Last month on my blog I shared why I’m passionate about using lubricants as a tool to help with painful sex. Using a lubricant can be an empowering way to engage in sexual activity with your partner!
Lubricants aren’t just for postmenopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness. Women of any age can–and should!–use lubricants to make sex more playful, reduce pain, and make it more enjoyable for both partners. But please hear me now: Not all lubricants are created equal. Some products can contain ingredients that are irritating to the vagina, cause an imbalance in pH levels, or actually promote dryness. These are ingredients that you don’t want going near your vagina, so it’s important to check labels or ask a professional if you have questions.
Now that you know why you should use a lubricant (and head over here if you need a friendly reminder), it’s important that you choose a lubricant that will keep your vagina healthy. For this reason, for my clients, I highly recommend they select a lubricant without Glycerin.
What is Glycerin, Exactly?
Glycerin is used in soaps and cleansers, because it can help reduce oily skin, but it also has humectant properties, which means that it’s also good at attracting water to the skin.
What this means is that it can be a great ingredient for dry, itchy skin that often occurs during the winter months, but it’s not an ingredient that you want to have near your vagina, as it can actually draw the moisture out and away from your vagina.
In fact, if a lubricant contains concentrations of more than 40% glycerin, it will actually start to break down the mucous membranes in your vagina. Once these mucous membranes in your vaginal and vulval tissue become irritated and start to break down, it can also make you more susceptible to STDs, and can increase the likelihood of vaginal wall tears.
Water-based lubricants (the type of lubricants I recommend here on my site) come in two general types, with and without glycerin. Glycerin can be found in many widely-available lubricants, including KY Jelly, Sylk, Astroglide, Probe and Aqualube.
What to look for on the label: Look out for long, and often complicated names on lubricant labels that contain any version of the word ‘glycol’ or ‘glycerin’ — these are normally some sort of derivative of a sugar alcohol, and it’s safer to avoid ingredients like this altogether.
If you find that you still have questions about lubricants and which ingredients to avoid, please reach out to me! I’d be happy to make some recommendations based on you and your partner’s needs in the bedroom.