You can’t care for your lady bits the way you do your face — you’re not supposed to cleanse, scrub, tone or even moisturise your vagina.
Want to keep it in optimal health? For a start, avoid making the mistakes below.
In fact, very often, the best way to care for it is to leave the self-cleaning organ alone, and unless advised by a doctor, you should keep it away from any sort of feminine hygiene products.
1. Don't douche
Douching can screw with the natural cleaning cycle of your vagina and cause irritation or even infections.
You may think you’re getting everything squeaky clean by introducing water into your vagina but you’re actually upsetting the pH balance of its delicate ecosystem and damaging the good bacteria in there.
So, try to interfere with nature as little as possible and leave it alone.
2. Don't exfoliate
Put away those micro-exfoliating beads!
They don’t really belong on your face and they definitely do not belong anywhere near your nether regions.
Not only are those scrubbers full of harsh detergents that could strip your vagina of its natural pH, they’re also just too scratchy for the delicate skin down there.
3. Don't shave the area bare
It’s a common misconception that having pubic hair is unhygienic. In fact, it’s the total opposite.
Pubic hair actually keeps your vagina cleaner as it acts as the last line of defence to ward off against infections and germs.
So next time you’re thinking of stripping it all away – don’t.
4. Don't use scent soaps
Shower gels and any type of scented body washes are way more likely to irritate the skin of your vagina. So steer clear!
If you do need a refresh down there after a sweaty gym class, for example, just wash with some plain water and if you really need to, some simple and unscented glycerine soap.
5. Don't steam
Despite what Gwyneth Paltrow has said about steaming your vagina to clean it out and detox your uterus, experts don’t condone it.
“Steam isn’t going into your vagina, and if steam could get in there, it would be harmful,” says Dr Jennifer Gunther, and OB-GYN.
“Your uterus doesn’t need to be cleaned.”
6. Don't have overly vigorous sex
Your genitals are sensitive organs that need to be treated with the utmost care and gentleness so while it’s perfectly normal that you would want to clean the area after sex, don’t be too vigorous as your vagina is self-cleaning anyway.
Just wash the area outside (the vulva) and leave the actual inside (the vagina) alone.
7. Don't wear thongs round the clock
Thongs not only keep it tight, but are also often made with non-breathable materials, so they often trap heat and moisture, providing an ideal breeding environment for organisms.
Unless absolutely necessary, you should try to wear cotton panties as much as you can.
8. Don't eat certain veggies
A balanced, nutritious diet not only benefits your overall health, but also your vaginal and reproductive health.
That doesn’t mean all veggies are good for you, though: here are some that are bad for your vagina.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.