Should we be moisturizing our vaginas?
Yes, it sounds like a funny concept, but many experts have recently come out and said it’s actually not such a bad idea. According to Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest Goop newsletter, olive oil and Vitamin E are the winning combination to moisturizing your vagina, and naturopathic doctor Maggie Ney stated in a Goop Q&A session that “you can apply vitamin E oil or olive oil to the labia to help moisturize and strengthen the vaginal tissue.”
A clinical nurse midwife at the Cleveland Clinic named Niki Pearce told Self that these oils can even be used as a natural lubricant. She also said, “Women who suffer from painful intercourse or vaginal dryness may also benefit from application of a type of moisturizer daily.”
Dr. Jennifer Wider, an OBGYN and women’s health expert, confirmed these instructions. She told Self that doctors often recommend “small amounts of extra virgin olive oil, zinc oxide, vitamin E, or plain Vaseline to be applied to the vulva to protect the skin.” She adds, though, that this is generally only suggested to patients who battle irritation in their vagina area in the first place, so this vagina hack may not apply to you.
Other experts say moisturizing your vagina is only something to worry about if you’re aging, and your vaginal tissue needs strengthening and you need some extra lubrication. It’s also a common recommendation for women who are pregnant. Pearce said, “Studies show that perineal massage with any type of oil decreases the incidence of vaginal tearing. Vitamin E oil as well as olive oil is perfect for this because of its consistency and moisturizing capabilities.”
There’s also the option of moisturizing the pubic hair on your vagina, which might need some extra loving now that summer is around the corner. Some women swear by pubic oils that are specifically designed to give you softer skin and hair on your vagina, as well as treat in-growns you may be battling. (Just be sure you reach for the natural kind that’s got good ingredients like tea tree oil, jojoba oil, and grape seed oil.) These will reduce inflammation, and your vagina will think it’s been sent straight to spa heaven.
However, Dr. Wider gives a serious warning about moisturizing your vagina and condom use. She told Self, “Any oil, oil-based product, or lubricant can break down the integrity of a condom and should never be used together.” So be very mindful if you plan on getting down and dirty and you’ve just oiled up. Most importantly, air on the side of caution in general if you’re one who is prone to infection, as any oils could irritate you down there and increase your future risk for contracting an infection.