Vagina Facial: What Is the “Vajacial” And Is It Safe?
Dr. Sherry notes that skin irritation can also occur due to dirty instruments or unclean razor blades during a vajacial. “An old or dirty razor blade carries unwanted bacteria that can cause razor burns, bumps, acne and other irritations to the skin,” she explains, adding that skin in the pubic area is especially sensitive and vulnerable. “Harmful bacteria can get into a hair follicle, which can cause acne or folliculitis.”
Yep, post-vajacial odors are also a possibility.
“Since the vagina is very sensitive to changes in your daily environment, anything that affects its pH balance will also affect the smell and consistency of discharge and odor,” Dr. Sherry explains. If you notice a “strong, foul, fishy vaginal odor with a thin, grayish-white discharge,” Dr. Sherry advises that you should go see your doctor. She says that many vagina owners might be inclined to self-diagnose discharge, itching, and odors as a yeast infection and opt for over-the-counter medicine, but this could delay proper diagnosis and treatment if a patient has another type of infection or condition.
Oh, and PSA: there's no need to spray any “intimate perfumes.” It’s totally normal to have some kind of smell down there at any time. As Jane on The Bold Type ultimately concluded: “Your vagina is supposed to smell like a vagina; not freshly baked cookies.” Dr. Sherry notes that it’s always a good idea to know what your vagina naturally smells like, so that you can properly identify new or concerning odors.
There are other ways to care for your vagina without getting a vajacial.
Dr. Minkin says the number one way to keep your vagina healthy is to keep the tissue “as clean as possible.” She explains that there’s a number of over-the-counter products on the market that are pH-balanced and safe to use on one’s vaginal area, such as moisturizing washes. Dr. Minkin also says probiotics can help boost the “good bacteria” in the vagina, but stresses that such OTC options should never be a replacement for seeing a doctor. “Again, if you think you have a significant odor, then talk to your gynecologist, nurse practitioner, or health care provider to see if there is a bacterial infection,” she says.
According to Dr. Sherry, a vagina needs the same kind of TLC that you’d give to any other part of your body. “Between urine, sweat, and its location so close to the anus, cleaning the outside of the vagina...is critical to prevent dirty bacterial buildup that leads to acne and to avoid odors that develop throughout the day,” she says, emphasizing that cleaning should be done externally. “Using a gentle, unfragranced intimate wash is ideal, especially one that is made specifically for the vagina. The vagina is not ‘dirty,’ but it does need to be cleaned daily like any other part of your body where heat, sweat, and bacterial build-up can occur.”
One thing to keep in mind: all vaginas and vulvas are “normal.”
Many of Dr. Minkin’s patients ask her the same question: “Am I normal down there?” It’s a common concern, especially in a time where porn is easily accessible, creating “idealized” versions in our heads of what vulvas are “supposed” to look like. Such a worry, Dr. Minkin says, might lead a person to seek cosmetic treatment on their vaginal area — like hair removal, brightening, and other procedures, some of which occur during a vajacial.
But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s not one “right” way for a vagina or vulva to look. As Dr. Minkin puts it: “The key thing is that there is not one perfect, ‘normal’ looking vulva; they have many, many, many shapes.” And, it would seem, they don’t really “need” mud masks at all.