Vulvar skin care guidelines
The skin on the vulva can become red, irritated and itchy for different reasons. Many things can cause this skin condition, such us chemicals, moisture, rubbing (chafing, friction). The skin irritation can even lead to pain and discharge. These symptoms are not always caused by an infection.
The best advice is to consult your doctor especially if you have an odor or unusual discharge. But if the itching is primarily on the outside and you don’t have an odor or unusual discharge, it may be just due to irritation. Then you can make some simple steps for relief.
• Use a detergent free of dyes, enzymes and perfumes on any clothing that comes in contact with your vulva including, towels, underwear and pants. The same applies to fabric softener or dryer sheets. They leave an irritating residue full of chemicals.
• In case you use a stain removing product or undergarments, rinse them thoroughly by hand, than wash them to remove as much of the product as possible.
• Wear white all cotton underwear.
• Avoid tight clothing and panty hose as much as possible. Loose clothing allows your vagina to breathe.
• Avoid clothing made of synthetic fibers.
• After swimming or exercise change out of damp or wet clothing immediately. even if you plan to return to the activity later in the day.
Bathing and hygiene
• Avoid using products that contain irritant chemicals. These are often everyday products such us scented soaps, bubble baths, perfumes, deodorants, cleansing wipes, shower gels, just to mention some of them. Such products may make your skin irritated and uncomfortable.
• Wash your vulva using your hands. Do not use soap directly on your vulvar skin. Just warm water and your hand is sufficient to clean the vulvar area without irritating the skin.
• Do not rub the area with a washcloth or a towel. Pat it dry rather or use a hairdryer on cool to dry the vulva.
• Do not douche.
Pubic hair removal
It is not recommended to remove the pubic hair from the vulvar area completely. If you shave your bikini area always leave at least a small strip down the middle of your pubis. Removing hair completely will increase your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
This is because your skin is more exposed to friction and irritation. Besides, shaving opens pores and causes little breaks in the skin making an entrance for STI’s. Pubic hair decreases friction and irritation, gives off pheromones. It also keeps moisture from being trapped against your skin.
Chafing, dryness and irritation during intercourse
• Latex condoms, spermicides or contraceptive sponges may cause allergic reactions such as itching and burning. Your health care provider will inform you about birth control options.
Vulvar skin care products
• Apply a moisturising cream, ointment or lotion regularly. They can be used as a protective barrier prior to passing water or opening your bowels. Moisturisers should be applied as often as you need. They can be helpful to soothe the vulvar skin if it is dry or itchy.
• A small amount of A&D or zinc oxide ointment may be applied to vulva to protect the skin as often as needed.
• Apply an over the counter all natural remedy such us BeeFriendly. This is an organic USDA certified vulva cream which can be used to soothe vulvar symptoms such as, itching dryness, irritation and chafing of vagina. This vaginal cream also improves elasticity of the skin and rehydrate vaginal dryness due to menopause, breast feeding or other conditions.
• In order to restore normal vaginal pH balance you may use RepHresh vaginal gel which is available over the counter and can be purchased even online. By using this gel you can minimize the symptoms and reduce the possibility of getting an infection.
• Baking soda soak. Soak in lukewarm bath water with 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda. This helps to soothe vulvar itching and burning. Soak 2-3 times a day for 10-15 minutes when you have vulvar symptoms.
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