Feminine Hygiene 101
The low-down on your down there
What is feminine care?
First of all, feminine care has more names than P Diddy. Among its many aliases, feminine care is sometimes referred to as vaginal care, feminine wellness, or feminine hygiene. But basically it’s a category of women’s health that involves taking care of your area down there. Feminine care includes using personal hygiene products such as tampons, pads, washes, toners, and wipes.
There are two different types of feminine care: internal and external. Internal refers to your vagina, and your vagina is magically self-cleaning so it doesn’t need much maintenance. External feminine care refers to the outside of your vagina, your vulva, which would benefit from a little extra care down there.
Why is feminine hygiene important?
In today’s age and political climate, the stigma around talking about feminine care and hygiene is rapidly fading away and paving the path for feminine hygiene to be openly discussed. Feminine hygiene is no longer taboo and is considered a crucial part of overall women’s health.
At its core, feminine hygiene is for feeling and smelling fresh down there. It’s perfectly normal for your vagina to smell a little - what’s not normal is if it starts to smell a lot or starts to smell “fishy”, unpleasant, or abnormal to you. Let’s break it down - there are a lot of reasons for vaginal odors: excessive sweating, pH imbalance, menstruation, scented soaps, etc.
Feminine hygiene doesn’t only keep odors at bay and you feeling comfortable in your own skin, it’s crucial to preventing infections as well. Your vagina’s pH balance changes during your period so the risk of bacterial infection is higher, so keeping clean is actually important to your vaginal health.
What are feminine hygiene products?
Ladies, don’t fall victim to buying whatever’s cheap. Many drugstore products such as soaps, washes, and wipes are harmful as they’re chock-full of chemicals and scents that kill healthy bacteria, throw your vaginal pH out of whack, and irritate the hell out of the sensitive skin around your vulva.
A healthy vaginal pH is between 3.8 and 4.5 but many soaps have double the recommended pH level for your skin. Products with pH levels below or above this range can cause irritation and increase the risk of infections.
With so many harmful products out there, what’s a gal to do? Thankfully, there are many options for all natural products that help you maintain your feminine hygiene without harming your pH balance, irritating your skin, OR breaking your bank. Think of it as vaginal skin care, just as you have a regimen for your face, you should have a process for down there:
Feminine hygiene tips
Want to feel fresh all day, every day? Worried about being the answer to the question “what’s that smell?” Never fear - we’ve gathered some tips for you on proper vaginal care:
Avoid douching. Douching affects your vagina's pH levels, which can lead to bacterial infections. Plus, your vagina is amazing and self-cleans so there’s no real need for douching.
Use natural feminine hygiene products. Say thank u, next to perfumed soaps that can dry or irritate your skin. Synthetic fragrances are huge no-no’s as they are known allergens that have been linked to dermatitis and can potentially lead to negative effects on the reproductive system. Use mild and naturally-scented feminine hygiene products instead.
Avoid tight clothing. Wearing super tight clothing is not only uncomfortable for your va-jay-jay, it can lead to excess moisture and heat - a.k.a the perfect feeding ground for bacteria to thrive. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes during your menstrual cycle to stay fresh and dry.
Wipe correctly. Wipe away from your lady bits, especially when you’re using pads, to keep irritation and odor at bay and use wipes to keep fresh during the day or on the go.