal health or break latex condoms. Throughout our lives, many of us need the help of a vaginal lubricant or vaginal moisturizer to remedy vaginal dryness and alleviate symptoms of vaginal dryness. Many women that experience painful intercourse (often from pelvic floor dysfunction) or have vaginal atrophy (thinning and drying of the vaginal walls) use lubricants. Some also use lubricants for solo play or with a partner for less friction.
Women use lubricants to often aid in having more enjoying sex, for decreased friction, and for some, decreasing chance of injury. In addition to lubricants, pelvic floor exercises help improve vaginal secretions and blood flow for many women, providing relief. For women, estrogen is often the culprit for vaginal dryness. Hormone levels might be off, causing dryness and causing you to need some help. Those looking for a vaginal dryness natural remedy can do pelvic floor therapy programs and use a natural lubricant to address the issues.
Women's Lubricant Ingredients to Avoid
Below, I broke it down into an easy reference list of ingredients I suggest avoiding, whether in personal lubrication or other beauty products.
- Petroleum: These often stay put longer than other lubes by coating your skin, which can lead to infections. They also damage condoms, and two widely known examples are baby oil and petroleum jelly.
- Parabens: This synthetic preservative is thought to act as an endocrine disruptor and can mimic the effects of estrogen. Therefore this can interfere with your natural hormones and potentially increase breast cancer risk.
- Glycerin: Glycerin is widely used in personal lubricants, and for some women, it can lead to candida (yeast infections) and urinary tract infections (UTIs), so if you are prone to those, you will want to steer clear. If you aren't, then this ingredient should be acceptable.
- Benzocaine: It is a numbing agent and is used in some lubricants. Women who find intercourse painful are more drawn to it. However, with fewer sensations, your body may not recognize signs to stop, leading to tissue microtears and significant problems. It can also cause allergic contact dermatitis (skin irritation).
- Propylene glycol: This ingredient is also in some brands of antifreeze and often causes tissue irritation.
- Chlorhexidine gluconate: This antibacterial agent can alter bacteria levels in our vagina and throw it off balance, leading to infections. Tissue irritation and inflammation are often a result of using this ingredient.
- Nonoxynol-9: This spermicide will kill the good bacteria in your vagina and thus lead to bacterial vaginosis (BV) for some.
Your Toxic Load
Use this list to help you buy personal lubricants and also for beauty products and your daily essentials. Our health is significantly impacted by what we put in and on our bodies. Look at purchasing clean products as an investment in your current and future health. I would rather invest my time and money in my health than not paying attention and doing more sick care then health care.
To understand toxic exposure and personal toxic load I recommend comparing it to a bucket. We all have a different size bucket (toxic load) our bodies can handle. As the bucket fills up it can lead to symptoms and disease. When the bucket overflows we are in trouble. Control what you can and try to keep your toxic exposure (your bucket) from filling up and overflowing.
Recommended Clean Personal Lubricants:
- Coconut oil
- Good Clean Love lube
- Lola, a water-based lubricant
- Aloe Cadabra lubricant
- Vmagic moisturizer
- Julva moisturizer
Vaginal Dryness and Personal Lubricants
There are water-based lubricants, oil-based lubricants (such as coconut oil), and silicone-based lubricants. When you use a latex condom, avoid oil-based lubricants, because oil will damage it and can cause it to break. possibly breaking it. Some women can get yeast infections from lubes containing glycerin and lubes containing flavors. If you are prone to yeast infections I would avoid those ingredients. Flavors in lubes often give women yeast infections who are not prone to them.
Vaginal dryness is a complex topic for many women and nothing to be embarrassed about, though many women are. If you have vaginal dryness or need a lubricant, now is the time to address it. Using treatments that are natural and safe is important for many women.
Addressing Vaginal Dryness
If you suspect your vaginal dryness is from medication, consult your health care practitioner. Also, many medications have alternatives that will not have that side effect. Women with chronic dryness and symptoms can speak with their doctor about other treatment options, including hormone therapy and vaginal estrogen. Dehydration also affects our vagina, so make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
In addition, a good pelvic floor exercise program and regular sexual stimulation can also help increase blood flow and natural secretions to the vagina. There are many solutions available that are natural to improve lubrication of the vaginal walls and for less friction during sexual activities. I always recommend going the most holistic route first and then exhausting the possibilities. That recommendation starts with clean women's lube and pelvic floor exercise videos.