What Makes a Vaginal Cream Safe? 5 Warnings When Shopping for the Perfect Product
Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are gaining in popularity as more women take charge of their sexual health. Ditching the secrecy, they are demanding solutions to uncomfortable problems that once were labeled as “too embarrassing” to discuss with healthcare practitioners or their sexual partners.
Demand for vaginal lubricants is expected to continue trending upward, with water-based lubricants favored by consumers. Unfortunately, not all ingredients in feminine products are safe. Some even cause unintended consequences like yeast infections and additional dryness. And who needs that added frustration and pain if you already are dealing with redness, itchiness, and discomfort?
If you are among the 80 percent of women who regularly use lubricants for moisturization or extra lubrication during intercourse, take time to learn about the ingredients. Knowing what is in – or not in – a product can mean the difference between satisfaction and additional pain and suffering.
Remember these four warnings when choosing your next vaginal lubrication.
Warning #1: Glycerin should NOT be one of the vaginal lubricant ingredients
Many vaginal creams, moisturizers, and personal lubricants contain glycerin. It is easy to understand why some product manufacturers include it. Glycerin is what gives lube, moisturizers, and creams that “slippery” feeling. It also serves double duty by keeping products from drying out, helping them have a longer shelf life. While it might feel nice on your skin and nether region, glycerin definitely is not a girl’s best friend. Here is why:
- It causes vaginal irritation. A research study from Johns Hopkins University discovered some of the most commonly used vaginal lubricants in the U.S. and Europe use high concentrations of glycerol, which is a known vaginal irritant. The study concluded that most commercial vaginal lubricants create an unhealthy environment in the vagina and further complicate certain issues like vaginal dryness.
- It provokes bladder infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Evidence points to glycerin contributing to chronic UTIs and bladder infections in women who frequently use personal lubricants, moisturizers, and other feminine products that contain the ingredient. Glycerin damages vaginal tissues, increasing the risk for bacteria to enter the vagina and other sexual organs.
- It encourages yeast infections. Many women feel itching and burning after using a lubricant and glycerin is the culprit. Glycerin is, in a nutshell, a sugar alcohol derived from animal products, petroleum, and plants. And we all know what happens when we introduce too much sugar into our bodies – we feed the beast known as yeast. Women with high blood sugar levels or who are diabetic are especially vulnerable to the effects of glycerin and should avoid all products containing it. Women who are prone to yeast infections also should cross any feminine products with this ingredient off their lists.
Keep in mind that glycerin can appear in several forms on a product’s ingredients label. If the list includes glycerin, glycerol, or glycyl alcohol, avoid the product.
Warning #2: Alcohol should NOT be one of the vaginal lubricant ingredients
This should be a no-brainer because alcohol is very drying. And if your goal is to alleviate dryness and irritation so you can enjoy sex, the last thing you want to do is use an ingredient that is drying. It is truly baffling why any feminine moisturizer, cream, or lubricant would include it in the ingredients. Yet, many still do. Alcohol often is paired with propylene glycol, which also is a known skin irritant. In combination, the two can produce a “warming” sensation that some sexual lubricants market as increasing pleasure during sex. For most women, intense burning is not a pleasurable feeling.
Most water-based lubricants contain either one or both of these ingredients. They are used to keep the water sterile by preventing bacteria growth. It is our recommendation to skip any feminine product that contains either of these ingredients.
Warning #3: “Unscented” should NOT appear on the packaging
Many people do not realize that to make a product “unscented,” harsh chemicals are added to the formula to help mask the natural aroma of the other ingredients. These fragrance additives increase a woman’s risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a yeast infection. Instead of packaging that boasts the product is “unscented,” look for labels that declare its status as “fragrance-free.” So, what is the difference? Fragrance-free carries with it the guarantee that there are no artificial fragrances or harsh chemicals included in the product.
Warning #4: Paraben preservatives should NOT be on the list of vaginal lubricant ingredients
There is a lot of debate about the safety of parabens in health and beauty products. The theory is they may be endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen, disrupting a woman’s normal hormonal patterns. High levels of estrogen can increase a woman’s risk of developing blood clots, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. Parabens are a group of chemicals that are used as preservatives. They are what keep a product from “breaking down” and extending their shelf life. Parabens can appear on labels in many longer chemical names such as butylparaben, isobutylparaben, and methylparaben. As a rule, if any ingredients on the list end in the word paraben, cross it off your list and find a safer alternative.
Warning #5: Nonoxynol-9 is not an ideal ingredient for lubrication
Some sexual lubricants double as birth control and may contain a spermicide called Nonoxynol-9. Sure, it is effective at killing your partner’s little swimmers before they can pair up happily with your eggs. But it also is aces at disrupting the natural balance of bacteria in a woman’s delicate reproductive system. And when that happens, women can develop bacterial vaginosis. Even if it does not cause an infection, nonoxynol-9 at the very least will cause some women inflammation and irritation. So, it is best to skip products with this ingredient and rely on another form of birth control.
Ditch the chemicals and switch to all-natural vaginal creams
Crème de la Femme is an oil-based vaginal lubricant. It does not contain glycerine, alcohol, parabens, or hormones. Crème de la Femme was created by a woman doctor more than 30 years ago and is highly recommended by doctors and pharmacists across the country. Women use it to relieve menopause dryness, to enhance the benefit of bioidentical hormone therapy, or to help with vaginal dryness during pregnancy. Some couples exclusively trust it to make intimate moments more comfortable.
This sheer vaginal cream offers silky moisture that lasts for hours without the harmful effects of glycerin. Women can apply it several hours before sex and it will still provide relief when needed. It lowers the risk of vaginal and bladder infections. Best of all, because it is self-cleansing, no messy residue or follow-up douching is required after use.
Have additional questions or need help purchasing Crème de la Femme? Contact our customer support department and a member of our team will be happy to assist.
Stay safe. Be Well.