Cleaning your vagina and keeping your health down there in tip-top shape should be easy-peasy. Yet many women struggle with it, leading to sexual health and reproductive problems in the long run. Misguided information about vaginal health could be leading you astray, however, so we’re pointing out the most obvious mistakes that women make when it comes to cleaning their lady bits:
1. You're Exfoliating Down There
Put away those micro-exfoliating beads! They don’t really belong on your face and they definitely do not belong anywhere near your nether regions. Not only are those scrubbers full of harsh detergents that could strip your vagina of its natural pH, they’re also just too scratchy for the delicate skin down there.
2. You're Using Scented Soaps To Clean
Shower gels and any type of scented body washes are way more likely to irritate the skin of your vagina. So steer clear! If you do need a refresh down there after a sweaty gym class, for example, just wash with some plain water and if you really need to, some simple and unscented glycerine soap.
3. You're Shaving The Area Bare
It’s a common misconception that having pubic hair is unhygienic. In fact, it’s the total opposite. Pubic hair actually keeps your vagina cleaner as it acts as the last line of defence to ward off against infections and germs. So next time you’re thinking of stripping it all away – don’t.
4. You're Scrubbing Your Vagina
Always be gentle when you are washing your vagina, there’s no need to really go to town scrubbing it with your hands. The area is extremely delicate and not to mention, sensitive. And, like any part of your body, the more you wash it, the more you’re stripping away your skin’s natural oils and causing irritation.
5. You're Steaming It
Despite what Gwyneth Paltrow has said about steaming your vagina to clean it out and detox your uterus, experts don’t condone it. “Steam isn’t going into your vagina, and if steam could get in there, it would be harmful,” says Dr Jennifer Gunther, and OB-GYN. “Your uterus doesn’t need to be cleaned.”
6. You're Being Too Vigourous After Sex
Your genitals are sensitive organs that need to be treated with the utmost care and gentleness so while it’s perfectly normal that you would want to clean the area after sex, don’t be too vigorous as your vagina is self-cleaning anyway. Just wash the area outside (the vulva) and leave the actual inside (the vagina) alone.
(Read more: 7 Ways To Get A Healthy Vagina)
7. You're Douching
Douching can screw with the natural cleaning cycle of your vagina and cause irritation or even infections. You may think you’re getting everything squeaky clean by introducing water into your vagina but you’re actually upsetting the pH balance of its delicate ecosystem and damaging the good bacteria in there. So, try to interfere with nature as little as possible and leave it alone.