Feminine washes and intimate care creams have become increasingly popular, but what exactly is a feminine wash, and what should you look for when choosing one?
What is a feminine wash?
A feminine wash, sometimes called an intimate cleanser, vaginal wash, or vaginal wipe, is a specially formulated cleanser for cleaning the external intimate area surrounding the opening to the vagina – which is called the vulva, and the perineum (the space between your vagina and back passage). Although a lot of people still refer to that area as the vagina, anatomically speaking, the vagina is the internal passage that leads to the cervix. The vulval area contains the urethra, vaginal opening, and the labia.
Specialty, natural washes are made using natural ingredients that are free from harsh chemicals and are designed to preserve the delicate pH balance of the skin.
How and when do I use an intimate wash?
Intimate washes and wipes can be used to gently clean from the front, right to the back. You can incorporate an intimate wash into your daily shower routine, after exercise, or before that special date.
- Use in the shower instead of your regular soap - which may be too harsh for your sensitive areas.
- Apply a small amount to the external area using your hands, a sponge, or a facecloth.
- Rinse well with water.
There’s no need to clean the inside of your vagina because it’s self-cleaning. Inserting any cleaners into your vagina can upset the delicate balance and can actually lead to an overgrowth of the wrong kind of microflora – which is where an Intimate Care cream may be handy.
Kolorex Vagina Care Cream used externally can support the balance of healthy microflora, including yeasts. This cream contains an extract from the herb Horopito, which is a native New Zealand plant, and Aloe vera to support the comfort of the vulva.
Can I use an intimate wash during periods?
Yes! You can use an intimate wash for women during your period. In fact, the Organicup Organiwash is a natural, fragrance free, all in one cleanser that can be used on your face, body, and to clean your Menstrual Cups.
The vulva can become dry and sensitive at that time of the month due to hormones and this can be exacerbated by the use of conventional pads and tampons. For some this can lead to an overgrowth of undesirable bacteria during their period.
A cleanser like Kolorex Vaginal Care Wash is soap free, and it contains special ingredients like Horopito, Tea tree, and Aloe vera, that support both the pH balance of the skin and a healthy microflora. Kolorex cleanses and freshens whilst supporting the integrity of the skin’s natural barrier.
What about douching?
Using products inside the vagina is known as douching. This usually involves some sort of handheld pump which pushes a liquid solution up into the vaginal canal. Experts strongly recommend that women avoid douching. Douching disrupts the delicate balance of the vagina, by flushing away the good bacteria, leaving you more vulnerable to an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria, yeast, and discomfort.
What does the vaginal microflora do?
Your vagina’s healthy pH range is anywhere from about 3.8 to 4.5. The microflora includes good bacteria that work to keep that pH in balance all the time.
The vulva has what’s known as the acid mantle, a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin. This acts as a barrier to undesirable bacteria and yeasts attaching themselves to the skin. It’s important to maintain the skin’s acid mantle, especially in intimate areas to help keep microflora in balance. The pH of the skin’s acid mantle varies on each part of the body. For topical feminine wash products, look for a product that is formulated to be mildly acidic – around pH 4.5.
What does a healthy vagina and vulva smell like?
As mentioned earlier, the vagina does a very good job at cleaning itself. Every day, glands inside the vagina and cervix produce a special fluid that naturally cleanses the vagina – you may have noticed this discharge on your underwear. Over the course of your menstrual cycle, this fluid will change in colour, amount, and consistency in response to hormones produced by your ovaries. This fluid has a mild scent that is not unpleasant.
There are a high number of sweat glands around the opening of the vagina on the labia – these produce sweat, which can in turn cause an odour. Wearing breathable underwear made from natural fibres and using plastic free period products can lead to less sweating.
If you notice a clumpy discharge alongside discomfort, the balance of your microflora might need some support. If you notice an unpleasant fishy smell that won’t go away, then book into see your GP for a check-up.
What should I look out for when choosing a feminine wash?
There are a few products on the market, choose one that has been formulated with vaginal health in mind. Products designed to ‘deodorise’ will likely contain ingredients that could potentially cause an imbalance.
- It is important to avoid using any perfume, additives, or strange chemicals that may upset the natural pH balance.
- Choose soap free formulations to ensure comfort.
- Be sure to check the labels on any feminine wash products you buy.
- Ditch any scented soaps, shower gels, and wipes.
- Follow the instructions, and don’t use products that suggest internal use.
- If you’re unsure about a product, consult your healthcare professional.
At HealthPost we have natural Feminine Washes and creams to support a healthy and balanced vagina and vulva. You can feel confident that these cleansers and creams are natural and don’t contain ingredients likely to cause irritation or lead to an imbalance in the vaginal microflora.