Does Your Vagina Need a Spa Day?

Originally Published on Dec 2020 Health | By Jennifer Hussein

Ever since quarantine caused us to spend nearly a year indoors, many of us took a deep dive into the realm of DIY beauty treatments and came out as self-taught lash technicians, facialists, and manicurists. But while you’re learning how to cut your own hair and create intricate gel nail-polish designs, there might be one part of your body that’s been neglected: your vagina, or more particularly, your vulvar area (aka everything outside of the actual vaginal canal).

I know, we’ve all heard it before: You shouldn’t use harsh soaps and skin-care products on your vagina or vulvar area. Though that may be true, that doesn’t mean that your entire nether region is a complete no-go zone.

“I just really believe that the time is now that we have clean, healthy, and effective beauty regimens for the vulva and vagina,” says celebrity gynecologist and author Dr. Sherry Ross. “We’re talking about it, we’re now going to start taking care of our lady parts in a way that’s going to prevent a lot of visits to the gynecologist.”

According to Dr. Ross, the first step to manifesting your best vulvar energy is to actually talk and educate yourself about caring for this delicate part of your body.

“Women are very skeptical and, frankly, confused about so much of the vagina,” she says. “I think the last three years, and certainly when my first book came out, She-ology, I couldn’t get anyone to really say vagina, and now we’re really not only saying it, but we’re really talking about caring for it.”

For starters, Dr. Ross wants to make something very clear: The vagina and the vulvar area, although both part of your genitalia, are two completely different parts. This means that caring for these different areas should be thought of as entirely separate.

“I think the confusion is that, for starters, we are talking about the vulva, which is the outer part of the vagina and the entrance to the vagina,” Dr. Ross explains. “What do we do about the inside? Do we really need to think about the inside of the vagina, versus if we use the term vagina for everything, it’s even more confusing. I like that we separate the term because, just like our face and this area of the body, between the urine and the sweat and being this close to the anus, there’s a lot of dirty bacteria. I think educating people is the first step and making it less of a confusing topic because we know the vagina is very sensitive. We know there’s a lot of bacteria inside, and there’s a pH balance we have to be very mindful of when we’re talking about cleaning it and taking care of the outer area.”

So let’s talk about the vulvar area for a minute: Since this area still has skin, it’s still prone to acne and other skin ailments, just like our faces and the rest of our bodies, Dr. Ross says. However, the skin in our vulvar area is much more sensitive than on the rest of our bodies, so we have to think about cleaning it in a gentler route.

“Even if you want to say the vagina itself is self-cleaning, it kind of, sort of is, but I like to think about it like the oven at home,” Dr. Ross says. “It’s self-cleaning, but you still have to clean the stovetop.” | | | Next → |

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